Gracia and piper
I have been thinking about what it means to be a female leader in business, trying to recall times when I thought I was treated differently because of being a woman.
I can honestly say that I have never felt marginalised. I have worked in companies that were very male dominated and I thrived in very senior roles. I went to find venture capital for my own company and received £500,000 back in 2000, championed by the male contingency in the fund. I have managed teams that were mainly male and have never had more kickback than I would have had from a team of women.
As women I think we have certain attributes that are incredibly useful in business. Our stamina is impressive. Our intuition, 360-degree view, eloquence, compassion, drive, cultural understanding and ability to listen on top of the usual business requirements are all attributes that can make a good leader great. I sometimes wonder if it actually helped being a woman – but that’s for another time.
“I can honestly say that I have never felt marginalised. I have worked in companies that were very male dominated and I thrived in very senior roles”
Maybe at the foundation of it all is belief. Belief might come from nourishment earlier in life. For me, having an Italian father who moved from Italy to liberal Holland in the 60s had a deep impact on my upbringing. He wanted to give his daughter all the options in life to be independent and free. The belief he gave me that I could do whatever I wanted if I worked hard and by doing so creating a multitude of options/choices, simply gave me wings.
Yes, of course, I realise that it might sometimes still seem like a man’s world out there but I have never seen anyone not being able to capitalise on their talent. We have so much, we simply have to show it and believe in it.
My big message is: be proud of being a woman. Remember what our USPs are and capitalise on these. That’s what a successful business does, that’s what ‘brand woman’ should do.
- Gracia Amico is the chief executive of PetsPyjamas and an ambassador of Retail Week’s Be Inspired campaign. For further information on the initiative click here.