WE’RE AT THE TOP OF OUR GAME What it takes to achieve suc­cess

Just what does it take to be the best in your field? Three trail­blaz­ing lead­ers who’ve smashed glass ceil­ings and bro­ken down bar­ri­ers tell Cyan Tu­ran how they made it, and what we can learn from their suc­cess

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

‘The SAFEST route is of­ten the RISKI­EST if you’re not EX­CITED enough to suc­ceed’

‘Iwas 25 and had just re­turned from my first ma­ter­nity leave when I was passed over for pro­mo­tion. My boss said, “There’s noth­ing wrong with your per­for­mance, but there’s doubt over your com­mit­ment with a baby.” I was bewil­dered. I was the only woman in a 16-strong team, but I thought my progress would be based on my hard work, not my gen­der. Thank­fully, over my 30-year ca­reer, things have im­proved dra­mat­i­cally.

I stud­ied phi­los­o­phy at Cam­bridge and fell into fi­nance by fluke, win­ning a trainee­ship at Schroders af­ter grad­u­a­tion. I spent two years in New York, re­turned to Lon­don, got mar­ried and had my first child.

When I didn’t get pro­moted, I left and joined New­ton, where I was men­tored by the founder, Ste­wart New­ton. When I an­nounced an­other preg­nancy and a col­league ex­pressed ex­as­per­a­tion, Ste­wart said, “Don’t worry, she comes back bet­ter each time!” Af­ter seven years at New­ton, I was of­fered the CEO job. It was the mak­ing of my ca­reer.

I’m not ashamed to de­scribe my­self as a “fem­i­nine” leader. I try to build con­sen­sus and be em­pa­thetic; I don’t have all the an­swers. I set up the 30% Club to pro­mote women on boards when I re­alised we needed a goal by which we could mea­sure progress. The ex­pe­ri­ence taught me how to ef­fect change.

Richard and I have nine chil­dren. Af­ter our fourth was born, he gave up his ca­reer to care for them. Hav­ing a sup­port­ive part­ner has been es­sen­tial; cou­ples can have two ca­reers, but shar­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties is the next step to­wards equal­ity. Af­ter all, men might not want to work like their fa­thers did. Be­sides, Richard prefers the ‘ad­vi­sory’ role, whereas I’ve al­ways been driven – I was a manic Brownie aged seven!

I find it hard to imag­ine stop­ping work, but as chil­dren get older, they don’t get less needy. I have a grand­son now, so it would be nice to have more time with him. Not see­ing my chil­dren dur­ing the week wouldn’t work for our fam­ily, so I keep travel down to a max­i­mum of three nights away. I wake at 5am and af­ter show­er­ing, laun­dry and home ad­min, I write our fam­ily white­board for the day. At 6.20am I wake the chil­dren and Richard, give them break­fast and get them ready for school be­fore leav­ing for the of­fice.

At the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer, I wor­ried about what might go wrong, but you shouldn’t let fear stop you. I wish I’d had more con­fi­dence to try to in­flu­ence change at the start. Now, I tell my chil­dren to dream big; the safest route is of­ten the riski­est if you’re not ex­cited enough to suc­ceed.

Ca­reers are labyrinths, not lad­ders – some­times they go back­wards. When I de­cided to leave New­ton, I wasn’t sure what I was go­ing to do, but it was time for me and the com­pany to move on. You can’t be the right leader for ever. A year ago, I joined Le­gal & Gen­eral In­vest­ment Man­age­ment as head of per­sonal in­vest­ing. I wanted to take my lead­er­ship skills and lessons about ef­fect­ing change from the 30% Club and unite them. Now, I work on the fund of­fer­ing and big­ger is­sues, in­clud­ing per­suad­ing peo­ple – es­pe­cially women – that in­vest­ing can be for them. I also led the launch of Le­gal & Gen­eral’s Own Your World cam­paign to en­cour­age peo­ple to in­vest in com­pa­nies that care about di­ver­sity and the en­vi­ron­ment. I won’t rest un­til I’ve made change hap­pen.’ ◆

Dame He­lena Mor­ris­sey, 52, spent 15 years as CEO of New­ton In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, be­fore be­com­ing head of per­sonal in­vest­ing at Le­gal & Gen­eral In­vest­ment Man­age­ment in 2017. She lives in Lon­don with hus­band Richard and their nine chil­dren.


‘I wake up at 5am to write the fam­ily white­board for the day’

Dame Bob­bie Cheema-grubb, 52, made his­tory when she be­came the first Asian woman to be ap­pointed a UK High Court judge. She lives in Lon­don with her hus­band, Rus­sell, an artist. They have three chil­dren. ‘Jus­tice is not jus­tice if it’s lim­ited to cer­tain types of peo­ple’

‘SEE­ING some­one who looks like you in a POW­ER­FUL job is EN­COUR­AG­ING’

‘Igrew up in York­shire, where my dad did man­ual work and my mum was a seam­stress. They came to Eng­land in the 1960s from Pun­jab, In­dia, and couldn’t speak English well, so they would take me to meet­ings with the coun­cil or em­ploy­ers to trans­late. I felt a keen sense of other peo­ple’s stereo­types and this was my first ex­pe­ri­ence of jus­tice and in­jus­tice, though I didn’t call it that then.

As a teenager, I vol­un­teered in a law cen­tre in Leeds. Peo­ple would come in with ten­ancy prob­lems or if a child was be­ing kept out of school. I saw first-hand how law could be a prac­ti­cal, flex­i­ble and cre­ative way of find­ing so­lu­tions. I stud­ied law at univer­sity, re­alised I loved ad­vo­cacy, de­cided a ca­reer as a crim­i­nal law bar­ris­ter was for me and was called to the Bar in 1989. The most sat­is­fy­ing mo­ments are when you help 12 ju­rors un­der­stand com­plex ar­eas of law. I pros­e­cuted an in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty fraud case with a nine-month trial; some said the jury couldn’t han­dle it, but dur­ing my clos­ing speech I re­ferred to in­ter­na­tional money trans­fers and con­tracts and they all reached for the cor­rect bun­dles. I feel de­lighted when I help the law make sense to the jury.

As I pro­gressed, I couldn’t see any­one who looked like me, but be­cause I had no ex­pec­ta­tion I would achieve any par­tic­u­lar suc­cess, I was fear­less. That’s not to say there haven’t been hard times. As a ju­nior bar­ris­ter, I was sent to rep­re­sent a man, but when I pulled down the open­ing on his cell, he said, “I don’t want you.” I thought, “What am I do­ing here?” But I took a deep breath and said, “I’m all you’ve got.” In the end, I rep­re­sented him. What’s car­ried many of us who are a bit dif­fer­ent through the jus­tice sys­tem is the idea that jus­tice is not jus­tice if it’s lim­ited to cer­tain types of peo­ple.

In 2015, I was ap­pointed as a High Court judge, the first Asian woman in the role. I was hon­oured, but see it as part of a tide lift­ing many women into the High Court ju­di­ciary; now, there are 22, up from five in 2008. That said, I’m not in­sen­si­tive to the pos­i­tive im­pact of my ap­point­ment. See­ing some­one who looks like you in a pow­er­ful job is en­cour­ag­ing.

The judge’s job is to be dis­pas­sion­ate, ma­ture and wise. I tried the Fins­bury Park ter­ror­ist at­tack case and af­ter sen­tenc­ing I said, “We must re­spond to evil with good.” As judges, we speak pow­er­ful words and that’s a heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity. A healthy per­sonal life, with fam­ily and hob­bies, makes a real con­tri­bu­tion to do­ing the job well.

I have three chil­dren – two at univer­sity and one do­ing A lev­els. When they were young, my hus­band vol­un­teered to look af­ter them. Back then, he was the only fa­ther at the school gates, and I felt I missed out. Com­part­men­tal­is­ing helped. Our front door was a merid­ian line: once I walked out in the morn­ing, I was in work mode, but as soon as I re­turned, I would be present and ready to run around with the ba­bies. You have to be flex­i­ble, and for­giv­ing of your­self and oth­ers.

Most days I’m in my of­fice at the Royal Courts of Jus­tice or in court try­ing high­pro­file cases. I am also re­spon­si­ble for mag­is­trates’ train­ing. There’s read­ing to do, judge­ments to write and ap­peals to con­sider. It might look like I’ve climbed to the high­est rung of the lad­der, but I want to keep com­mand­ing the con­fi­dence of ev­ery­one who ap­pears in front of me.’ ◆

Ap­ply to be­come a mag­is­trate at ju­di­ciary.uk or gov.uk/be­come-mag­is­trate

Jo Malone CBE, 54, started her fra­grance com­pany aged just 22. It went on to be­come one of the most recog­nis­able brands on the high street. She sold the com­pany to Estée Lauder in 1999 and in 2011 started Jo Loves. Her hus­band, Gary, is her busi­ness part­ner, and they live with their son in Lon­don.

‘When I was eight, I helped my artist dad sell paint­ings on his market stall. As we left the house, Mum would say, “If you don’t sell, there’s noth­ing to eat.” It was a mat­ter of sur­vival, and I’ve never lost that sense of ac­com­plish­ment at mak­ing a sale, or ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the cus­tomer.

I started Jo Malone when I was 22 and newly mar­ried. It be­gan when I was a fa­cial­ist and sent bath oils as thank you gifts to clients, but it was seven years be­fore Gary and I opened our shop on Lon­don’s Wal­ton Street in 1994.

I’m dyslexic, but I’ve al­ways be­lieved that what life takes with one hand, it gives back with the other. From an early age, I had an acute sense of smell, but it wasn’t un­til my 20s that I re­alised my abil­ity to lock a smell in the lit­tle li­brary in my head and re­trieve the mem­ory when­ever I want is unique. To me, cash­mere smells like a caramelised wood am­ber! That gift has got me where I am to­day. Once, my son gave me a card say­ing, “Some­times it is the peo­ple no one can imag­ine any­thing of who do the things no one can imag­ine.”

Gary and I loved shar­ing the ad­ven­ture, and he came up with ge­nius ideas. When we were launch­ing Jo Malone at Bergdorf Good­man’s in New York, we had lots of branded bags but no mar­ket­ing bud­get. He said, “Why don’t we ask friends to walk within six blocks of Bergdorf’s car­ry­ing the [empty] bags?” So we did. When we opened, peo­ple recog­nised the brand. We called it “walk­ing the dog” and it cost noth­ing.

In 1999, I fought breast can­cer. When I re­turned to Jo Malone, the job felt like work for the first time and I couldn’t re­con­nect. My son was four and I thought, “If I’ve got two years left, I don’t want to be trav­el­ling the world for work.” I de­cided to leave. Four months later, I re­alised I’d made the wrong de­ci­sion, but it was too late.

At first I en­joyed the hol­i­days, but my mind was soon bub­bling. Could I open a vine­yard? Spend my money help­ing orang­utans in Bor­neo? I tried TV and help­ing other en­trepreneurs – but noth­ing ful­filled me like cre­at­ing fra­grance. When I walked away from Jo Malone, I had no in­ten­tion of build­ing an­other busi­ness. I wanted a job, but no one of­fered. I was des­per­ate to work and, five years af­ter I left, I was bot­tling chilli sauce in my gar­den when I re­alised I had to give scent one more go.

What fol­lowed were the hard­est two years of my life. We launched Jo Loves in 2011, but it was much harder than start­ing Jo Malone and I made mis­takes: I as­sumed I could step back into the market in the same place I left, but I had to work my way back up. I thought peo­ple knew I’d left Jo Malone, but they didn’t. Each mis­step, though, taught me to trust my gut. Pas­sion, re­silience and cre­ativ­ity are the qual­i­ties that make a bril­liant en­tre­pre­neur, and the re­silience I’d built when I was younger kicked in. Now, Jo Loves has 20 staff, one shop and 60 out­lets in the likes of Space NK and Sephora. I’m in­volved in ev­ery as­pect of the busi­ness. I’m of­ten in the of­fice and still smell and mem­o­rise for two hours ev­ery day. When it comes to dream­ing up scents, I don’t let mar­kets dic­tate. In­spi­ra­tion might come from a beau­ti­ful pic­ture, sculp­ture, or an or­ange blos­som tree on a May morn­ing; I’ll then cre­ate that mo­ment in fra­grance.

This year, I was hon­oured with a CBE and launched my first epony­mous fra­grance, Jo by Jo Loves. Now, I’m look­ing for­ward to my next chap­ter. I want to see en­trepreneuri­al­ism taught on the na­tional cur­ricu­lum from ages seven to 17 be­cause those who aren’t aca­demic are of­ten the ones with pi­o­neer­ing minds who change the world.’

‘Pas­sion, re­silience and CRE­ATIV­ITY are the QUAL­I­TIES that make a BRIL­LIANT en­tre­pre­neur’

◆ Jo by Jo Loves is avail­able now at joloves.com ‘Noth­ing ful­fils me like cre­at­ing fra­grance’

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