Today is International Women’s Day so here are some thoughts from Air Social MD, Alex Vinall, about what it’s like being a female business leader in today’s society.
What’s the secret to being a successful woman in business?
I think it’s the same as it is for everyone, male or female - determination and plenty of tea! I started my business as a single mum so juggling raising my young son on my own with the pressures of running a small business was tough but really that’s just the same for any woman who chooses to have a family and a business. I’ve since married and had another child but the demands remain the same; it’s still always a race to get to the school gates on time for pick up! I think there is also a lot to be said for patience. I lacked that when I first started my business but it is something I have learnt over the years. Good things can and do come to those who wait but that doesn’t mean you should refrain from being a go getter either.
What women inspire you?
So many women inspire me. I should probably say the Prime Minister or a suffragette or something but really it’s the women I meet and network with on a day-to-day basis, both professionally and socially. A lot of my friends have had amazing careers, then had children and are now setting up their own businesses because they haven’t been able to find work that allows them to be a mum and work and I totally admire their drive and persistence in doing something they enjoy rather than pandering to what society says they should or should not be doing. I also admire women helping to change the business world for future generations; Air Social works closely with I am the Code, which was founded by a truly inspirational woman called Marieme Jamme and is working to enable one million women and girl coders by 2030.
How do you think being a woman in business has changed over the past century?
I expect it has changed immensely, as has the business world in general. We live in such a fast-paced, technology-centric environment these days that women (at least those in the western world) are able to have much better access to the tools that enable them to go far in business. Attitudes have changed but I think we still have a long way to go - I look forward to the day when people stop referring to me as a “successful business woman” and instead say a “successful business person”.
What business tool can you not live without?
My iPhone. Running a social media marketing agency means I need to have access to social media at all times so I can check my clients’ social media campaigns and social media advertising. I am literally lost without it.