Speakers Corner Book Club | Influential Women Leading the Way in Business
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the world. For this month’s book club, we decided to read and celebrate some of the influential women in business who are sharing their stories with audiences globally. From entrepreneurs to business leaders, these women forged a career in male dominated industries and are leading the way for future generations.
Our pages this month are filled with insights from speakers including Bianca Miller-Cole, Sahar Hashemi, Farrah Storr and Sarah Wood who share their knowledge of how to thrive and survive in the business world of today.
Abigail| Self Made: The Definitive Guide to Business Start-up Success By Bianca Miller-Cole
Bianca Miller-Coles’s Self Made: The Definitive Guide to Business Start-up Success is an encompassing step-by-step bible for anyone wanting to start their own company and go down the road of entrepreneurship.
Split into 4 distinct sections: The Vision, The Action, The Reaction and The Evolution, this book walks you through the entire process from idea implementation, to setting up the business, and then finally selling. My favourite aspect of the book is how expert insights are cleverly intertwined, bringing context to what is being said and hearing how other successful business leaders have achieved their success and dealt with challenges.
If you were wanting a mentor for your entrepreneur journey, then you can find one within Bianca and Byron’s book. Both inspirational and practical, this book will show you how to overcome any business challenges thrown at you, provide valuable lessons from those who have gone before you, and make sure you’re in the best position to successfully run your company.
“In business, as is life, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so you make mistakes. And, whilst mistakes can be useful learning tools – showing you what not to do and what you should do differently next time - when you are starting a new business with a limited budget, there might not even be a next time, as mistakes can be crippling”.
Adaeze| Start-Up Forever by Sahar Hashemi
Start-Up Forever by Sahar Hashemi explores different avenues to keep a 'start-up culture' in a big company. In a fun and easy to read style, the book focuses on how to tackle the habits that prevent big companies from keeping their entrepreneurial spirit.
Consisting of 10 chapters, each section focuses on a different ‘shift’ that would be beneficial for innovation in a big company. Each shift is backed up with action points which are filled with examples of how to put the ‘shifts’ into motion, qualified with quotes from established business leaders from companies such as Amazon and Dyson. Throughout the book Sahar keeps the underlying tone of making the culture at work ‘more human’ and makes suggestions for how business should operate. One example being that ‘employees should become the customer, to understand what a customer would benefit from’.
The format of the book allows for it to feel very informative but simultaneously still be an easy read. A perfect read for managers trying to encourage innovation or for a company searching for how to incorporate change within and help them become more agile and resilient.
“The solutions I have picked up on my journey are, in fact, strikingly common sense. They are simple shifts in how to approach everyday work with an entrepreneurial mind-set together with day-to-day actions anyone can take."
Dan | The Discomfort Zone by Farrah Storr
Farrah’s book The Discomfort Zone is brilliantly written and easy to digest. I was impressed with the flow of the book and the mixture of really good content mixed with humour and emotion. She uses her story along with other people’s stories to illustrate the importance of stepping outside their comfort zone to achieve greatness. I was in awe of the tough decisions that she had to make to get things done.
She talks in detail about how putting yourself in uncomfortable positions makes you stronger and able to go so much further.
By using examples from the business, sports and entertainment world, this book will appeal to anyone. I also think it is a very nice add-on to any event you have with Farrah.
"Its a funny thing the human brain, it lies. It looks for easy absolutes to create a narrative. a narrative that, if you believe it will paralyze you."
Sophie | Stepping Up: How to Accelerate Your Leadership Potential by Sarah Wood
Sarah’s book, ‘Stepping Up: How to Accelerate Your Leadership Potential’ is a handbook for anyone looking to develop their leadership skills. Whether that is new graduates coming into the workplace or existing managers looking to switch up their style. She asks readers to interrogate what leadership means, and to understand why it is that they want to lead beyond prestige and financial incentives.
The book is split into sections headlined as the 'Five Vs' - Vision, Values, Velocity, Votes, Victories, with exercises and action points throughout that allow readers to actively engage with the lessons the book is imparting, as well as further reading lists and music playlists at the end of each section. There are also useful quotes and insights from both Sarah and other influential business leaders and academics, such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Robert Swannell, and Professor Caroline Wiertz.
With its light and readable style, the book is a useful guide that you can keep returning to throughout your leadership journey, and a useful tool for self-reflection as you develop your career.
"Every leader you now admire was once someone with no experience, setting out on their own journey, taking risks and trying out things they didn't really know how to do."
Whether you’re on an entrepreneurial journey, wanting to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, or maybe you want to throw yourself in the deep-end to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, these stories from some women leading the way in business will inspire you on your journey.
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