In celebration and recognition of International Women’s Day, we’ve updated our selection of career advice from women in leadership.

Here are their thoughts:

Best career advice I ever had:
‘Work hard, play hard and remember the cream will always rise to the top!
Ethics are the heart of a good leader’

Advice to my younger self:
‘Get a good mentor
Feedback is a gift, unwrap it carefully and make good use of it!’

Diana Boyes – Mission Foods – UK HRM


Best career advice I ever had:
‘Discover your strengths and play to your strengths. This will always be more fulfilling than attempting to develop your weaknesses.’

Advice to my younger self:
‘Don’t assume that because someone is more senior or more experienced that they are right in every instance. As long as your challenges are appropriate and behaviourally aligned to the business’s values, they can be valuable and encourage progress. A good leadership team will encourage this.’

Helen Swallow – Muller – Talent Supply Manager


‘Strong ethics and focus make perseverance and commitment all the easier in the rapid lifestyles we women carry out today. From the morning with the kids to the office breakfast meetings, delivering the vision and objectives and sustaining the momentum are the key strengths of women in command. The balance of a healthy work style is vital in order to enjoy the results.

Enjoy your learnings from your role(s) and take with you not only what you believe has allowed the business to succeed but also those alternatives which were not required. Change management is a moving target and it comes best to those who can actively assess the situation ahead of the curve. Share your opinions and discuss your concerns with your seniors and your colleagues to allow thinking outside the box and getting that input from somebody looking in.

Mentor individuals coming through the ranks, remember this was you once upon a time and engage in their learning and take interest in their ideas, empowering individuals with recognition and responsibility breeds positivity, be the manager that shows you care.’

Rita Khanna – Centrick Property – Finance Director


‘Treat people as you would wish to be treated – be that a candidate, client, team member or your boss, because how you treat people and how you make them feel is what you will be remembered for’

Monique Myers, Recruitment Manager, University of Birmingham


‘Go to work every day as if you are being interviewed or assessed for the role’

‘Enter the workday clear on the 3 things you need to achieve and what your unique purpose is and check off that what you are doing that day achieves those ends.’

‘Spend your time as you would spend your money – both are a finite resource so spend them well.’ 

Amanda Jones, HR Director, National Express


‘When looking at the year ahead try to do 6 big ticket items really well rather than trying to achieve over 20 moderately or not at all. Never underestimate the power of engaging people at all levels within your business all the time. Treat people well, with respect and with a smile. That way people will want to help you, be inspired by you and deliver for you.’

Jackie Dadge, Peoplepathe HR Consultancy.


‘Follow your passion and interest and be true to yourself as it’ll make you happier. Move out of your comfort zone to prove to yourself you can.’

Suzanna Prout, MD, Xenonex Ltd


‘Always leave a company with the same level of professionalism and commitment as when you started, no matter what the situation. Myself and about half a dozen others have now returned to tour organisation and it’s only because of the great relationships we had, and we’ve maintained, that the door was open for our warm and successful re-welcome!’

Sian Griffiths – Shiseido Group EMEA – HR Director UK & Ireland


‘1) Believe in yourself and don’t let your ‘inner critic’ talk you out of anything.  If you doubt yourself, gather the evidence to refute it and gain the skill set required to do it.

2) Put your head above the parapet and get involved with high profile projects or apply for promotions you’re interested in, don’t wait to be asked!

3) Do something you love and are passionate about, life’s too short to spend your working life doing something that doesn’t fulfill you!

The best bit of career advice I ever got was:

– Get a mentor and sponsor. Definitely helped me to get the profile I needed internally and externally.’

Debbie Meehan, Executive and Professional Career Coach, Papillon Consulting


‘The best career advice I can give anyone is to not be afraid to try something new – as women we definitely hold ourselves back by thinking we aren’t good enough or don’t have the right experience to try something new but that just isn’t true. You don’t need to be defined by the career path you took when you were 21.’

‘The other advice I would give is to always ask for help or advice.  If you have an interest in a different department at work then tell them and ask if you can find out more or spend the day with them.  If you want to change careers and would like more information then ask for it – there is nothing wrong with approaching a friend of a friend or even someone on LinkedIn and asking for advice – just be polite and grateful and offer to buy that person a coffee and you’d be amazed by how much advice you will get. You just have to ask!’

Feona Veys, Interim Resourcing Manager, Gambling Commission


‘Don’t just do what you are great at, do what you are passionate about; if you love what you do, you will always succeed.’

Sarah Fountain MCIPD, Director, odfconsulting Ltd.


‘In finance, your job will revolve around deadlines, but spreadsheets are no substitute for getting out into the business. Carve out time each month, on the factory floor, operational teams or sales teams, with the people that deliver the business.
If there is one thing I did in early my career, it was taking risks and opportunities. Be bold in your choices.
Try different roles and business sectors. Understand where your strengths lie, and what makes a job enjoyable for you.
Poor managers focus on criticism, and women are particularly guilty of “doing good works quietly”. Own your successes, and others will recognise it too.’

Donna Hardie, Finance Director


‘As a senior female, and often the only one in the room, I’ve never let that be ‘the thing’. I am there because I have a role to play in some key strategic discussions, regardless of my gender, and I have a valuable contribution to make… I still wear pink shoes though!’

Kirsty Pitcher, HR Director, Organisation & Talent Development, JLR


Thank you very much to all of our contributors for their thoughts and advice.

If you would like to have a confidential career advice chat then feel free to get in touch!

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