MT announces 2017's 35 Women Under 35

12 July 2017

Once again Management Today have released their annual 35 women under 35 list, highlighting to us those ambitious self-starters that are making waves, breaking records and cutting ribbons within their industries. All the winners are from the millennial workforce, so they adopt a different attitude to jobs and careers than those that have come before them.

Understanding that we don’t seek jobs for life anymore and that there is more to gain from working with companies that seek to better human experiences, than those that want to stick to the status quo, these women are ripping up the rulebook. The top 35 are all of the generation that doesn't expect to separate work and home life, but that’s okay because they have the same passion for both. While they are juggling 30 different responsibilities and expecting to work till they are 70, they are also thriving off this lifestyle, because they are changing things for the better, way faster than ever before.

As it is an incredibly prestigious award, we spoke to a couple of the winners to find out what this nomination means to them and what piece of precious advice they want to pass on to the next aspiring generation.

Sarah Harvey - Square

Sarah Harvey from Square said, “It's an honour to appear alongside such a fantastic group of women from all walks of life. Not only are there female role models succeeding in established industries like policing , accountancy  and manufacturing, but also women forging their own path with entrepreneurial start-ups  and new companies like Square."

She goes on to say, “Square is a company that spans financial services and technology --- not one, but two traditionally male-dominated industries --- but we have near parity at a management level on gender which is pretty rare. This stuff doesn't happen by accident and it takes all of us - men and women alike - to pull together and address gender inequality in the workplace. There's still a long way to go and it is great to see Management Today highlighting female trailblazers.”

Stephanie Alys is also smashing glass ceilings, and taboos, as she is the co-founder of MysteryVibe, the company who developed the Crescendo, a smart sex toy which adapts to your body and is controlled from your mobile phone. Stephanie is similarly as happy as Sarah, claiming that “being named one of the 35 under 35 inspirational women was a 'pinch me' kind of moment. It was great to be included in a group of amazing women empowering others everywhere to believe in themselves and their passions.”

Stephanie Alys - MysteryVibe

Stephanie is also pleased about the recognition this award has brought her company, she says “it's also fantastic to see that brands promoting sex and intimacy are now being recognised as thought leaders. It makes me so happy to see taboos surrounding the industry being challenged. We built MysteryVibe to encourage liberation and freedom to explore pleasure, so this is a huge step for us.”

When asked what is next for them both, Sarah states, “For me, my career has always been about finding roles that I am passionate about. At Square, we are focused on helping small businesses  thrive - all our executives are fully bought into this vision and this authentic passion for our purpose makes it a great place to work. We work really hard to ensure our employees feel connected to our purpose and I am excited about the potential of our business in the UK, which I am lucky enough to be leading.”

Equally passionate about her vision, Stephanie sees her role as shaping what is ahead for us all. She says “we're about to launch our second product in the next few months. I’m always thinking about the future I want to live in, and how to innovate  experiences that enhance the ways humans connect with each other and with technology.

Alongside changing human experiences, Stephanie is also “busy growing our team, our presence internationally and spreading the message that pleasure is a natural part of human life and should be celebrated as such.”

Sarah is also spreading the message of her company, and it of course helps, that she lives and breathes Square’s ethos. She comments “throughout my career I've always looked for roles with businesses  that have challenges I can solve and where I can add value to the things I care about. We're all going to have to work till we're 70 so we may as well enjoy it!”

Image result for stephanie mysteryvibe

"I’m always thinking about the future I want to live in.”

When asked what piece of advice would they would pass on to the next generation of aspiring women, both Sarah and Stephanie had gems of wisdom to impart. Sarah said “the job I do today didn't exist when I left university, and that's true of many of the other women featured on the list too. The workplace is changing at a pace and my advice to aspiring women is to keep an open mind about what career options may be available to you. The best you can do is to skill yourself up with knowledge and information that will give you the edge. Whatever you want to do, financial literacy  is a must, and something that women often believe is beyond them, which is not true. My degree is in English so if I can understand a P&L, then you can too!”

Similarly acknowledging that things are changing fast, Stephanie encourages women to act now. “There’s never a wrong time to start a business - it’s very easy to keep saying ‘tomorrow'," she says, “but why not today? The world has so much to gain from having more female founders and perspectives. On a more practical level - during my journey I've learned that it's important to keep a financial and temporal cushion to sit on - things will always take longer and cost more than you initially envisage.”

Thank you both, and we look forward to following your careers with great interest!

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