MT's '35 women under 35' 2010: Creating the future

Our 10th anniversary special showcases 35 high-flying women determined to thrive in hard times.

by Emma De Vita and Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As it's the 10th anniversary of MT's '35 Women Under 35' list, it's a good time to draw some parallels between this year's list and the first one of 2001. The inaugural year was overshadowed by a market crash and featured a preponderance of entrepreneurs and creative types. The same goes for 2010. Who will be this year's Martha Lane Fox, Rebekah Wade (as she then was) or Stella McCartney? There are plenty of contenders.

This year's cover stars all work in or have connections to the creative industries. In fact, there are 12 women on the list who come from this sector, ranging from advertising, fashion, beauty to music and PR. It comes as a surprise. Traditionally, the first thing to go in a recession is the marketing, PR and ad budget. And the first thing to be curbed in our personal spending habits is leisure. The fact that these women are thriving is testament to their grit and their ability to put their creativity to good use.

The second important trend of this year's list is the strong showing by women from financial services – there are nine in total, from JP Morgan, Cantor Fitzgerald, Oxford Economics and HSBC. There's been a lot of navel-gazing in the sector since Lehman's fall in 2008. Had things got too macho? Don't we need more women in banking and economics? Our 2010 list heralds a new wave of influential young women looking to make their mark on the financial and economic life of the UK. However, their potential to inspire the generation beneath them rests on the eradication of the shameful level of sexism that still blights the Square Mile.

The number of entrepreneurs is also high. The 2010 list includes 16 entrepreneurs out of 37 women (there are two joint entries). Some started their businesses just before or as the market crashed and have fought hard to make a success of things. One such is Nik Done, coincidentally our first pregnant cover star (at eight and a half months). She started her PR agency Unity with business partner Gerry Hopkinson in 2005. 'You need to have real faith in yourself particularly when you go through tough times,' she admits. 'It's about having the belief that you've done the right thing and that, come hell or high water, you'll find a way through.'

But she reserves the accolade for her biggest career challenge for her imminent motherhood: 'My business has been my baby and now I'm going to have a new one.' She says the hardest thing will be to let go during her maternity leave – 'seeing other people make key decisions will be very difficult'.

All our cover stars emphasised the importance of being true to themselves; that it wasn't a good idea to ape men. 'The only disadvantage I've come across being a woman in business is the lack of role models,' says Isabel Garvey, a senior VP at Warner Music International, who had a previous career in the City. 'The senior women there are not the type of characters you want to become – they're quite masculine.' Garvey works in an industry in turmoil and relishes the opportunity to thrash out a new business model. 'You have to see the positive side - the music industry has been challenging for the past five years but you have to keep looking ahead,' she says.

But that faith in the future takes a certain amount of self-belief, a characteristic all the women share. Jo Verdult, a board director at advertising agency AMV BBDO, says: 'It's really important to be confident in your own ability.' Choreographer Kate Prince also emphasises how critical this quality is. 'Persuade everyone you meet that you are talented,' she advises. 'Have a little bit of arrogance in yourself – it's something British women aren't very good at doing.'

From confidence springs ambition – something the co-founders of online beauty boutique Cult Beauty, Jessica DeLuca Moore and Alexia Inge, have in buckets. 'We were inspired by Natalie Massenet's recent sale (of Net-A-Porter, which made her £50m),' says Inge. 'We want to be the Net-A-Porter of beauty.' Tamara Rajah is another woman who has big plans. Not content with being a management consultant at McKinsey & Co, the 27-year-old also runs her own womenswear business in her spare time (it's her sleep that suffers – she survives on four hours a night). And it's exactly Rajah's persistence, hard work and creativity that the UK needs to guarantee its future recovery.


- Maggie Berry 35
Starting as a recruiter at tech specialist McGregor Boyall, Berry's research into women in IT led to her founding, a networking and career development organisation. Berry also sits on the British Computer Society's strategic panel for women.

- Alison Bishop 30
Having begun her career at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Bishop worked at Ernst & Young in its capital markets risk division, where she was seconded to Morgan Stanley. She joined JP Morgan in 2006 and is now VP of its private bank, covering ultra-high-net-worth financial sponsors and family offices.

- Gemma Boaler, 30, and Faye Hunter 29
Boaler ditched a successful marketing career at Thomas Cook, where she was made director at 26, to found music company Underdogs Management with business partner Hunter in 2008. Hunter knows a thing or two about the creative industries, having been a professional actor and dancer. Artists under management include Toploader and DJ Krust.

- Vanessa Bradford 35
Having founded Cantor Fitzgerald's UK & Ireland structured credit sales team in 2009, US-born Bradford now looks after 60 accounts. During 12 years at Lehman Brothers (leaving before it went bust), Bradford became head of hedge fund sales for European structured finance.

- Joanna Brewer 34
As UK strategic account manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Brewer is responsible for accounts worth over £10m and works with the major car makers and breakdown providers. As chair of Enterprise's women in leadership committee, Brewer is a pioneering female employee.

- Nik Done 35
After stints at PR agencies Ketchum, Larkspur and Band & Brown, Done and business partner Gerry Hopkinson launched agency Unity in 2005. Clients include Orange, Pizza Express and Nivea and 50% of its work is cause-related. In 2010, Done was named in PR Week’s Power Book of the most influential people in the industry. Done is pictured here in the 38th week of her pregnancy.

- Jo Verdult 30
Now with ad agency AMV BBDO for nine years, the Oxford University graduate was made its youngest ever board member at just 27. Verdult has headed accounts for Yellow Pages and Aviva and now has overall responsibility for the multimillion-pound Sainsbury’s business, leading a team of 19 and reporting to the managing partner.

- Tamara Rajah 27
A management consultant at McKinsey, Rajah has a first class degree in biological natural sciences from Cambridge University, won a scholarship to study for a masters there, and also has a Wharton MBA. At Cambridge, she co-founded a prenatal genetic testing start-up and now runs a women's businesswear company, Tamara Kanes, in her spare time.

- Isabel Garvey 34
After six years in the City working as an M&A analyst at Morgan Stanley and then in private equity at Compass Partners, triathlete Garvey joined EMI Recorded Music, working for the CEO. She was then headhunted to Warner Music International, where she is now senior VP for commercial channels and consumer marketing.

- Anna Bullus 25
In 2008, Bullus designed Gumdrop, a bin for used chewing gum that's actually made from the stuff, which has been trialled in the UK and US. After leaving Camberwell College of Arts, Bullus studied 3D design at Brighton University. She has showcased her designs worldwide.

- Lucy Carver 34
As director of BSkyB's The Bigger Picture, Carver leads the broadcaster's CSR initiatives, including climate change campaigns and nationwide sport projects. Previously, the Cambridge graduate was a senior product manager at L'Oreal in charge of the £35m Fructis portfolio.

- Natasha Courtenay-Smith 33
Former Daily Mail journalist Courtenay-Smith founded her national news agency Talk to the Press to connect people wanting to sell real-life stories with media organisations. Since its launch in 2007, Talk to the Press has sold more than 400 stories.

- Pippa Croney 26
Croney joined consultancy JRBH in 2009 to create and lead its board division. Before that she spent five years in financial services. Croney has taken a vocal role in reforming board practices and was involved in the FRC, ICSA and Walker reviews of corporate governance.

- Emma Davies 33
After starting at JP Morgan, where she came top in its investment banking training programme, Davies moved to $10bn fund Perry Capital in 2001. In 2007, she became its only female partner, and went on to head its London office. She is starting a PhD in economics at the LSE.

- Dana Denis-Smith 34
In 2007, Romanian Denis-Smith founded London-based consulting firm Marker Global, which specialises in giving risk advice on emerging markets. She already had had successful careers as a journalist for the BBC, an analyst at The Economist and as a solicitor with Linklaters.

- Sally Faiz 33
As a global portfolio manager at charity the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Faiz is responsible for grants in her portfolio worth around $75m, used for child survival programmes in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, Faiz, who has an Insead MBA, worked at McKinsey and charity Medair.

- Louise Goldin 30
A Central Saint Martins graduate, Goldin was made head of knitwear design at Brazilian fashion house Tereza Santos. Goldin is now the hottest ticket in fashion, having worked with Ghost, Topshop and Ballentyne. She won the British Fashion Council's fashion forward awards for 2010.

- Kristy Goodger 34
Australian law graduate Goodger founded beauty product business Elemental Herbology in 2006 after two years at Space NK. Within 18 months of trading, Goodger achieved a retail turnover of more than £1.3m and her products are distributed to retailers in 15 countries.

- Becky Heath 25
Frustrated at the lack of good internships, Heath founded social enterprise Internocracy, establishing the first internship quality mark. Clients include a magic circle law firm, KPMG and national charities. Previously, Heath worked at news agency Adfero, where she was quickly promoted to head of news content.

- Kirsty MacArthur 31
MacArthur joined Coutts aged 22 after a stint at the BBC and in 2007 joined UBS to start a sport and media client book. Now divisional director at Heartwood Wealth Management - which has more than £1bn under management - MacArthur was named as a Financial News rising star for 2010.

- Helen MacNamara 34
As head of policy and planning at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, MacNamara was responsible for preparing it for the General Election and for managing the transition to a new government. She previously served as pps to Tessa Jowell working on the Olympic and Paralympic bid.

- Sarah McCreath 35
McCreath began her career at KPMG in 1999. By 2007, she was running the firm's consumer audit department in London and was selected for its executive MBA programme. In 2008, she won the UK KPMG people management award. Her clients include Gucci, Hugo Boss and Bulgari.

- Constance McDonnell 34
A Chancery barrister at 3 Stone Buildings, McDonnell was called to the Bar in 2000 and focuses on property, trust disputes and contentious probate. She is recommended by Chambers & Partners as a leading junior and she lectures extensively. McDonnell is a wine buff and recently took up shooting.

- Alicia Navarro 33
After a decade of working in web and mobile application product management for IBM, Vodafone, Optus and Fairfax Media, Australian-born Navarro set up her own business, Skimlinks, which helps businesses make money from their online content via affiliate links. It won best new business at the NMA Effectiveness Awards.

- Jessica DeLuca, 35, and Alexia Inge, 33
Before co-founding online beauty boutique Cult Beauty with Inge, US-born MD DeLuca worked as an analyst for investment banks in New York and London, having started as a consultant at IBM. Business partner Alexia Inge, an ex-journalist and PR, is Cult Beauty’s brand director. The site was named the Sunday Times’ best beauty website 2010.

- Rain Newton-Smith 35
After stints at the Bank of England and the IMF, Newton-Smith joined Oxford Economics in 2008, where she is a senior economist. She has responsibility for forecasting and monitoring developments in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Oxford graduate is also a triathlete.

- Anita Panchmatia 28
After starting in equities and derivatives at JP Morgan, Panchmatia works at Goldman Sachs' private wealth management arm, where she develops financial products for ultra-high-net-worth clients and delivered the division's first proprietary Islamic finance product. She also tutors at Harvard.

- Emily Porter-Lynch 30
Formerly of Asset Alliance, ABM AMRO and Key Asset Management, Porter-Lynch is a hedge fund portfolio manager for the Universities Superannuation Scheme. She is one of two hedge fund portfolio managers who have allocated over £600m to nine hedge fund managers.

- Amanda Rose 34
Canadian-born Rose was behind Twestival, which used social media to raise $1.2m for charity. Rose co-ordinated London Fashion Week and the Brit Awards before founding strategy consultancy Connect the Dots. In March, CNN named her one of the year's Most Intriguing People.

- Anette Simpson 35
Currently head of development at property regeneration company First Base, Simpson soon starts as head of planning and development, responsible for Earls Court and Olympia, at Capital & Counties Properties. Simpson will manage a £30m budget and oversee the 28-hectare project.

- Emma Sinclair 33
Credited as the youngest woman, at 27, to list a business – Mission Capital – on AIM, ex-investment banker Sinclair went on to found car park management company Target Parking in 2008. Sinclair is also a school governor, works with charities such as the Variety Club and mentors SMEs.

- Karen Ward 29
Ward started at JP Morgan after achieving an MSc in economics from UCL. After three years at the Bank of England, where she provided analysis for the MPC, Ward joined HSBC in 2006, where she is now a senior global economist. She is a highly respected commentator on economic issues.

- Claire Watt-Smith 27
In 2008, Watt-Smith founded BoBelle, an accessories company that makes fair-trade products using recycled and organic materials, including eel skins. The brand can now be found in more than 50 boutiques in the UK and Ireland. Watt-Smith regularly speaks on entrepreneurship at Oxford and the LSE.

- Jo Wimble-Groves 32
Wimble-Groves was just 16 when she set up her business mobile communications company Active Digital with her brother. Turnover last year was more than £3.2m and clients include Birdseye and British Red Cross. Wimble-Groves oversees customer relations, marketing, PR and HR.

- Kate Prince 35
Choreographer Prince is founder of dance company ZooNation and sister school for youngsters, ZooSkool. In 2008, she directed Into the Hoods, the first ever hip-hop and longest-running dance show in the West End. Prince was lead choreographer for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She is an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells.

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