Advice

How to Be Successful: Advice from One Woman to Another

By Elise Mckeever | Wednesday 8th March, 2017

March 8th: International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate how far females have come and get determined to cover the ground we’ve not yet conquered. For a long time, the words business and women didn’t really go in the same sentence, but nowadays, females around the world are often the most influential, hard working and successful. So, I decided to have a chat with and get some tips from just a few of the many women who know a thing or two about killin’ it in the workplace…

Dr. Doyin Atewologun

(Lecturer in Organisational Leadership and Learning at Queen Mary University of London & Business Advisor)

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What issues have you encountered as an aspiring and successful woman in the workplace and how have you overcome them?

All of my experiences are linked to my identity as a black, Nigerian, well-educated woman. I’ve found myself under far more scrutiny than others, with more credentials being needed to prove my intellectual worth.

What would be your go-to tip for bouncing back from workplace/career based rejection or failure? Everyone experiences failure and rejection in their careers, but no one talks about it. Talking about it and getting another perspective is the key.

What would be your core piece of advice to people in positions power who want to improve their business’ environment?

So often we put the issues of the ‘other’ in a separate category to ourselves, but it doesn’t work like that. There is no privilege for one without disadvantage for another; one person’s loss is another person’s gain. We need to address this together. Top tip: Go for it!

Sarah Guerra

(Director of Diversity & Inclusion at King’s College London & former senior civil servant)

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What issues have you encountered as an aspiring and successful woman in the workplace and how have you overcome them?

As an ambitious, extroverted, black woman there have been assumptions that I had to learn to deal with, such as that I wasn’t succeeding on my merit. If feedback and reaction were warranted I had to learn to adapt – if they were based on prejudice I had to develop the confidence to challenge or ignore them.

What would be your go-to tip for bouncing back from workplace/career based rejection or failure?

Have a bit of a wallow but use the time to think about how you could approach things differently and what you still have to learn.

Top Tip: Build a network of people you trust and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Charlotte Knowles

(Creative Director at Newspeeks.com)

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What issues have you encountered as an aspiring and successful woman and how have you overcome them?

You will always have to shout that bit louder or be that bit better to get opportunities that men might get much easier. Boys of my generation were brought up to be more confident than girls and that all translates through to the working world. I set up my own organisation to try and break from entrenched issues – such as sexism or triangular management structures.

How do you think the environment/industry you work in has changed in the last decade?

It feels imperative that people set up new businesses and organisations because the jobs just don’t seem to be there. People are not used to paying for journalism and media anymore.

What would be your go-to tip for bouncing back from workplace/career based rejection or failure?

Acknowledge that you will fail. And when you do, do it quickly, learn from it and move on. Also, learn to tell the difference between failure and just changing your mind.

Top tip: Fake it till you make it but always be honest – it’s more about tricking yourself into having the confidence to do things than it is pretending you know how to do things you don’t.

Georgina Parry Taylor

(Founder of Raameesada, Winneba, Ghana)

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In 2007/2008, Georgina started organising the deaf youth in and around Winneba with her sons. They then also started a vocational centre with a nursery attached to cater for those who have children.

What issues have you encountered as an aspiring and successful woman in business and how have you overcome them?

My business struggles are unique to Ghana. The Foundation’s biggest issues are public opinion regarding the disabled and funding. After running the school for free for five terms, I could no longer pay the attendants and feeding the children became a problem. A P.T.A meeting was held in which parents were asked to pay GH¢ 1 per child per week, which led to the withdrawal of ¾ of the students. Lack of education & the resulting poverty causes girls to turn to prostitution, thereby bringing diseases such as HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, etc upon themselves, as well as unwanted pregnancies that add up to the already large family size. They migrate to the cities to become ‘house help’ where their masters often rape them. Proper funding could prevent this!

What would be your go-to tip for bouncing back from workplace/career based rejection or failure?

Remain hopeful and remember why what you’re doing matters. Top tip: Seize every opportunity and don’t underestimate the power of team work

Feeling inspired by these ladies? Check out Loot now and see how it can help you budget and put aside money so you can get ahead. (Looking for more advice from more great gals? Take a look at the unabridged article here.)

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