Fiona Wylie, Founder and CEO,The Brand Champions discusses the importance of female leadership for growth and innovation.

In a constantly evolving business landscape, female leadership is still a crucial driver of growth and innovation. Recent statistics from the Gender Index 2023 reveal a meager increase of just 0.5% in the number of UK female-led companies over the past year. As marketers and brand managers within FMCG, Travel, and Healthcare, it's time for us to address this issue head-on and create inclusive workplaces that empower and promote female leaders. 

It's no secret that women face unique challenges in both their personal and professional lives. From pregnancy and period pains to endometriosis and menopause, women navigate a range of health issues that can significantly affect their careers. It's no wonder then that the growth of female-led companies has been relatively slow. However, we shouldn't be disheartened by these numbers. Instead, let's recognize the resilience and determination it takes for women to weather these storms while pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. 

As working mothers and parents, we understand firsthand the conflicting emotions that arise when balancing career aspirations with the desire to spend time with loved ones. We refuse to accept the notion that we must choose between motherhood and a fulfilling career. With courage and determination, we embark on empowering journeys to start our own businesses. We realize that entrepreneurship can offer the best of both worlds – the ability to work on exciting brands and be present for our children. Time is a precious commodity, and we don't want to waste it on anything that doesn't bring us joy. 

Now, as female founders in industries we love, we consider ourselves fortunate. We can work on incredible campaigns alongside talented individuals, both within our teams and among our clients. It is our duty as female leaders to be voices within the industry, showing women in similar situations that there is indeed another way. While it is not without its challenges, the rewards and highs make it all worthwhile. 

Embracing a flexible work model is one of the cornerstones of our success. This approach often receives initial scepticism, especially from those unfamiliar with our industry. However, we have discovered the power of this model, where we focus on delivering results rather than billing clients for unnecessary travel or extravagant office spaces. Our clients pay for the ability, experience and dedication we bring, delivered when they need it most. We adapt to suit their needs while keeping the utmost professionalism, never missing deadlines or exceeding budgets. And yes, we may be on a school run at 3:00 PM, but rest assured, we always get back to you. 

Being female leaders often means defying the odds stacked against us. The current funding landscape shows a clear discrepancy, with male entrepreneurs receiving seven times more funding than their female counterparts. However, we have discovered that authenticity and a willingness to seek guidance can make all the difference. Whether it's seeking advice from experienced professionals or drawing inspiration from the younger members of our teams, we continuously strive to adapt, innovate, and stay on top of our game. 

In our teams, we instil values that foster unity and a shared purpose. We stand as one, having left the corporate world for a reason. We dare to break free from the confines of the norm, embracing an intrepid spirit that propels us towards new horizons. Above all, we hold ourselves accountable to a simple principle: "Don't be a dick." Treating others with respect, empathy, and kindness is not just a moral imperative; it's the foundation of a harmonious and inclusive workplace. 

As female leaders, we bear a responsibility to inspire and uplift the next generation. We must show them that the forecast looks bright and sunny. From where we stand, we see a future filled with possibilities, where women rise and thrive in their careers.  
Meet Brand Champions at the Female Leaders’ Barand explore our brand weather report to see the power of inclusive leadership in action. Together, let's champion and inspire inclusive workplaces where all individuals can flourish and contribute to a brighter future. 
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