MT's 2009 list of high-flying women includes 11 entrepreneurs – one more than last year. Although the numbers might not have changed very much, it’s testament to the tenacity and determination of these start-up stars that they are flourishing despite the recession.
Savannah Miller is just one of the entrepreneurs on the list. She founded her fashion label with movie star sister Sienna in 2006, and hasn’t looked back since. Spending time with MT at the cover shoot for the July issue, she told us that the secret to her success was her determination, hard work and her belief that anything is possible – something she says was instilled in her by her parents: ‘They thought I could be prime minister if I wanted to!’
The success of these entrepreneurs proves that there is no short cut – what matters is hard work and the ambition to succeed. Going the extra mile pays off, as does setting your sights high. So it comes as no surprise that a third of the women on this year’s list went to the UK’s top universities: Oxford, Cambridge and the LSE. Many chose highly demanding science subjects (scotching the erroneous idea that only men have an aptitude for such subjects).
But success in business demands more than just academic qualifications. Lisa Burger, regional director of operations at Starbucks for central London, is responsible for £50m in revenue. Now studying for a diploma at Ashridge Business School, she started her career as a 16-year-old YTS trainee, sponsored by Monarch Airlines, but quickly spread her wings when she joined the start-up team of easyJet. She went on to run its entire airport operations, looking after a £350m budget.
If that isn’t inspirational enough then what about Jade Tong, now associate director at commercial real estate business DTZ. Tong arrived in the UK in 1980 as a Vietnamese boat refugee, who couldn’t speak a word of English; she’s now flourishing as one of the few women at her level in property, and regularly pulling off multi-million pound deals. Tong – undaunted by any obstacles in her path – says her motto is ‘just go for it!’
Excellent advice, we’re sure you’ll agree. After all, success is about being brave and taking calculated risks – something more women should be doing, perhaps.
In today's bulletin:
UK economy suffers biggest slump in 50 years
Aston Martin bargain - £20k in 2010
Life no longer a beach for students
Nick Hood: A chill breeze of recession in the Windy City
'35 Under 35' in focus: The risk-takers