“Choose to Challenge” is this year’s International Women’s Day theme and it couldn’t be a more relevant topic to Liz and the other incredibly inspiring female leaders interviewed by Cranfield Executive Development as part of their latest e-book.
“I’ve loved my non-exec career that has developed over the past 10 years or so,” said Liz “and I was very proud of being awarded an MBE in 2015 but, most of all, I consider my success in business to be creating a small, specialist business that has done great work for 20 years, is now growing fast, has a genuine life of its own now, and a team that blossoms and flourishes at every turn.
“I’m proud of creating something that continues to have such a positive impact on the built environment and the people who work in the construction industry, and I hope I have shown the future business leaders in my team that entrepreneurship and career success in this sector does not have to be testosterone-fuelled; we can lead with a growth mindset, with curiosity, collaboration, kindness, prudence, psychological safety and respect, laughter and love.
“Women in business still have to prove themselves over and over again. They know they’ll always have to work that much harder to be accepted, recognised and respected for their intellect, experience and skills. It’s confidence-crushing. Toxic behaviour in the workplace must be called out, challenged and made utterly socially unacceptable. We should treat everyone as we ourselves would want to be treated.
“Doing the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield gave me the time and structured framework I needed to look again at every part of the business, to scrutinise with fresh eyes and see what we could do better. On a personal level, it challenged me to articulate why I do what I do, and what I want for my life, which triggered some very important conversations with my family and my colleagues.
“Even after 20 years running my business, I still face professional challenges: transitioning into a stronger, healthier leadership role that facilitates my continued growth and the growth of my wonderful team, learning to guide and mentor more effectively rather than jumping in and doing it myself, and – of course –ensuring I safeguard the time and energy to do all the innovation stuff that I also want to pursue.
“I’m not a traditional risk taker.” said Liz “But – the way I see it – in life, we have a choice: to challenge ourselves to grow, to stretch tentatively out of our comfort zone and see what is possible, even in the face of adversity – or to sit tight, play it uber safe and, quite possibly, stagnate. I know which I’d prefer.”
Download the full e-book here.