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Gemma Godfrey's Take on Women in Business

11th March 2014

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Gemma Godfrey is a woman who knows how to succeed in a man’s world.

From physics to finance and finally the boardroom, Gemma is responsible for £6 billion of assets and was voted the most popular businesswoman on Twitter. Selected by the BBC as one of the Top 100 Women "striving to make the world a better place", and a new mother, Gemma shares her experience.. 

Knowledge is power. Understanding the character of others gives you the power to influence them.

I remember interviewing the CEO of a multinational corporation. I wanted to get to grips with his business in order to decide whether or not to buy its shares. As I entered the room, I saw him sit back and relax. He assumed I was someone who wouldn’t give him a hard time and therefore this would be an easy meeting.

But there is power in being underestimated.

How I reacted made all the difference. I turned it to my advantage. Instead of worrying about myself, I realised this was his ‘wishful thinking’. He’d had a tough morning of confrontational meetings and continuing in this way would get me nowhere.

Instead, I understood he was craving some company. By using a more conversational tone, his defences came down and I learned more from that meeting than many investors do over years.

Of course, there are many times where the opposite is true.

I’ve been in the boardroom with people whose friendly exterior has, with a second look, revealed complacency and a craving to be challenged.

To play the game, understand the rules. To win, understand the players.

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