How women can get ahead in business

Pearls of wisdom from Alex Mahon, Julia Hands, June Kenton and other top businesswomen at MT's first Inspiring Women conference.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Inspiring Women 2013

Click here to find out about our 2013 Inspiring Women conference, November 27

When MT ran its first ever conference for female high flyers in October, we were overwhelmed by the delegates' enthusiastic response to our stellar line-up, which included Rosaleen Blair, CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions, Alex Mahon, CEO of Shine Group, and Sarah Curran, founder of Co-chaired by Baroness Kingsmill and Cilla Snowball, group CEO and group chairman of AMV.BBDO, the day provoked, entertained and inspired. But we didn't think it fair to keep the hard-won advice that our speakers shared to ourselves, so here are our cut-out-and-keep inspirational quotes to keep you fired up. And don't forget to book your place on next year's event.

Rosaleen Blair, CEO, Alexander Mann Solutions

'A huge part of my time I feel I'm failing everybody. It's really important we admit that to other people because it gives everybody else permission to feel like that.'

Baroness Kingsmill

'I approached my principals and asked them when I was going to be made partner, and they said: "Well, we've never had a woman partner and we don't think you're going to be the first." So, what was I supposed to do? I set up my own firm and set about stealing their clients.'

Julia Hands, CEO, Hand Picked Hotels

'The lessons I've learnt are: first, don't be afraid of what you don't know. In fact, actually knowing what you don't know in the first place is quite a good step forward. And, second, don't be afraid of change.'

Penny de Valk, CEO, Cedar

'Learn where your true north is in your life and your career will follow.'

June Kenton, Director, Rigby & Peller

'We're women and we get our own way!'

Charlotte Crosswell, president, Nasdaq OMX Europe

'Position yourself as a future leader not as a future assistant. Women have a tendency to be too helpful, work too hard. Why would someone promote you when you're doing all the donkey work?'

Cilla Snowball, group CEO, AMV.BBDO

'I think we worry too much about losing skills while on maternity leave - you're learning new skills.'

 Alex Mahon, CEO, Shine Group

'Don't believe that being a woman is ever going to hold you back in any way. Just choose what it is you want to do, whether it's career, whether it's home or whether it's a blend of the two, and just get on with it.'

Caroline Plumb, CEO, Freshminds

'Even if people are projecting confidence, they don't necessarily feel like that inside, but I don't think that really matters because you have to fake it to make it.'

Fiona O'Hara, human capital and diversity lead, Accenture

'We talk about quotas and it's very damaging for women because you put them into positions before they're ready. So let's get women ready!'

Deborah Baker, HR director, Sky

'Take the time out that you need and then come back - you'll still be that great person you were before you went on maternity leave. Don't worry about what other people might be thinking. You're even better because now you can multitask like there's no tomorrow!'

Henrietta Royle, CEO, Fanshawe Haldin

'You don't need 100% of the skills right now - you just need enough, and the courage to learn on the job.'

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime