Expert Opinion – Women in Business
Earning enough respect to gain a seat at the management table is never easy, especially as a woman in a world where men monopolise 76% of the global business top spots.
Group Marketing Manager at Midshire® for the past five years, Adrienne Topping urges that with constant growth, self-development, and hard work, women can achieve the same as any man.
Adrienne started her marketing career almost 12 years ago, working for an advertising agency as a Junior Graphic Designer. From there, she advanced to Senior Designer, and then onto Studio Manager, all in a relatively short space of time.
Recently named Businesswoman of the Year at the Technology, Media, and Telecoms Awards 2017, Adrienne is now a fundamental and integral part of Midshire’s success.
She sheds some insight on that success, and shares her thoughts for the future of women in business:
1. To what do you owe your success?
Starting out working for a relatively small team, I had the opportunity to work on some really substantial projects, and for many well-known global brands across a wide variety of sectors, both commercial and consumer.
It may sound simple, but in my opinion, success is achieved by learning, and we learn through experiencing different things and making mistakes. Over the years I’ve had plenty of time to do both. When you’re starting out you get all the tedious, mind-numbing jobs that no one else wants. But often, these are a chance to impress, really hone your skills and excel at the basics, which then allows you to progress to the next level.
During my career, I’ve been really privileged to work with some exceptional people. I’ve collaborated with a wide variety of professionals including designers, art workers, illustrators, copywriters, printers and project managers. They all had different skills, knowledge and experience, which allows you to grow because they all bring something new to the table. I thank them for encouraging me and for sharing their wisdom.
2. What challenges do women in business face?
Being a woman in business is extremely challenging for the simple fact that men tend to govern in every scenario. Their opinions can often outshine our own because they have the confidence to stand up for themselves and aren’t afraid to confront their colleagues.
Women not only have the hurdle of beating down the inherent gender stereotype that women are weaker than men, but it is often the case that they must juggle work and family life. Historically men have been the bread-winners, and although this is changing, there is much ground to be gained. Building on this, for those women that choose to have a child, the social pressures make it difficult for her to return and hit the ground running.
Additionally, being a woman in a technology environment adds another layer to the challenge. The technology sector is very male-centric and sales focussed. There are few influential females at the top of the tree, but those I’ve met have been extremely impressive and strong characters, and all are worthy of the positions they hold.
3. What advice would you give?
Determination, drive and a good sense of humor are all essential attributes if you want to be successful.
My experience has taught me that to succeed you have to be willing to stand up and be counted. You must be prepared to make your voice heard and not be afraid to make mistakes, ask questions, or challenge people on things you don’t agree with.
My approach has always been to be upfront, open and honest. Sometimes you will need to disagree with the powers that be, but it’s ok so long as you can explain your reasoning and justify your viewpoint.
It’s important to have different personalities, strengths and skills within a business, that’s where successful ideas and a thorough strategy can really grow and flourish.
It is also imperative to stay relevant at a time when technology is ever changing and all encompassing. People no longer want – or have to, wait for anything, so remaining ahead of the curve is paramount, regardless of the industry you’re in.
4. What are your goals for the future?
For me, both professional and personal development is extremely important. Keeping pace with technology and digital marketing is essential, no matter what sector you work within. I believe this to be any marketer’s biggest challenge.
I really love the creative side of my job and so the opportunity to do more of this in the future would be great.
There are still lots of things I’d like to achieve, including improving my public speaking skills. I’ve been on a number of workshops and have joined a local speakers group in order to progress with this goal.
5. What changes would you like to see in business?
Women have a lot to offer in business. It’s a proven fact the companies with a mixed senior management team out-perform single-sex executive boards. Diversity is key.
Men and women think differently, and so for a well-rounded, thorough and competitive strategy, surely this is the best approach?
There is still a very prejudiced view of women in the workplace. I think programmes such as the Businesswoman of the Year Awards are a fantastic way of bringing about change and balance by highlighting female success.
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