femaleleaders

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: DANIELLE NEWNHAM, CO-FOUNDER, F =

We're big fans of F =, and their GIRL POWER TEES, so much so there's a picture of our founder wearing one on this website. We caught up with one of the women behind the brand to find out more about the online store and empowerment platform for women and children, which recently launched the Our Stories Matter campaign. F = was founded by twins ~ tech entrepreneur and author Danielle Newnham ~ and fashion doyenne Natalie Bardega. They created the platform to inspire, motivate and empower women to rise. They practise what they preach too, with an ongoing GIRL POWER partnership with Worldreader, a global non-profit organisation on a mission to deliver digital books to every child and their family. Check out our conversation with Danielle below!

Women need to take ownership of the sisterhood and come together more
Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton

What drove you to create F =?

Having spent ten years in tech, I was acutely aware that women were almost invisible in the industry and, after spending a day at a tech conference where all the men were wearing their startup t-shirts, I realised one way to make the women stand out more was with slogan tops. I saw guys approaching others when they recognised the logo on their t-shirt – it was almost a conversation starter so I looked into what existed for females in tech and female founders and saw there was nothing. At the time, my sister was taking a well-earned career break so we came together, discussed the idea of how we could make women more “visible” in general and F = was born! 

With my background in tech and hers in fashion, we decided on the idea of selling empowering slogan tops alongside a site filled with incredible stories from women doing amazing work. We also knew our fashion couldn’t reach everywhere but our message of empowerment could so we partnered with Worldreader to create the GIRL POWER t-shirt with proceeds going to the non-profit which elevates girls out of poverty in the developing world.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up F =?

There is an assumption that in the tech world that if you build something, people will just appear – like some mythical pull to your product. That’s just not the case. The same has happened to us – we get big hits when celebs wear our tops but the biggest lesson for us has been around building a community first. All the hard work for us has really been in building up a community who are loyal and engaged. People underestimate the effort that goes into community building through providing great content but, in this day and age, it is one of the most critical aspects of our business. We’re proud to now reach over 100,000 on a daily basis.

How have you been able to turn what was a side project into a mission-driven business?

It really happened organically. We definitely didn’t see it as a full-time thing to start with but it started to demand more and more of our time and because our mission was so aligned with our purpose in life, it made sense. I don’t think I could have committed more hours to a business without really believing in it. I am a mother, I write books – my time is pretty full but there has been a seismic shift when it comes to female empowerment in the last three years since we started. We could never have predicted it but it definitely made our business more necessary.

It has been hard work though – we often talk about the good aspects of entrepreneurship such as the fact you manage your own time but there are also a lot of hard times and that is where having a well-defined mission really helps. It certainly gets you through the more difficult times and helps you put in the hours necessary to build something you really want to see in the world.

@coral_pearl_ and her daughter

@coral_pearl_ and her daughter

Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?

There have been definitely a few. When some big brands and well-known TV stars first copied our GIRL POWER tops, I have to say, they were low times. We had built up a brand, and a mission and this was a charity tee so we were devastated - and we felt we couldn’t compete with a high street retailer or a celeb with x million followers. 

We felt like this for a few hours but then our community started posting their anger and disappointment on the celeb’s feed and as well as our own mission snapped back to the forefront again. So we decided to fight and we fought hard. We started emailing those concerned – the brand, the celeb, the agent, the manager explaining the history of our GIRL POWER tees and the charity, and explained our legal rights to the design… and after a while, they accepted it, apologised and pulled the tees. So the lesson here is never give up, never give in and never forget your worth.

What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?

Our latest launch – OUR STORIES MATTER - because it ties up everything we are about from inspiring girls to empowering women and telling the untold stories of great heroines. And, most importantly, we can see the difference it is going to make.

We only launched recently and we are already selling out. But this launch isn’t just about fashion – it’s about education. It’s about reaching more and more young girls with inspiring stories about incredible women – stories which we know will have impact.

By wearing the tees, we hope you spark conversations around our own stories, and the books that accompany the tees — we ask customers to donate them to local schools and libraries to inform, inspire and empower the next generation with the stories of incredible women which have gone before them. If each school had these books on their shelves and hundreds of thousands of children had access to them, we know what a difference it would make. 

We want to make the books as inclusive and diverse as possible so will be starting with both Vashti Harrisons’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Kate Pankhurst’s Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World but we will be adding more in due course.

As sisters, does this bring up complications in your business relationship when it comes to making decisions?

The trouble we have is also what works – despite being twins, we are VERY different. Natalie is very logical, uses a lot of common sense and is risk adverse. She likes order whereas I am far more impulsive, “reckless” she would probably say but I always go on my gut. I can’t do something unless I 100% believe in it and when I do, I go for it – feet first. She likes to work out everything beforehand but I think the two different personalities can help us find a sustainable middle ground! 

Why do you think Fequals t-shirts have been so well received by women?

When we started, there really wasn’t anything like it around. Selfish Mother existed but she was firmly in the mother camp and we were more focused on women at work – sharing inspiring stories about women kicking ass in their field. No one was really telling the stories of inspiring women and we like to think we changed that area somewhat.

Allbright  Founders Anna-Jones and Debbie-Wosskow with Sadiq Khan

Allbright Founders Anna-Jones and Debbie-Wosskow with Sadiq Khan

On the flipside, there has been some discussion amongst women in the media on whether a female empowerment statement on a t-shirt goes far enough to support the sisterhood. What are your thoughts?

I think it depends on the brand and their mission. When high streets stores put vacuous messages on their tops which have been made in a factory filled with underpaid workers then clearly, there is a disconnect. But our mission has always been three-fold and I think this cements our commitment to a “sisterhood”.

Brands need to be more aware that their customers are no longer passive – customers want to know more about their mission, that if they have empowering tops, that this message is aligned with how they treat women in their own company. Today’s world requires much more from the seller. And I think that is a good thing.

Proceeds from each t-shirt sale go to Worldreader. Have you seen positive impact through this?

Yes, we regularly meet with Worldreaders to see the work they are doing and the impact they have on girls in the developing world. We know how transformative books are and the fact that we are able to contribute to that makes us very proud.

It feels like the #girlpowertee is cresting the wave of female solidarity, following the swell of movements such as #metoo and #timesup. Do you think women are feeling more confident to stand up and be heard right now?

100%. When we started designing our tops, it was to make women feel more empowered – we used to get messages from customers about how they wore our tops to meetings under blazers and just wearing them, made them feel stronger. This was our intention but then 2017 was a catalyst and led to our recent launch of #ourstoriesmatter.

What more do think we can do to build action in the sisterhood community and create change?

Women need to take ownership. We talk a lot about what support we need and how our stories need to be told but we also think women need to come together more. We need to share our stories with each other more because they help and they heal. They have the power to inspire and empower and the world needs more of that.

With thousands of people around the world now wearing your t-shirts, what’s next for Fequals this year?

We’re wholly committed to our Our Stories Matter campaign to get more young children reading stories about diverse, female heroines but also to get women talking about their own stories. Our voices have been held back for so long – it’s time for us all to now speak up.

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: JESS MACINTYRE, CO-FOUNDER, MAC&MOORE

If you follow CLO PR at all you'll know that we're fierce cheerleaders of marketing consultancy, Mac&Moore. We have a tight partnership based on a shared vision, attitude and we also share some stonking client work too! We caught up with one half of Mac&Moore, Jess MacIntyre, to delve into why she aims to promote equality with attitude and her perspective on creating positive impact for clients, people and the world.

I don’t want to just talk about the unfairness of equality. I want to do something about it.
Jess's love of sassy female musicians played out in her teenage years

Jess's love of sassy female musicians played out in her teenage years

Did you have a female role model or someone you admired as a kid?

I was completely obsessed with music when I was a kid and instead of going stir-crazy over boybands I was more interested in singing an angst ridden female anthem a la Alanis Morrisette and Gwen Stefani. In real world terms I was lucky enough to have some kick-ass BFF’s who served as my everyday role models by bucking the status quo with a general “I’ll do whatever I damn please” sassy attitude. This definitely taught me the importance of being a part of the sisterhood and how we’re stronger together.

What led you to start Mac&Moore?

I’d been thinking of going solo for a few years before Mac&Moore was dreamt up as quite frankly I had a perpetual headache from being pressed up against the glass ceiling.

Aside from that, in my 20s I’d always felt like something was missing doing the 9-5 grind and working for somebody else. It became especially difficult when some of the interactions I had in business showed how little integrity and empathy was present. I just wanted to work hard and be nice to people! As soon as I set-up on my own I knew I’d found my calling.

How do you think your early years have influenced what you're doing today?

As a child I really didn’t understand some of the injustices of being a girl. I was often scolded for being “difficult”, “bossy” and “opinionated” whilst noticing that when boys (or adults) acted the same they were treated differently. It genuinely perplexed me as to why this was the case. I was a really curious child and being silenced when I spoke out had a huge effect on my self-esteem. So I’ve always wanted to prove people wrong and that anger about being silenced initially fueled me to do things differently, take risks and build a huge amount of resilience which is needed in today’s business world. That anger has dissipated now but I’m grateful for where it got me.

How do you keep learning more whilst building a business?

I’ve always been obsessed with reading. However especially in the digital age coupled with my severe lack of patience I struggle to make it through a full book or dedicate daily reading time. So to counteract this I consume blogs/podcasts and Ted Talks which cover a wide range of subjects from philosophy, women’s rights to science. I’m currently obsessed with Farnam Street a blog dedicated to “mastering the best of what other people have already figured out.”

I also love meeting new people especially if they come from a different world than I inhabit. You can learn a lot by asking the right questions and taking the time to listen to others. I try and meet one new person a week – it’s a hard task but I’m all the better for it.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I love the “underdog” so whenever I see somebody who has overcome an incredibly difficult situation/life experience I always feel hugely inspired. I’m currently in awe of Hannah Gadsby and her Netflix comedy special Nanette. Her intelligence, self-awareness and passion to speak out about her story using the vehicle of comedy absolutely floored me.

Jess with her BFF, Jade

Jess with her BFF, Jade

Why do you promote equality with attitude? 

I’m a strong believer in “action speaks louder than words”. I don’t want to just talk about the unfairness of equality. I want to do something about it. I’ve been subjected personally to sexual harassment in the work place and been undermined repeatedly because I’m a woman. Enough. I want my business to be platform for women and men who want to push for a fairer workplace and world. Working as a mentor for the incredible charity YouMakeIt is another small way I can use my privilege as a platform and create positive change.

What do you think is missing from businesses in building true diversity?

The total female population worldwide is roughly 49.6% (3.52 billion) and yet most businesses have way less than 50% of women in their workforce – how is this reflective of today’s world? Whilst businesses are becoming more diverse I still believe there’s a long way to go in order to create more equality and diversity at management/board level where most critical business decisions are made.

Jess, during Mac&Moore's sojourn in Amsterdam

Jess, during Mac&Moore's sojourn in Amsterdam

What are marketing agencies doing right / wrong in 2018?

Being short sighted by thinking more about revenue than about what’s right for their customers, employees and culture. The very best agencies are just being themselves and constantly challenging the status quo. Creative work should be brave and you shouldn’t be afraid to challenge the client.

Also the best agencies nurture talent. Giving autonomy and confidence to young people is crucial if you want to get the best out of them.

What advice can you give to businesses that want to make a mark through their marketing?

I love this quote from Dave Trott: “People buy a product for what it DOES. But they buy a brand for what it SAYS about them.” Think about what your business and customers stand for. Then communicate these values effectively and consistently via all of your chosen marketing channels. I’ve recently purchased a Chilly bottle as I’m super aware of how much plastic I’m using day-to-day and wanted to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles I buy on the move. Reusable water bottles are a bit of a “statement” piece of kit so I chose Chilly as I loved the brands style, ethics and product benefits.

Name a brand you admire and why?

Here’s a few:

Aesop: Beautiful design paired with ethical quality ingredients.

Vice: They saw a gap in the market and gave the next generation a platform and voice. It’s incredible to see how much they’ve achieved in such a short space of time and truly are the voice of a generation.

Bodyform: Two GREAT ads the first a hilarious tactical campaign in response to a Facebook post – check it out here. The second is their latest Blood Normal campaign. We loved the second ad so much Nat wrote a piece for the Huffington Post about it!

What have been the essential factors that have enabled you to be an entrepreneur that you'd think you'd struggle without?

I’ve always hugely relied on external validation and I’m working hard to change this as I’m aware this isn’t a healthy habit. So practicing self-care and setting up new daily habits/routines such as exercise, good eating, new ways of learning and avoiding toxic people have made me better as a person and at what I do. Also my amazing boyfriend, friends and family who give me that boost of support when I need it the most.

What's your biggest learning so far since starting Mac&Moore?

  1. Stop listening to what other people think. Have the self-confidence to listen to yourself. You’re better than you think you are.

  2. Lots of men will mansplain to you.

Who's a woman you watch or someone you admire in 2018?

I tend to look in the real world first than to someone well known. We’ve recently made pals with loads of incredible females in the creative entrepreneur/advertising world so I can give a few shout outs here! Cookie and Alexa from Mellor&Smith, Jana who runs The Completist, Jess Sims, Natalie Cutler, Sophie Livingston and of course our favourite Claudia from Clo PR!

Friends Anneli, Jade and Jess

Friends Anneli, Jade and Jess

Name the quote you live by.

“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Stop saying yes to shit you hate.” Unknown legend.

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: LEYYA & ROSHNI, FOUNDERS, THE OTHER BOX

We were more than excited to catch up with the female duo behind The Other Box, Leyya and Roshni, who have built an award-winning platform to empower people to work and live more inclusively. Part of CLO PR's mission is to support clients on the road to building sustainable cultures that truly embrace diversity. The Other Box is doing just that and we look up to them as a source of inspiration. Check out what the girls had to say on what drove them to help change the creative industry make-up due to the colour of their skin. 

Women of colour, like us, were being totally left out of the conversation
Image credit: Maaria Lohiya @justmebreathing

Image credit: Maaria Lohiya @justmebreathing

1. What drove you to create The Other Box?

In the creative industries, we noticed that the 'diversity' conversation was still very much based around gender. And that meant people of colour and especially women of colour like us were being totally left out of the conversation. So we decided to change that. 

2. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up The Other Box?

For the first 18 months (so basically till about a month ago!) we were running The Other Box alongside full-time jobs and one of us studying a part-time Masters. It was really full on but we learned very quickly how to manage our time, prioritise, and, as geeky as this might sound, scheduling in down time and family time, so we don't neglect our own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

3. What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?

Going full-time was a big leap for us. It's terrifying and exciting in equal measure! 

4. Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?

Not really! Almost every day we get amazing messages from people in our community saying how grateful they are for it, and that really keeps us going. 

5. Would you say you're close friends? And does this bring up complications in your business relationship when it comes to making decisions?

We were introduced through a mutual friend (shout out our fairy godmother Amiera!) but we weren't really friends when we decided to start The Other Box! We've obviously become very good friends since, and it helps that we complement each other with our personalities and working styles. But we also decided very early on how we wanted to work together, and we've stayed faithful to that. 

6. You're winning awards left, right and centre at the moment! Do you think the celebration of women is gaining momentum in the industry?

It is, but we never want to take away from the decades of work that has come before us! We stand on the shoulders of giants, but we definitely think things like social media help to democratise voices and allow movements to gather momentum faster. 

7. The lack of diversity is well-documented in the creative industry. What do you think is the biggest barrier to people of colour getting in and what should businesses be doing to tackle this?

This is a BIG question and - shameless plug! - we'd say do one of our Know Your Bias workshops. Diversity is more than a box-ticking or quota-filling exercise. There's a lot of deeply entrenched structural inequalities at play, and all of us need to invest time (and money) into unlearning the ways we've been naturally socialised, to create more genuinely inclusive working environments. 

8. The rise of #metoo and #timesup has created an important opening in discussion on gender equality but it has also put fear into young women of what they may expect to experience in the working world. What would you say to those wanting to pursue a career here?

We don't think it has put fear into young women! If anything, those movements are empowering young people to come into the industry and call out inappropriate behaviour. We also think these movements demonstrate the importance of community and sisterhood. There are also amazing organisations like Diet Madison Avenue who are putting in an immense amount of work to make sure voices are heard and also that we have access to legal representation. That kind of work cannot be underrated. 

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9. It feels like female solidarity is slowly starting to crest a wave. Do you think women are feeling more confident to stand up and be heard right now? 

Definitely! 

10. What's the one thing that's shocked you in your mission to raise the profile of diversity?

We still hear some horrific stories of the everyday racism and sexism people have to encounter in the workplace. We think we should all feel brave enough to call these things out, but of course we understand that it's not always easy to do that. 

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

Our own backgrounds as working-class Asian women from immigrant backgrounds gives us a fire in our belly to work hard and represent for those we feel are underrepresented. 

12. What's in store for The Other Box this year?

We're determined to get more workshops to more agencies and organisations. And we also want to do more for our TOB community, to create and share more opportunities and really change the face of the creative industries for good. And we want to make sure we continue to have fun and meet amazing people along the way! 

 

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: ASMA SHAH, CEO, YOU MAKE IT

We met the firecracker, Asma Shah, who set up charity You Make It to empower young unemployed women to realise their potential regardless of their background. CLO PR is part of the charity's mentorship scheme to support some of the cohort to build confidence and skills in PR and publicity. We loved talking to Asma. She tells us straight the situation of fighting for true diversity in business and society.

We help to give women self-worth and a sense of entitlement to improve their personal and professional lives. Sisterhood is built into our programme.
Asma_01.jpg

1.     What drove you to set up You Make It? 

My upbringing was such that I was raised by my single mum in Peckham on a council estate. My mum originally came to this country from Pakistan with my father and my 2 older sisters and myself and older sister were born here. She left a violent marriage while in London and welived in a refuge. From that moment on, my mum forged a successful career in education in which people believed in her and encouraged her to achieve against all the odds. Her determination for us to have a good start in life is what inspired me to set up You Make It. 

Once out of university I got into the creative industry but was struck by the sheer density of white privilege and I found myself losing out on promotions next to my peers. 2011 was the beginning of austerity in this country and I saw how people with backgrounds like mine were falling through the cracks in employment and support. This was topped with many years living inthe East End, where I saw how the divide between rich and poor had begun to build, with coffee shops never employing women of colour. In the aftermath of my mum passing, and the reflection this provoked her struggles and those of myself and sisters, I decided it was time to change what I was seeing around me and propel women’s lives against the odds. 

2.     What has surprised you most about the women who come through You Make It? 

Nothing. I am like them. I’m 44 now and know what it’s like to grow up in difficult circumstances. Women are resilient and strong. What does surprise me, though, is that the women who come through are not jumped on by employers. Statistics highlight that unemployment has dropped in London but this is not the case for black and Asian demographics. We’ve got a long way to go. I think Brexit and the Windrush scandal have started to show that people are acknowledging racism as real.

3.     What do you think is the biggest value women gain from You Make It?

We help to give women self-worth and a sense of entitlement to improve their personal and professional lives. Sisterhood is built into our programme. These women have tiny circles of friends and contacts. They may have depression or have suffered abuse and neglect. We show them that they’re not alone. People in working class backgrounds are not exposed to lessons on how to build contacts - we help them to grow their network and their confidence. 

4.     What’s been your proudest moment since starting up You Make It?

Every graduation event is a proud moment. It’s when myself and the team are truly reminded why we’re doing this and hear the journeys the women have been on. It’s always a time when I think, ‘Oh my god, this works!’ and a chance to reflect on the fact that I took risks to set up a company with £3k, juggling paid work. The number of programmes we launch double every year and it’s still working.

5.     The rise of #metoo and #timesup has created an important opening in discussion on gender equality but it has also put fear into young women of what they may expect to experience in the working world. What would you say to those about to pursue a career?

On entering the workforce you’ve got to have a strong understanding of your self-worth. You Make It does exactly this - it coaxes it out of our cohorts. If you’re confident, you’ll be in a better position to challenge discrimination in the workplace. It’s important to be fearless. 

A You Make It member of the cohort presenting her business ideas to mentors.

A You Make It member of the cohort presenting her business ideas to mentors.

6.     Many women experience so called imposter syndrome. Is this something you’ve experienced and do you have any tips on managing it?

This is not just an issue of gender. Company management - particularly run by white middle class men - has a responsibility to build cultures that promote and reward people based on their merit, rather than just because you look and talk like them. 

7.     You Make It currently operates within the area of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Are there plans to expand to other areas?

I have thought long and hard about building impact in other areas. However, we have created something in the East End, as I understand it and I am part of the community. We’re looking at ways of growing it by sharing knowledge of how we work with other organisations and how they can apply our model. Sharing what we do for others to do it feels right, otherwise we risk diluting our mission.

8.     Where do you get your inspiration?

My personal experience and being a responsible member of society by looking at inequality and deciding what needs to happen are both inspiring to me. Also, the women we work with inspire me - they make me carry on. There is an element of accountability and the need to contribute to the social and cultural capital we’re building together.

Company management has a responsibility to build cultures that reward people based on their merit, rather than just because you look and talk like them

9.     Who do you look up to?

Myself. I appreciate my background, of being one of 4 girls where there was not always an emotional focus on us as my mum was often working. I respect what I’ve managed to do from where I’ve come from. I also think ‘look up to’ is interesting - I believe we’re all equal and no one should look up to anyone.

10.  What plans does You Make It have in store this year?

As a charity, we’re fighting for survival. We have programmes locked down until the end of the year but it’s all about raising funds to continue the good work. We're focusing on a mix of traditional fundraising and partnering with organisations and sponsors for the 2019 programmes. We’ll be doing more thinking around how to share our model through a You Make It Knowledge Hub which will share practice with stakeholders who want to learn from us. 

http://www.you-make-it.org

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: JO HAGGER, DIGITAL TOUR DE FORCE

Jo Hagger is a force to be reckoned with in the digital industry. Clo was more than keen to talk to Jo about her experience of leading successful businesses, her passion for mentoring and thoughts on the #metoo era. Clo met Jo at an event for which she was on the panel and instantly admired her tenacity and mission for positive impact. Jo has led businesses including glue London (now Isobar, part of DentsuAegis), AAR and SapientNitro. She works in a consultant-coach capacity with a number of agency leaders and businesses and her most recent roles include Senior Industry Head at Google and MD at Possible and Wunderman. Read on to find out more about what makes this woman tick. 

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1. You've had quite a year! Tell us what you're up to at the moment.

Currently enjoying a short sabbatical, to build up my good karma - time with the family, volunteering, and considering lot’s of interesting possibilities. 

2. You have led some of the most successful agencies out there. What's the one job you feel has given you the most personal satisfaction?

Without question, managing Glue London through some crazy successful and creative years. Finding and working out how to attract the best people, building the team, developing and growing the business and doing some brilliant work in the process.

3. You've talked about your hate for being described as 'ambitious' and a 'go-getter', just because you're at the top of the chain. Do you think there's a lot of negatively perceived ideas of what success looks like?

I think there are a lot of 'loaded' words that we use without much thought or care, for sure. I also think it's really narrow minded to consider 'success' in one dimension and assume that everyone has the same notion of what that looks like. For me, success is about happiness, life balance and always learning new things. 

4. There's a well-documented heritage of sexism in the industry. As one of the few women at C-level, is this something you've had to deal with?

I have encountered sexism in many different contexts and flavours, although never to such a degree that it’s stopped me doing what I wanted to do. In that respect I feel pretty lucky, but I also feel the weight of responsibility that we should all feel, to drive positive change and make tangible positive steps towards improving gender diversity, inclusion and mutual respect - in business and in life. 

5. The industry has a big pressure to address equality right now. For example, the IPA just announced it will introduce a code of conduct in the wake of the 'Top Five' email, do you think the industry is doing enough and what, in your opinion, should help to solve this?

No I don’t think the industry is doing enough at all. A lot of the problems exist or are set at the very top and become systemic. I’m hopeful that the brave and tenacious entrepreneurs and future business leaders (female and male) who are leading the charge towards more progressive and inclusive business practices will get more and more publicity and traction. I also think that calling out bad practice needs to be a lot more widespread and honest - and backed by action. 

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6. The rise of #metoo and #timesup has created an important opening in discussion on gender equality but it has also put fear into young women of what they may expect to experience in the working world. What would you say to those wanting to pursue a career in advertising /marketing?

Do your research and know why you want to do it, know that the people you’ll work for are good people and that you’ll be able to learn whilst working hard and supported to find the right career path for you over time. If you are going to work in the industry then it has to be fun as well as hard work - and to be fun you’ve got to be surrounded by the right people. 

7. You're a SheSays mentor, Creative Equals coach, Inspiring the Future volunteer, NABS mentor and Help for Heroes mentor.  What draws you to coaching? 

Seeing what amazing and beautiful things people are capable of when given the opportunity (and often when they’re not!).

8. There are a lot of young (and older) women starting their own businesses and are seeking coaching on how to take their business to the next level. What would you say is the biggest thing that women need to get right to run a business?

Being clear about your proposition - why you exist, what you’re there to do and who you want to do that for and with which customers. This isn’t complex in itself but it takes time, clarity and discipline to follow your path. And find a good supportive mentor or coach who can provide extra counsel or support when needed ;)

9. What is the one thing you find keeps coming up as the problem that needs solving for your mentees?

Fear of what happens in career terms after having a family or simply how to cope with the juggling and multiple demands. Not least of all those demands we put upon ourselves and lack of confidence.

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10. Do you think women at the top get enough support in business? 

I think women at the very top often benefit from very good and extensive support systems extrinsically, but emotional support can be much harder to come by. It’s the classic ‘loneliness of the leader’, which is where clubs and networks (like WACL, for me) can be invaluable. 

11. Being at the top of a business, are you able to stay inspired?

I am always inspired, but often by things or people that are nothing at all to do with work or business!

12. Where do you get your inspiration?

New experiences, meeting great people, coaching and mentoring, and continual learning. 

13. Who do you look up to?

My mum - she’s strong, loving, fearless and a staunch feminist.

14. If you weren't doing what you do now, you'd be....

On a beach in Mexico, cooking up my next project?!  

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: WE PARTNER WITH YOU MAKE IT

As part of our joint series with the talented girls at Mac&Moore, The Female Focus, we want to share with you some exciting news. We will be partnering with You Make It, a charity which offers creative programmes for women to equip them with the tools to transform their lives through personal empowerment. The mission of You Make It falls within the Sustainable Developments Goals set out by the UN to end poverty, promote good health and well-being, provide life-long learning opportunities and fight gender inequality.

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Since You Make It launched in 2011, 82% of women supported are in sustained paid employment, working on their own start-ups or have accessed formal education places. It was set up by Asma Shah out of anger at inequality in London. The first years of her life were turbulent, her mother fleeing a violent marriage and taking Ms Shah and her three sisters with her. Despite that, Ms Shah, who has held management positions at Channel 4, the Roundhouse and Creative Skillset, always believed she would go to university and get a good job. Yet, she says, many black and Asian working class women lack self-confidence and a sense of a “right to the city”. She says of You Make It that it’s not just about giving tools for employment but addressing the stuff that really holds women back, like lack of confidence and networks.

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As part of the scheme, CLO PR aims to create positive impact by providing mentorships to two women to help them reach their potential. We’ll be supporting them with training in PR, marketing and social media skills, as well as ideas for how to promote their businesses to wider audiences. We can’t wait to get cracking and meet Honey Malaolu, a local fashion designer based in Hackney and Hera Williams, founder of Aspire Girls Squad, a community interest company offering support to young girls aged 10-16 years old.

Watch this space!