Top trumps alert! What are the three cards you’ve played to help you get where you are in your career?

Trust - I’ve trusted forward, believing that the people I want to work with do as they do with the best intentions. But I also created trust, by ensuring I deliver consistently.

Pride - I’ve tried to stay as close to myself as possible. That way I could truly be proud of myself, because I was authentic. Authenticity also ties nicely into building that trust I mentioned above.

Risks - I like being provoked and I don’t ever remember turning down an opportunity, regardless of how risky it was. If my intuition told me it was worth it, I’d find a way. When you take risks and they pay off you grow faster in your career, professional relationships and skills.

Ballsiness, being the bossy boots, Machiavellian ruthlessness - why do many women feel that they need to act tough to succeed? What are the real hallmark signs of good female leaders?

This is an interesting one. Why do women feel they need to act tough? It’s very simple - that is the example we’ve been given.

If you watch success and you want to be successful intuitively you get inspired and learn from people who are already there. It’s a circle that is very difficult to break.

But once broken, we see amazing qualities and a new generation of leaders appear. The ones, leading through empathy, intelligence, and driven by fear of failure, allowing them to make the impossible possible. All of these are in my opinion the signs of great female leaders.

Who has inspired you in your career? Why?

I’ve been inspired by different people at different stages of my career. My first inspiration came from my mother - she’s an amazing woman, a business owner, extremely smart and very driven. 

She hasn’t had an easy life, but she made it look easy. I observed how much people counted on her and I found that fascinating. Later in life I was exposed to different leaders in my field - some were women, some were men, but what they all had in common was leading through empathy, coaching and clear vision.

If you could wave your magic wand and right one wrong in the workplace, what would it be and what would you do?

Create true equality - in attitudes, perceptions and beliefs. For example, dominance is perceived as negative in women and positive in men. What if there was no difference? I’d love to see that everyone is judged on merit only, without any other factors coming into play.

The route to success is never smooth. What tips, professional, personal, and leftfield, would you give rising stars, if you were starting out today?

I think there are several important concepts that would help rising stars:

- Feedback is Gold - ask for it, make sure you understand it, implement it and never take it personally. Especially from people you respect and look up to - that is how you create real long-lasting career partnerships.

- Be yourself - if you are calm and introverted, or outgoing and social, don’t try to change who you are. Your authentic self is more valuable than any different version you try to create. But do it with empathy.

- Take intuitive risks - there will be moments in your career, when you want to do something, but you will be terrified by it. Those are the times when you need to get over your fears and go for it. 

Or as someone famous once said: “ The best things in life are on the other side of fear”.