Wonderful Women Wednesday

Taking a mid-week moment to celebrate and thank those standing up and kicking ass

This week is ⚡️MARY PORTAS ⚡️ the formidable retail consultant and broadcaster. Currently proposing a radical re-evaluation of how we work in order to allow women to reach their full potential. She plans to lead the charge, but she can't do it alone. The book: ‘Work Like a Woman - a manifesto for change’ , I can’t recommend it enough.

‘Let's create an unstoppable force for change in the workplace’

‘…Meanwhile self-serving competition, arrogance and focus on individual wins over the collective good are sadly too prevalent in the behaviour of many of our leaders today. This is why we have to make work more equal, allowing women to rise and take their equal place at the top of power structures. Creating a better balance between men and women will help us to start to shape a future that truly reflects all our needs, thoughts and considerations together.

Instead of suppressing women’s talents, values and expertise, putting essentially feminine qualities, like empathy, collaboration and flexibility, strength, courage and resilience, at the heart of the system will create a radical shift in how we work –  and live.’

I had the chance to go see Mary speak at a literary fair in November last year and I grabbed it. And so bloody glad I did. F*ck what a woman. It was astounding. And not going to lie a little bit choked up at some of the truths coming at me and reliving some career experiences and feelings that you suppress and battle through to be the alpha required of you to achieve in the current system. And it’s not normal. And we don’t have to change shape to fit into it. Do it differently and ‘face the uncertainty, knowing who we are’. Incredible to see the effect firsthand she has on people around her...and that’s just one hall in Ilkley!

In the early 1990’s as Creative Director at Harvey Nichols, Mary pulled genius moves such as working with artists to install art into the windows. And making that call to Jennifer Saunders masterminding the deal between Ab Fab and HN when it first aired back in 1992.

‘We made Harvey Nichols a community. We put a bar in the fifth floor and put art on the walls, had Ru Paul launch MAC cosmetics... it was mad and people just wanted to be there to connect. We turned it into a place where people wanted to hang out. That's what's starting to happen; great retail is coming back by people who instinctively know that other people just want to connect,".

The future of work culture being kindness, dignity and collaboration. The future of retail being about connecting and building communities. YES and YES. We are Portas.