Erica Berchtold, CEO, The Iconic
“Keep the faith – You’re going to feel that sometimes you are treated unfairly because of your gender, however, don’t let it dismay you and during these times, lean into your well-developed resilience as things will begin to change.
Give back to your support network – These are the people who you celebrate with during the good times and lean on during the bad times. Your family and friends will keep you grounded and will often be your biggest cheer squad, who aren’t afraid of telling you a few home truths when required. Never forget that it’s a two-way street and being busy doesn’t excuse you from nurturing those relationships.
Learn how to do a “virtual” eye-roll – Sometimes you’re going to be thinking ‘really in this day and age we still have to put up with this stuff?’ In times like these remember to just get on with being you and remember that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”
Jo Horgan, founder, Mecca
“I’m pretty happy with some key choices I made along the way – pursue education – choose a career based on the people you will be working with and learning from early on, back yourself. Most importantly, try, fail, pick yourself up, learn from it, and try again.”
Claire Chung, former GM, Yoox Net-a-Porter
“I have been fortunate to have worked for some amazing people from which I have learned so much. In retrospect, I would have dedicated more time to trying to understand the challenges they faced with their own bosses in order to align and support them better. I had garnered much support throughout my entire career and could have probably even contributed more if I dedicated more time to understanding better their challenges.”
Alexandra Waldman, co-founder, Universal Standard
“Always be kind to yourself and to other people because life weaves itself in ways that are unexpected. I believe in what goes around, comes around and I think kindness is very important.
We’ve been raised in a society where your interests are always put above other people’s, so when you talk about business, it’s magnified several fold. The premise from the very beginning is that I’m here to make money from you, so there’s a healthy suspicion where you ask, “Is this really what it seems to be? To whose benefit is this really? What damage does this do so I can benefit from it?” I think people are beginning to ask themselves those questions more and more.”
Charlene Perera, GM, Hush Puppies
“There are so many things that I wish I had learned or taught myself earlier. Here are just a few:
- Listen to understand, not to respond: I get really excited and always want to jump in with a response, learning to listen and truly hear people has been a big one for me
- Be the master generalist: As a manager trust your team of divisional experts to help drive the right result, you don’t need to know the answers just the right questions to ask
- Always ask the second question: Sometimes this gets awkward but if you just push with the second and sometimes the third question you always get to the core of the issue.”
Jodi Bricker, CEO, Quay Australia
“I would tell my younger self to actively keep networking. I believe one of the keys to success is to dedicate time each week cultivating relationships in both your inner and broader networks, and to consider it part of your ongoing development as a professional.
I would tell my younger self to be bolder and just go for it. To find my voice and practice using it.
I would also tell my younger self not to worry and overthink so much. I try to share this advice and normalise it with the next generation (including my daughters) while also acknowledging that there continues to be so much judgement around women in society—how we look, how we dress, how we behave—instead of focusing on who we are, how we think and what we’ve accomplished. My hope is that women can continue to resist being labeled or defined by singular characteristics and stand proudly in the fact that we are multi-dimensional, dynamic forces of nature.”