Kate Johnson – Multi-Biz Owner, Franchisor and Techpreneur 

Website(s): www.smileybooth.com / www.say-it.co / www.smilingentrepreneurs.com

“If a woman finds themselves in a male dominated industry they should embrace the opportunity it presents to stand out. Being a woman has helped me attract attention in the events industry and connect with our clients who are predominantly brides and females in marketing, branding and PR roles. I’ve also been able to drive technical solutions and innovations in procurement and most recently the SaaS space by tapping into my soft skills such as empathy. Making others feel seen and heard builds trust and inspires execution far more effectively than by being demanding.”

“My advice to young women in education or starting their careers is to seek out role models early on. If there is no-one in your immediate circles follow women such as Sara Blakely who advocate leadership through feminine energy rather than trying to emanate their male counterparts.”

“Mum was the breadwinner in my family, she was a gigging musician with her own bands, she ran a pub and a restaurant and was a teacher. My dad worked part time and looked after me and the home. Growing up this was normality for me it was only in my teens when I was often asked “what does your dad do” or telephone callers would always ask for my dad first that I began to realise my household was unusual.”

“While I believe that there are largely equal opportunities for women today I also think the pressure on women is far greater than men. Women are expected to be able to do well at work, keep a nice home, look beautiful, feed the family, manage after school clubs and get the kids to that birthday party on time, looking presentable with the perfect present in hand. I’d be willing to bet the majority of recent home-schooling responsibilities have fallen on the shoulders of women to multi-task too.”

“The funny thing is the majority of this pressure comes from other women. I attended a Women in Business awards ceremony a few years ago as a finalist. The first question I was asked on arrival was “who are you wearing?” Even at an event celebrating the achievements of women more emphasis was placed on what I looked like rather than what I’d achieved.”

“My message for International Women’s Day is that women can have it all but we need to stop doing it all at once with such high expectations on ourselves and each other. While we don’t need to choose between having a family or a career anymore, we need to acknowledge that balancing the two is challenging and we need to be kinder to one another and less judgemental.”