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Women in business - are we our own worst enemy?

Last night, the FreshMinds Women’s Network hosted a thought provoking networking and panel event at the Adam Street Club to debate this thorny topic, much discussed by business leaders worldwide.

The panel was made up of incredible businesswomen; Tess Alps, Katy Gotch, Pat Chapman Pitcher, Anna Stupnytska and was chaired by our very own CEO Caroline Plumb. The panel had a great mix of ages, sectors and backgrounds but all of them were of one accord. Women- you need to believe in yourself more, take more risks and learn to say yes, what's the worst that can happen and what are you so afraid of?

Tess encouraged the attendees to be more aware of the political animals in every office- the innocent sheep (hard worker who just keep their heads down but tend to get eaten) the asinine ass (obvious self promoter) the wiley fox (speaks for itself) and that which we should all aim to be...the wise owl- someone who takes time to look around and be wise enough to work out the best outcome for themselves AND the company.

Top tips from our very honest panel included the 4Ps:
• Power - have some because being powerless sucks
• Politics -understand it and make it work for you (see description above)
• PR yourself - your personal brand is crucial so cultivate it
• Passion - find something outside of work that excites you and become really good at it- there lies a life of balance

We debated the existence of gender barriers which exist today, and these were limited in the panel’s experience. One major lesson learnt was that it is very easy to dismiss career issues as being gender based, when really they are more likely to be down to a combination of other factors.

Wherever your career may take you, find role models and senior stakeholders and never be afraid to ask, “can you help me”. You may be surprised to discover that the answer is nearly always yes.