JLA’s Rebecca Parker Smith fills us in on her top female business speakers
When this goes to print, (can a blog go to print?) it will be 59 days until my 24th birthday… Not that I’m counting. As such, the immortal lyrics of Britney Spears* – I’m not a girl, not yet a woman – have never seemed more poignant. I feel lucky then, that at this monumental Crossroads in my life, (more Britney – oops! I did it again), that I have found myself working at JLA – a place where I interact with inspirational women and female business speakers on a daily basis. (The Britney references stop here, promise.)
That said; I’m aware that while I work at a speaker bureau and regularly mingle with female business speakers as part of my job, our clients do not…. So, they may be more inclined to lean towards businessmen. It’s not their fault; it’s the patriarchy. But – in the spirit of equality – I’ve decided to give you a brief run down of three female business speakers who I think fare just as well, if not better, than their male counterparts.
I’ll start with Jo Malone – not only because I am addicted to her Pomegranate Noir fragrance (you should try it) – but mainly since her story is incredible. Jo left school at fourteen to care for her mother and since then has risen to become one of the leading people (emphasis on people e.g. male or female… I’m all for equality) in the beauty industry. It’s hard not to be inspired by Jo – and as a self-confessed fragrance addict – I can do nothing but admire a woman who was at the helm of Estee Lauder for six years and still dominates the Selfridges beauty floor. That she stresses the importance of being grounded in her speeches, is just another reason why Jo is one female business speaker you cannot overlook.
Jo Fairley is another incredible woman I aspire to – how could you not when she co-founded the wonder product that is Green & Black’s organic chocolate, a brand now worth almost £100million worldwide. Not satisfied with world chocolate domination, Jo is also the coauthor of The Beauty Bible (you might start to see a theme in my interests…) and Feel Fabulous Forever, as well as having featured in The Times, Elle, and Marie Claire to name but a few. What makes Jo such a great female business speaker, is she demonstrates not just how successful she is, but why – it takes a female brain to know one, and Jo both knows her consumers and just how powerful branding can be.
Breaking away from the theme of fantastic women called Jo, Mary Portas is my final female business speaker who proves you don’t need to wear a suit to be successful. Mary has been creative director of Harvey Nichols, and in 1997 launched her own creative agency, Yellowdoor. She’s also the Global Retail Ambassador for Save the Children and was nominated for two Royal Television Awards and a BAFTA for her BBC2 show, Mary Queen of Shops (and trust me, she is.) Why does this make her such a great speaker? Well, if it isn’t already obvious by her tremendous success, Mary has an exceptional understanding of consumer behaviour and its ever-changing nature in a fluctuating economic climate.
These are but three of the powerfully inspiring female business speakers we work with here at JLA – so I’d recommend that next time you’re looking for a motivational speaker for your event, you look beyond the man in the suit.
Anyway, I’m now off to eat a bar of organic dark chocolate, soaking in a bath of orange blossom whilst I watch Secret Shopper. I may also throw in some anti-aging cream to the mix – there is, after all, only 8 weeks and 3 days until I’m 24. Not that I’m counting.
* I would just like to clarify now that much to my protestation, JLA does not currently work with Brit.