On International Women’s Day My HR Hub are so proud of all the incredible women in leadership positions that we support. We know first-hand how hard these women work to thrive in their roles and be the best leaders and managers they can be.

We have been there ourselves and know the challenges that you are faced with, so we are determined to support our female leaders in every way that we can, including with our weekly My HR Club training and development workshops, our annual luxury HR retreat in the Derbyshire Peaks and so much more.

In the coming weeks we will be announcing an exciting new series of ‘fireside chats’ with a variety of women in leadership positions – focusing on their career journeys and the unique challenges women can face in leadership positions. Stay tuned for more information.

This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge – we can all choose to challenge; we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

Embracing the theme of challenge – we asked the women we support to reflect on the challenges they have faced in their careers and what they have done to overcome them and get to a place where they are able to thrive! Here’s what they said…

Cath, CEO and Trauma Therapist at Imara

“One of the things that has challenged me to change is seeing the courage and determination that children and young people show when they find a way to disclose sexual abuse.

“My tendency has been to let go of my authority and step aside, believing that I wasn’t good enough. I have learnt instead the importance of celebrating the hard work and investment I put in and to honour my courage and determination to hold onto a vision of what is possible. If I do this, then I am better able to advocate on behalf of the children, young people and safe family members that I work with.

“I see the growth of Imara as a demonstration of the importance for all of us to have confidence in ourselves and to stay true to our beliefs to bring change and transformation.”

Jayn, Managing Director at Weleda UK

“The biggest challenge for me has been to have the courage and confidence in myself as a leader. I think this come’s more easily to men as do many other things in business such as asking for pay increases, being confident in one’s own ability, etc.

“I have learnt that the things leaders need in their toolkit are empathy, listening ears and honesty. Telling someone a truth, whilst hard, is the only way to build integrity. You build the path by walking it, your behaviours matter and remember you are both watched and seen.”

Debbie, Owner of Debbiedooodah

“The things that have challenged me in the running of my business are generally all mindset stuff! I started my business after several years on income support as a single mum and that can change your perception of what is possible.

“I had to work on my self-belief and my ability to know my worth and to be able to accept decent money for my services. I know as female entrepreneurs we often charge less than our male counterparts, so this confidence in ourselves is key to building a successful and profitable business.”

Denise, CEO of KeTech Systems Ltd

“In part it started back in High School, when I was considering which subjects to take and ‘Computing / Software’ was very much in its infancy. My Careers teacher told me to take Business Studies and Typing instead and my Physics teacher told me that Physics wasn’t for ‘girls’. 

It was my sheer determination to prove them wrong that has probably run through everything I have done since… succeed against all odds, challenge the ‘expected’ and change the ‘norm’.

“This has stayed with me throughout my career, making sure that I had the right skills to do the job and now as the C.E.O. of a Company, I make sure that we always employ the ‘right’ person, the person, who can do the job best.

“Why has this been a challenge and why did I promote a change in thinking? Placing women in roles can often be to hit a target, in recent times there is too much pressure for Companies to promote women into senior positions instead of promoting the right person who has earned that promotion regardless of gender. Ticking boxes to reduce the Gender Gap rather than selecting on merit has to change and just because it is expected doesn’t mean it is right.”

Lindsey, Managing Director of Bridgepole Ltd and Founder of Stars and Shores

“I was challenged to change predominantly from working in environments that didn’t fit how I wanted to spend my time and that weren’t rewarding on a personal level. When I chose to embark on a new venture in a completely new sector and to do it in a different way to how it had always been done; I faced significant challenge. I was told on a few occasions that what I wanted to achieve wasn’t possible and that there wasn’t room for it.

“Through sharing my vision with the team, maintaining my passion, honesty and transparency and sharing my experience I have created an organisation that has overcome those traditional models, methods and expectations.

“I’m proud to have created an ever-changing well-respected service with an empowered team filled with creativity, energy and freedom to work independently. To also feel confident sharing ideas without fear of criticism and most importantly to me; in a culture of inclusion which is contrasting and where equal opportunity exists for everyone within it.”

Danielle, Managing Director at Cherry Professional

“Becoming a Mum and the dual responsibilities of Motherhood and running a growing business certainly challenged me to change!  I had to let go of certain things, be more disciplined on where I spent my time and focus, I had to become much better at delegating and giving autonomy to those around me.  In summary I had to “let go of some control” which not an easy task and something I continue to work on.  It empowers those around me to grow and develop which is what I aim to do and what I should be doing anyway “.

Georgie, HR and Administration Manager at Archer Hotel Capital

“I had to overcome the negative narrative in my head that was stopping me from asking for what I really wanted. I wanted to be responsible for HR (amongst other things!) to take full ownership of it and be rewarded for it.

“By finding the courage to ask for what I wanted without fear of the possibility of rejection, I now have the role I have always wanted where I am valued and respected for what I bring to the table. “

Marianne, Managing Director at the Willoughby Book Club

“I am far from where I want to be and consider both myself and the business very much a work in progress, although I am extremely proud of what we offer. As with so many of us, the biggest obstacle I face is my own self-doubt, but I challenge myself to face each day with positivity, and tackle the obstacles facing us little by little.

“At my core I’m determined to make this business the absolute best it can be and embrace the challenges along the path as opportunities to learn, grow and develop.”

Samantha, Managing Director at the Live Well Practice

“I started my career teaching IT in further education and never imagined having the confidence to run my own business. I was bowled over by how effective hypnotherapy was for an anxious member of my family, so much so I decided to train as a hypnotherapist. During the training we had hypnotherapy ourselves and this helped me to create a vison of how I wanted my future life and business to be and the confidence to take the leap and just do it!”

Ange, Founder and Owner of Secret Warriors

“My sister Susie is the best example of someone who chooses to challenge. She runs her own bio-mechanical engineering business and has earned no end of awards and recognitions, including an MBE – my photo is of us trying on hats before visiting Buckingham Palace. She’s my inspiration and why I set up my own retreats business, Secret Warriors.

“Susie works so hard, never compares herself to anyone else, is incredibly focused as well as being the humblest – and most hilarious – person I know. She has no ego and never set out to achieve recognition of any kind. She just loves what she does. As a result, she has achieved extraordinary success at a very young age in a traditionally male dominated industry. Couldn’t be prouder of my little sister.”

Louise, Partner Relations Manager at Breathe

“I have been working at Breathe for 7 years. When I joined the business we were a team of 6 and now we’re a team of 50. The things that have challenged me to change, is change itself.

“As the company has grown enormously, we all have grown with it – even more in the last year, with COVID and the acquisition of the business. I am not the person I was when I joined back in 2014, but I am grateful to Breathe for that.”

Karen, Founder of the Weleda Wellbeing Advisor Network

“My biggest challenge to overcome is how safe I felt to be my true self and to open up to receiving love and support from other women.

 “From an early age I learnt that if I was different from what was expected of me, I was encouraged to be small. I have been told I was a bit of a handful as a child, always asking questions! I also excelled at a few things that I loved, including ballet. That combination in my small village attracted jealousy and ridicule and coupled with that I also developed scoliosis of the spine at 14 and stood out again for a very different reason.

“I was hurt and felt shame many times and to protect myself I learnt to be small and distance myself from other women. Society encouraged us at that time to be in competition with each other. Who is prettier, thinner, smarter, richer? This is by no way a recent problem, women have been encouraged to do this for centuries.     

“Overcoming this fear of being hurt by other women and opening my heart to receive love and give love to my sisters has been the biggest gift in life. When we learn not to fear but to support, love and celebrate each other we can achieve anything together. This has been a critical lesson for me and one I practice daily.

“I do not let anything come before the relationships I have with the women I work with. We show our true self, we are always honest and we speak our mind. We hold courageous conversations, and we welcome in all emotions, staying related even through some of the most difficult situations. 

“We live and work by these agreements, guided by other women in other communities that have gifted this ancient feminine wisdom to us. I have been very lucky to have many women mentors in my life that have selflessly guided and shared this way with me and my life and business has flourished and grown. I turn 50 in a few weeks and I know I will spend the next part of my life doing the same for other women to follow. When we empower each other, the power is limitless!”

Lesley, Business Relationship Manager at Validium

  • Maintaining values in changing / challenging times – keeping focused on why and how we want to do this
  • Knowing where to best focus energy/time & which battles to fight – If I were buying Validium’s services where would I target the spend?
  • Honestly identifying your own / key peoples’ limitations and then developing skills/other resources to cover these
  • The risk of me or key people burning out – ensure investment in our wellbeing / recovery time

Bethan, Partner Accounts Manager at Breathe

“Breathe has gone several changes throughout lockdown which included an acquisition, the launch of Breathe in Australia, 4 new starters and of course, ensuring that we provide a fantastic service for our partners and customers throughout this tricky time.

“Even though we’ve had an incredibly busy year, I’m so proud and amazed at how easily we’ve all adapted to working from home.”

Happy International Women’s Day from the My HR Hub Team!

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