'The next ten years are paved with gold for women' - Josephine Goube

The co-MD of Girls in Tech says she's never taken her gender for a weakness.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 08 Apr 2016

Over the next month, we'll be interviewing some of Britain's most inspiring young businesswomen - MT's 35 Women Under 35 alumni.

Next up, Josephine Goube, co-MD of Girls in Tech and director of partnerships at Migreat.

In your view, why has there been such a gender imbalance in the tech sector?

Gender imbalance can stick for a long time if no-one corrects it fast. We're promoting women role models in the sector with Girls in Tech to change the male/female ratio and the perception that tech is a 'boy's thing'.

What does the future look like for women in business?

The economic argument is now clear to everyone: diversity is good for business. A few years ago, women were undervalued in terms of salary, their special needs were neglected and their differences weren't recognised as an advantage in the workplace. But the UK has woken up to the fact that a better gender balance in companies can actually increase team productivity and business success rates. Why wouldn't you make sure you're hiring the other half of this country's workforce if it meant making more money? The next ten years are paved with gold for women as they're now top of the agenda and considered as a productive asset, equal to men.

Which businesswoman do you most admire and why?

Martha Lane Fox [of lastminute.com fame]. She built a major dotcom company in the middle of the crisis, then moved on to be a philanthropist and public servant. That's the kind of career that I hope for: to be very successful at the start in order to give back to others in the future.

What's the secret of your meteoric rise up the career ladder?

Never taking my gender for a weakness and never apologising for being who I am - a passionate advocate of technology to help solve some of our biggest social challenges.

What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome personally and how did you do it?

My lack of confidence is probably my biggest issue. I try to get around it by acknowledging it and tackling it head on. Ultimately, I try to go for things that scare me to boost my confidence, rather than waiting for something (or someone) to shake it. 

What would be your three pieces of practical advice for young women to help them succeed in business?

1. Focus: It's great to have loads of ideas and a vision, but don't try to have it all. Focus on what you're good at, and improve what you're less good at progressively. Stretching yourself in all directions is the quickest way to feeling exhausted, unsatisfied and like a failure. Believe me, that has big implications on how you organise your day and go through your week.

2. Listen: Ask people how they are. Take note of their body language and facial expressions. Notice the small things. That will give you more of a clue about who you're dealing with and what they're going through than spending hours in meetings. 

3. Only do things that matter to you: I'm not fond of doing things simply as a means to an end. When you're only focused on 'the prize', your work suffers. I chose to work for migrants and refugees as a director of Migreat because I care; because it's fair and noble. And I get a kick out of that. I don't need anyone to appreciate or recognise my work, and that gives me a lot of freedom and power. Set what's important to you.

Josephine Goube appeared in last year's 35 Women Under 35 list. Read the feature here.

If you'd like to appear in this year's list, apply here. Deadline for nominations: 25 April.

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