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Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Successful Woman?

The past two weeks have felt like I've been running downhill, very fast. You know that feeling, when you're just on the edge of falling over, and the only thing you can do is run faster, and hope?

I'm usually quite a busy person - full-time job, combined with family life with 2 children, combined with other commitments = little spare time. In the past couple of weeks, it's gone off the chart. This has been thanks to me stepping into the role of Chair of RBS's Focused Women Network in Scotland. Unexpectedly, I've been inundated with invites to speak, or to attend events, or simply to discuss what the Network can do for its members. It's been a wee bit hectic.

The first event was the reason for the title of the blog. I was asked to speak at Gender Equality Week at St. Andrews University, under the tag of "A Successful Woman in Business". That was scary. But it was also brilliant, and exciting, and rewarding. The questions were interesting and challenging, and I went back to Edinburgh thinking furiously about how we could work more closely with universities in future. 

More followed: an evening reception at the Scottish Parliament for Women in Business. Lots of contacts made, requests for me to speak with other organisations and share our experience of building a network that seeks to attract, retain and develop talented women to benefit the organisation. 

Then it was Edinburgh University Business School to listen to Lady Susan Rice talk about Professionalism in Banking and then network afterwards. This didn't go quite so smoothly.

 I had a dance class later that evening, so I had all my dance stuff in my laptop bag (no laptop) and I had put my trainers on to walk to the Business School, with the intention of changing back into my heels when I got to the School. What follows is an "exchange" with Andrew, by text, which illustrates exactly how that didn't go to plan:


In the end, I kept my trainers on, and nobody seemed to care or notice. 

Lesson? Confidence is all you need. 

Your perceived shortfalls are only huge in your head, and if you don't draw attention to them, then chances are no-one else will even notice them. And if you take radical action to disguise them (let's call the Hot Pants Option) then you're likely to make a ridiculous, and unnecessary spectacle of yourself.

For the record, I didn't go with Hot Pants Option, I just pretended I had my lovely, shiny shoes on and faked a confidence I didn't feel inside.

Result? Director of Corporate Banking now wants to talk about how I can help his business with their diversity agenda. And that is a result. 


  1. Lol! Some days it's all about faking it, isn't it. I've been known to go to coffee shops barefoot, though, so I'm probably not the best judge.

  2. Go you. Result.

    If it's any consolation I couldn't be bothered popping work clothes back on after physio at gogar (I was going home), thought with my big coat no one would realise I had shorts and t shirt on underneath. Unlike you I had work shoes and no trainers, I was a right picture. Traffic was hideous and I had to pick my son up in aforementioned attire with the added elegance of poorly groomed legs. It's not easy being a working parent.