We don’t want to be preachy or boring but this blog is where we share our values and experiences and write about the issues shaping the future of our businesses and our society. Catch a glimpse into our lives and find out what’s new in our world...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Inspiring Change: Why Women Can Thrive In The New Economy

Kathryn Sheridan is CEO of Sustainability Consult
As a female CEO, it seemed natural for me to blog on International Women’s Day. But when I sat down to write the post, I hit a wall. I simply don’t define myself as a “woman entrepreneur”. I’m just an entrepreneur who happens to be a woman. I was lucky enough to be born in a democracy and raised to believe that I could do whatever I set my mind to, as long as I worked hard. Thanks Mum!

I guess I’m post-feminist. My business is in the niche where communications and sustainability come together. I never wanted a job in finance or engineering. If I had, I would have gone after one. I started out in journalism and in my whole career, I have never felt discriminated against for being a woman.


We often receive positive feedback that our Team is mainly women. Partners are happy to put us on bids for public funding as we bring some “gender balance”. And the media still makes a fuss when a woman is appointed CEO, like last month when Patagonia named Rose Marcario as President and CEO. When sales people cold-call our office, they automatically assume that the boss is a man. So it is still not 'business as usual' to have a woman at the head of a company.

We provide consultancy services to the traditionally male-dominated chemicals, plastics and energy industries. But I’m not treated any differently because I’m a woman. At industry conferences like World Bio Markets where I was moderating this week, we are seeing increasingly more young women coming through.

Surviving in today’s business world (and still being able to sleep at night) takes ethics, responsibility and kindness. Women don’t have a monopoly on these characteristics but they are well-placed to thrive in the new economy. What remaining discrimination is left - whether on the grounds of gender, sexuality or disability - will hopefully be left by the wayside as we build a more responsible, ethical economy.

I don’t believe you have to act like a man to succeed in business. I am a strong woman, outspoken and imposing at times, warm and fuzzy at others. I work really hard and more than anything, I own my vision and my passion for sustainability. I’m grateful to those who fight for women’s rights, especially in developing countries, just as we campaign on environmental issues.

Happy International Women’s Day to all our friends - men and women alike.

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