People Want Companies to do Good – that requires Transformational Leadership


Speaking at the Leaders Club event at Kent Business School, Linda Minnis, seen here (right) with Gina Lazenby, talked about how business is shifting with more organisations taking on responsibility for social change and using their global reach for good. Drawing on the long legacy of the chocolate barons’ foundations, todays’ younger generations are pushing their employers to take on and do more to close the global wealth gap.

Linda’s talk was captured on Facebook Live. Click here to watch

The Leaders Club co-hosted a special event on transformational leadership with the University of Kent Business School in Canterbury in May. The first of two speakers was Linda Minnis, Chief Executive of the Charities Trust, and a founder member of The Leaders Club.

The event was recorded on Facebook Live and is available to view at this link.

The World Needs Responsible Business

Linda started by highlighting the need for responsible business and said that this was not something that could simply be bolted on to an organisation, almost like an extra department but it had to be at the very heart of the operation for it to have any real meaning and impact. She gave examples of the inspiration and vision that many companies were bringing to their giving programs by leveraging their resources and creating alliances that were having real impact in the world. Big business has a big capacity to make big change in the world.

Global Goals Provide a Ready Template for Visionary Businesses

Linda talked about the Sustainable Development Goals otherwise known as the Global Goals, which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.  These 17 goals were launched by the United Nations in January 2016.  Adopted by 170 countries, they contain 169 individual goals inside the 17 categories and represent one of the most ambitious programs in human history to create massive change. For companies and organisations seeking to make a difference in the world, there are plenty of opportunities for them to align their resources and vision. 

People Want Companies to do Good

Linda said there is a definite business case for doing this. A Nielsen study in 60 countries showed that 55% of online customers would pay more for goods and services supplied by organisations who demonstrated a commitment to positive social change and environmental impact.

71% of the world’s population live on less than $10 per day and the only way to make a significant increase in people’s prosperity, globally, would be for civil society, government and corporations to make alliances and use their combined powers to create change. One such initiative, the Global Vaccine Alliance has managed to prevent 9 million deaths though immunisation. Acting with other agencies, the private sector has enormous power that can be harnessed with the right vision.

Good Business has a Long History in the UK

The question is how to engage fully and provide the necessary leadership for projects of real transformation? Linda pointed out that in the UK we have a long history of business leaders doing good things. Joseph Rowntree established a foundation over 100 years to provide housing for employees, and this continues today to seek to understand the root cause of social problems.  The Cadbury Foundation also supported their employees and communities with housing. Today, Comic Relief is an example of successfully influencing the face of fundraising by making things fun to do while the organisation focusses on how to spend the money. 

UK private giving is an incredible £20 billion per annum, £12 billion of which still comes from individual giving and Trusts like the Wellcome Foundation, with money continuing to come in from foundation investments set up decades ago.  

How do we engage the business community of today?

Linda was involved in research five years ago that showed 4 key predictions about companies and giving. We can see now much of this starting to happen:

1 Commercialisation – Giving and Doing Good will be Woven into Business Planning

Companies will seek long term profits from their corporate giving. Community programs will be set up to deliver commercial value as well as meeting social needs. Their activities will be aligned with something meaningful. Corporate giving will continue but perhaps within the framework of for-profit ventures. The future is more Win-Win-Win-Win. HSBC is an example of a company investing tens of millions into social investment because they see it pays a greater return.

The social investment market is quite new but it is now worth about £2 billion across 4000 investments. Doing good is not just right it is profitable too.

2 Innovation Unleashed Make it Easy, Fast and Painless for People to Give

New technology, innovative channels and interactive media, will cause an explosion in ground-breaking new practices. Digital technology will allow for real time tracking of impact and will allow giving to fit around busy lives. online volunteering by employees supporting digital causes will become more prominent. Look at JustGiving who raise half a billion a year. Make it easy for people to swipe their card at an event and give quickly.

3 Collaborative Coalitions Rise Above Competition for the Greater Good

Large scale multi stakeholder coalitions will harness collective skills and drive transformational change. Corporate giving  will build loyal and effective working relationships between customers, suppliers, not-for-profit and government agencies. Collaborations including those with competitors will amplify impact and a philosophy of social action will emerge. Bigger businesses are going to be bigger stakeholders in fixing the world. The setting aside of competitive differences will benefit all organisations in terms of enhanced reputation. An example is a £25 million alliance of Tesco and the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK to tackle major health issues.

4 Cause Related Movements Campaigns become Exciting and Energised into Movements

Billions of customers will be mobilised to give up their time, second hand items and their fresh ideas for social campaigning.  Companies will facilitate large scale donations through movement fund-raising, and will create a truly engaging consumer experience around causes.  

Take on Causes that Excite the Employees

The Charities Trust, started from Littlewoods, is now 30 years old and administers £100 million of giving for 1000 clients, an amount that has trebled in the last eight years, a big achievement for the charitable sector.  Many of her clients lead the way in employee engagement to support communities that are dear to the staff, and not just the organisation itself.  Previously it was all about what the company was going to do … now, it is about the employees deciding and the company supporting that. It helps employee retainment and turns staff into good leaders. 

The Charities Trust works with the Costa Foundation which has supported 72 schools in nine countries, and not all in places where they trade. The Trust has also worked with Big Issue Invest who raised £50 million in the last five years to support the homeless agenda, attracting institutional investors and philanthropists.  Clients like Nandos might just sell chicken but they also really care about people dying where they source their chicken, particularly of malaria.

A New Philanthropy is Emerging

The next generation of philanthropists will emerge from these young companies and their younger demographic. 

For more details of other events hosted by the Leaders Club visit the site here.

See the next post for …… the second speaker was Linda Crompton, an alumni of the Business School’s first MBA program.  Linda was the first woman to head a bank in North America and also to lead a bank that  pioneered responsible investment principles.   Now she is a leader in gender equality as the CEO and President of Leadership Women, the largest of its kind in the USA………

Wise Leadership Dinner in San Francisco




Wise Leadership will come from a joint venture of the sexes to transform leadership in the 2020s

A special event in San Francisco brought together consultants and entrepreneurs from three continents during the international Wisdom 2.0 Summit in February. The dialogue was about “Wise Leadership in the 21st Century and the contribution of women and men in an era shifting towards the feminine.”  Thirty five leaders attended the event which was hosted by a delegation of four women from Europe, all founding members from ‘The Network for Transformational Leaders’. Their work connects them with leaders around the globe and each had come from countries where their Prime Ministers are women: Iceland, Germany and the UK.  That link led to the enquiry on how leadership styles might be shifting in a changing world.

Round table discussions were set up over dinner with one question about leadership on each table. There was an animated dialogue throughout the evening culminating in each  table sharing insights gleaned.  The questions provoked discussion on what made leaders wise,  how values are shifting in leadership and the kind of leadership that will be required to lead humanity into the future and navigate the massive waves of change that are affecting every aspect of society over the next decade.

When the group looked at what kind of future we wanted and what the world needs as it transitions over the next decade, the discussion pulled together a list of characteristics and qualities which were mostly deemed to represent the feminine aspect of human nature.  Even if women are not the leaders, these qualities are what men and women will need to exhibit.

  • The ability to be open, receptive and listen, particularly paying attention to all voices so that everyone feels heard was high on all lists.
  • The need to show genuine fairness and bring people together, being adept at growing relationships and building community.
  • There is a sense that the future holds even greater complexity so a shared and diverse approach to problem solving will be our only chance of finding our way into potential solutions.
  • That complexity is going to require an ability to think holistically and to really create an integrated approach so that we avoid many of the unintended consequences we see happening today as a bi-product of the advances made in technology.
  • Emotional intelligence will be what sustains successful leaders and will therefore have a much higher priority than the task achievements accumulated on a cv. Character over curriculum.
  • Gone will be the action hero archetype to be replaced by an individual whose strength is measured by their ability to be vulnerable, admit their mistakes and be open to learning new approaches.
  • Ability to slow down: Being able to adjust speeds and valuing the need for pacing and slowing down. Fast-pacing is a highly prized modality but it not only risks mistakes, it can lead to burn-out. Being more measured and understanding the power of pausing will be the sign of a sustainable leader.
  • Keeping back the ego .. the new mantra is less about “me” and more about “we”.
  • More heart-centred: Learning to think and operate from the heart as well as the head.

During the discussion somebody quipped that it was going to be difficult to find individuals who have all of these qualities and who would be prepared to take on leadership in critical times. Co-host Gina Lazenby responded  “The idea that people are waiting for rare and capable individuals to step into high-ranking positions is in itself an old paradigm idea. 

Yes we will always need great leaders who lead teams, groups and movements but the nature of leadership itself is changing. What is emerging now is the need for everyone to step into their own leadership capacities and find these qualities within so they can bring them to the fore. More and more of us will have our leadership moment.”

Runa Magnus, the co-host from Iceland said that “The cross cultural discussions from this evening show a universal desire for a leadership with very different values to what has been normal practice but they are still all human values. In the future will need to draw on different capacities that may have been dormant and in this respect, perhaps women will be leading the way”.

Both Runa and co-host Gina Lazenby from the UK gave insights into the leadership styles of the high profile European female leaders. Gina spoke of the challenges facing the British prime minister Theresa May who swept into the vacuum left after the Brexit vote debacle with a massive mandate for massive change. Although she had many good ideas for decreasing the inequality in the country, somewhere along the line she listened to the wrong advice and called a snap general election which unexpectedly removed her majority.  Now she finds herself in the difficult position of being a negotiator and less of a visionary.  It is difficult too judge how well she is doing in the job since nobody wants to take on this poisoned chalice of Brexit.

On the other hand, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a rare leader who is revered by her peers across the world and held in high esteem in her own country. She has also shown a pragmatic ability to change, setting aside her own personal beliefs, in the case of marriage equality, and allowing legislation through as she felt it served the greater good.  Despite her conservative stance and approach, she has also kept the Left and Right happy. Few leaders in history manage that. Runa spoke of the newly elected Prime Minster of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, a mother of three who, even though she is a champion of left green politics managed to create a coalition with the far right party. Says Runa, “These kind of convening skills of bringing differing groups together are going to be a necessary leadership skill as we move away from either/or polarised politics of the left and right. There are more voices that need to be heard and brought together and these women leaders are showing great listening skills in finding common ground.”

There is no argument that a new type of leader is needed if humanity is to evolve, move forward and reach our true potential.  Few employees would want to spend more time at work and even fewer want to work longer hours.  Despite our advances in technology, medicine, education and communication; unhappiness, internal discontent and psychological exhaustion is the norm.

Our work, our research, our workshops have uncovered the need for a revolutionary kind of leadership.  We welcome you to join us in an adventure of courage.  A call to transform our old paradigm.  Women and men have done it in the past.  What can we do as “one” and “together?”

The event was co-hosted by Gina Lazenby, Runa Magnus, Shay Allie and Monique Blokyl, and supported by Benjamin Maurice and Brooks Cole, also from the Network for Transformational Leaders.

Wise Leadership Dinner

Each table gave feedback on their discussions



Being a Woman is a Serious Business

Being a Woman is a Serious Business

The fact that continues to emerge is how much the world is changing and consequently how much business has to play catch up. Where do women fit in and how can feminine values come in, answer questions and solve problems? On last week’s episode of The Rise of the Feminine, a special feature from the WIN conference in Rome, we learned about the serious business of being a woman and the impact of women stepping into the big decisions of the corporate world.


Radio Guests Susan Schachterle, Keith Coats, Prof Nigel Nicholson and Dr Kaouthar Darmoni

Susan Schachterle – Women are not Aware of their Power

  • Women so often don’t even recognize that they carry power. They are conditioned to think of power in terms of how men demonstrate power but women carry a depth of wisdom and power that creates the foundation for any kind of success in business.
  • Women tend to be conditioned to think of power in terms of giant business deals or being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, very masculine power without beginning to realize that there is nothing weak about connecting, creating relationships and alliances and collaborating. There’s nothing weak about compassion, empathy and nurturing.

Gina Lazenby with Susan Schachterle in Rome, Italy, at the WIN conference

Keith Coats – Women are Natural for Tomorrow’s Leadership & They Can Ask the Right Questions

  • The emerging next economy is referred to as the connection economy or relation economy and this is going to be the first context that doesn’t only not prejudice women in leadership but favors women in leadership.
  • When you look at what it’s going to take to lead in the connection economy, it hinges on the ability to relate, to go over the far more instinctive feel, to have a lot of dexterity. Women generally have a far higher intuitive sense and ability in those areas.
  • One of the biggest challenges facing business is that it’s an understanding that strategy is no longer the leading jab or the driver, it has to be around culture.
  • If you’re talking about an adaptive organization, it’s not a strategic response, it’s a cultural response. When you look at what the ingredients of culture are that make up the business model, women are better equipped to lead in that domain.
  • Smart leaders today are leaders who frame great questions. Again, women are just more comfortable in that, of not needing to have the answers but are of hosting questions, of getting participants to discuss and share opinions. This is really important in politics but especially in corporations today.

Nigel Nicholson – When Women are Given the Choice to Lead, Some are Choosing Not To

  • The way we’ve created and structured the concept of leadership within organizational structures looks pretty poisonous to a lot of women who have leadership capability.
  • Women think they might have to forfeit their personal life, exercise remote authority, or work in a rule based performance driven culture that is always focusing on achievement and tasks of individuals and the like of teamwork and all these other things.
  • What women bring to the table is flexibility and adaptive leadership. It means you don’t try to be a man or a woman for all seasons but you’re ready to do what’s needed or to find somebody else who will do what you can’t do to make sure that the right things happen for the good of the common wealth.

Dr Kaouthar Darmoni – Reframing our Understanding of the Female Body

  • Women don’t dare to use to use their breasts because we think it’s sexual but men use it very well. When they want to be macho, they raise with their chest. Women should do the same as well, it’s a natural expression.
  • What happened in Western society which is very sad, is we internalized this male gaze on the female body. A male gaze which is also has been completely distorted by the culture of pornification. The body is important, not only to desexualize it but also to depornify it.
  • In these spaces, in my culture where come from where we are completely amongst women, we have this pure way of celebrating the female body in its most purest beautiful form as it is.

Listen to the full episode.

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Tune into The Rise of the Feminine every Monday at 9am PST/5pm London on Voice America. 




50 Shades of Men

It’s safe to say and we can all agree, that just as all women are not all the same, men are not either. In this episode Gina Lazenby spoke with three men who discussed masculinity, and the many different shades of this takes.


We already heard on the Rise of the Feminine Radio two weeks ago from Jim Myers, author of The Future of Men, that young men in particular are struggling with finding their way to adulthood while more young women are increasingly focused on their education, achievements and planning a well-paid career. They see a relationship as a distraction that can hold them back, so relationships are less of a priority in their 20s.(Listen to that episode here).

That’s one perspective on what’s happening with young men while many older men, particularly white males, can be feeling the squeeze as organisations try to make space for women leaders and people of different ethnic backgrounds. In this episode Gina referred to author Dr Roy Baumeister who says in his book Is There Anything Good About Men, that it is currently taboo to speak good about men. “To be sure, men still outnumber women as top achievers in some domains. Does that mean that in some respects men are better than women? Hardly. We have all been taught to dismiss superior male achievement as evidence of prejudice and oppression.”

The rise of the feminine is about the ascension of women and the increasing values BUT it must not be a movement that puts men down. It is about the rise of women, about finding the feminine within all of us, and for men to connect with their feelings and emotional expression. 

Kenny D’Cruz, the Man Whisperer, says that men are asking “where are all the women?” Women can very much resonate with this as this is a question on many single women’s lips.

Kenny says that men are likely to find a relationship if they become a “man” and not a boy who, he says, are not looking for a real woman. Being a man is more about a life stage than an age and becoming a man involves a process of self-awareness and growth, something that can be done alone, but is more effective by the support of good role models and even attending an increasing number of men’s groups.

David Brower reflects on French masculinity. While sexism still exists in France as it does in many countries, David observed that the French culture and appreciation of beauty, arts and cuisine was a way that helped to get French men out of their heads and to open up their hearts.

Secondly David noticed that expressing an opinion was much more acceptable than in his native America where David felt the restriction of black or white view viewpoints. In France there is more openness to expressing and hearing the many shades of grey in between.

As the father of three boys, Nick Haines valued giving his son is a good grounding in Emotional Intelligence, giving them permission to feel and express as wide a range of emotions as they wanted without feeling inhibited by any old sense of what a man “should” do or show.

In Nick’s household the roles of parenting were flexible so both parents were taking on the roles of breadwinner and carer together. This modeled an adult life that will not confine his sons to feeling pressured to perform to a stereotype but be free to create any household or relationship dynamic that they chose.

LISTEN to this episode.

Download Transcripts of the full interviews: Kenny D’Cruz, David Brower and Nicholas Haines.

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Tune into The Rise of the Feminine every Monday on Voice America 9am PST/5pm London

Huge Shifts are Disrupting the Balance of Relationships


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The Rise of the Feminine radio series has touched many corners of society and few areas have shown as much evidence of disruption as the realm of relationships. They are a central part of the human experience, so they are ground zero for the results of cultural influences and changes. How has the increase in opportunities for women affected loving relationships?In this week’s episode of The Rise of the Feminine, Gina Lazenby discussed the status of modern relationships in three age groups with my three experts in the USA and UK. These are some of the insights that came to light.


  • Susie Heath
    – one of UK’s leading intimacy experts speaking about Later Life Relationships
    •Women over 50, experience a child-free life for the first time in decades and breathes new life in them. They have more choices than their mothers and grandmothers before them and they take advantage of them professionally and socially.
    •Their partners on the other hand are ready to slow down and that puts pressure on the relationship. Men have to find their masculine energy to keep up and the relationship requires a revival.
    “Men are looking forward to a relaxing time and being on cruises or just golfing and the women are raring to go do something different.”

    Download a transcript of the full interview.

    Renee Piane
    – one of the USA’s top dating experts speaking about Wonderwomen – successful in business but still single
    “Where are all them men?” the women ask! Women have been so busy, focussed on success, taking on a masculine drive to excel …. this has made it a challenge for finding a relationship.  Slow down, change the pace and make space to accommodate a mate.
    •Women have to treat and nurture their own hearts to be able to align that masculine drive with the feminine nurturer that lies hidden within them. It’s the feminine softness, in addition to accomplishments, that men want women to bring to the relationship.
    “I’m here to say, you need to be able to switch off your wonder woman and tune into that feminine energy that men are dynamically attracted to.”

    “I’m here to say, you need to be able to switch off your wonder woman and tune into that feminine energy that men are dynamically attracted to.”
    Download a transcript of the full interview.

    Jack Myers
    – award-winning cultural visionary, speaking on the under 25s, a new generation of well educated girls and an emerging generation of lost boys
    •The modern woman has been handed the keys to the business world and she’s less interested in finding that special relationship. Relationships are now part of the career plan and young women take that decision more seriously because they don’t want a mate who might hold them back professionally.
    •Women lean on a strong network of other women and that has made their rise possible. All these connections were forged over a century of the women’s movement. Men aren’t keeping up because they don’t have access to male gatherings and discussions and the ‘old boys network’ that served their fathers is not for them.
    “Women are finding it much more difficult to find their educational equal and it’s more important to them than it was to men a couple of decades ago, to find to do so.”

    Download a transcript of the full interview.

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Feminine Wisdom: The World is Not Seeing Something it Needs

1. Feminine Wisdom is Missing from Our Vocabulary 

Feminine wisdom is not something we talk about, it doesn’t exist in our vocabulary and as a result so much of its value is missing from out everyday conversation. Karen Buckley says “I did an online search for wisdom and I discovered that most of the quotes are by men. Then I looked at wisdom in Wikipedia, the photographs are all of men. Old men with white beards. At that time, nobody was young and no women.” Using this as a reference, it’s clear that it’s a subject that remains unknown, even where it’s most necessary.

2. There are Virtually No References for Wise Women

In dictionaries wise women are described as “knowledgeable in matters such as herbal healing, magic charms or other traditional lore.” Even HM Queen Elizabeth, after celebrating her 90th birthday and a 60 year reign, isn’t referred to as a wise woman. Throughout the decades she has interacted with 13 Prime Ministers which has given her a supreme wisdom we don’t talk about. There just isn’t enough of an understanding of what makes a woman wise.

3. Feminine Wisdom is not Valued in Business, but it IS Needed

Business has so far not realized the benefits of feminine wisdom, but new ways of thinking and operating in an increasing number of companies have made an impact by starting to learn from feminine wisdom. This wisdom is incredibly necessary if we consider the needs of the modern individual. According to Leadership consultant Karen Wilhelm Buckley and Thought Leader in Gender Mentoring Betty-Ann Heggie;

  • Feminine wisdom is the blend of the external experience, competency, knowledge and deep inner knowing. It is demonstrated through applied empathy. It’s a quality that allows leaders to perform a service in conjunction with relationship.
  • It takes into account the emotional needs of the clients as well as the tactical or business needs.
  • In business, it takes into account the kinds of ripples of consequences that might be missed if an organisation was only looking through a tactical lens.
  • Feminine energy value systems, tend to be a lot more about the collective and a lot less about the individual.

4. The Reflective Nature of Feminine Wisdom is Necessary

Masculine styles of leadership tend to emphasize quick action over the silence and slower pace of reflection. Feminine wisdom finds answers and solutions by looking inward first and relying on our internal capacity when it comes to making decisions. In the wake of the Brexit resignations, newly appointed Prime Minister Theresa May has decided to take her time to make wise decisions by relying on internal reflection, as well as carefully and slowly looking at the data. She has been bringing her feminine wisdom into situations that have been forcing her to rush towards fast decision-making. Instead,  she has had the courage to step away, slow down, so she can make the best decisions.

5. Feminine Wisdom has a Language for the Internal Experience

Feminine leadership is all about having the courage to take the journey to find the authentic self. It trusts what comes from within and it’s less reliant on external voices and influences. Feminine Leadership Coach, Nyali Muir says, “the feminine is really about identifying and owning what’s going on inside and having a language brought in a landscape and our inner experiences. In the hyper-masculine world which we live, we’re so focused on the external and we have very little language and intelligence for our internal experience.

Karen Wilhelm Buckley, Betty Ann Heggie and Nyali Muir were guest contributors on the Rise of the Feminine radio show on Monday September 12th, 2016. Listen here.

Transcripts of the Interviews are Available for Download

Download the transcript of Karen’s interview.

Download the transcript of Betty-Ann’s interview.

Download the transcript of Nyali’s interview.

Episode 6 Coming up next Monday on Feminine Wisdom!


I am really enjoying the conversations that I am having with a variety of experts and leaders. And I hope you agree, if you’ve had chance to listen to any of the shows, that the discussions are really interesting. This radio series is giving me wonderful opportunities to meet fascinating new people and reconnect with good friends who I might have interviewed in the past for my blogs. That would include Karen Buckley who I met in San Francisco in 2009 and since then we have co-hosted many women’s gatherings in the city and Marin County.

On my next show I reconnected with Karen to talk about feminine wisdom. (I did an interview with her way back in 2010, here, when I called in to her house one Saturday morning when both of us couldn’t be bothered to put on our normal camera make-up … keeping’ it real LOL!) Anyway, we have recently been discussing the impact of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign…. how well-behaved women rarely make history and I’m going to ask Karen to talk about how the wisdom of women is so invisible.

The Country Report for this episode on Monday will be from Canada where I tracked down the brilliant Betty Ann Heggie, literally through an inspired Google search. She is one of the top 100 women of influence in Canada and I’m asking her what makes her country different and how the more feminine values are shaping her nation. I was particularly impressed when he new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, immediately create a 50/50 gender balanced cabinet on coming into office last year. Instead of talking about change needing to happen in the future (like the UK’s David Cameron, he just went ahead and did it!).

Lastly I am reconnecting with the lovely leadership coach Nyali Muir. Nyali has attended many of the women’s gatherings that I used to host in my London home and she’s always brought great wisdom to our evenings. I’m going to ask her about her individual journey, the wisdom she has learnt and what led her to coaching the Kenyan Olympics team.

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Helen Walbey: A Beacon of Feminine Leadership in a Male-Dominated Field


A woman working and running a business in a male-dominated field is usually met with the expectation that she has to take on masculine leadership traits and prove herself to be “one of the boys” to succeed. Founder and owner of Recycle Scooters believes in the power of feminine leadership and she has instilled those values in the operations and culture of her business. She has found that this adds value to her business and gets the best out of every member of the team.

She Invests in Relationships with People

“I do business differently.  I am much happier to pay someone perhaps a little bit more rather than get the absolute cut-throat deal to be able to establish a good relationship with them.”

She Builds a Positive Bond

“A lot of the time it is just about touching base, finding out how their business is going, saying hi, and that establishes that positive bond and instead of doing that very male, “what are you going to do for me / what am I going to do for you?” It’s about that much more feminine idea of building those bridges and establishing those links.”

She Respects Family

“My office administrator is a single mum and I have had her poorly kids in work all tucked up under a duvet because they were ill and she wanted to come in to work so we made a place in the unit that is safe where they can go and we have had the kids come in after school because there wasn’t anyone to look after them. It’s about finding that balance. Now if I was stereotypical I probably wouldn’t be prepared to do that but it is about understanding that if I give the best I can to my employees, I get the best that my employees can give.”

She Values People and Thinks of the Whole Person

“If you have one unhappy cog, then none of the rest of the cogs are going to work as well so even if you take away all of the holistic side, even if you take away all of the feminine principle side, and you just want to be ruthless about it, financially it makes much more common sense for me to look after my staff in an appropriate way because it means my business is going to run more efficiently.”


The Opportunities Soft Power Presents for Women

Soft power isn’t a new concept, but with the changes society has faced in the last two decades – it has taken on a different form. Soft Power has become a necessary solution to global conflict and a crucial skill in sales and business. As it garners more interest, women are presented with an opportunity to thrive, because soft power is so closely in line with the way we naturally interact with the world and make an impact.


Women are driven by connectivity and empathy. These fit right in with the definition of soft power. Hard power, on the other hand leans on a level of disconnect and distance. Sympathy and empathy are considered to be more feminine qualities because they require an emotional connection. Innately, women seek emotional connection and a sense of community. Indra Adnan says, “right from an early age, young women start to depend on relationships as the thing that they need to cultivate to have influence rather than hard power.” We’re taught to engage with the world and other people, seeking an exchange of understanding and a mutual openness which serve what we aim to get out of our lives socially and professionally.

Sales and marketing have shifted away from the “sell, sell, sell” model, towards a culture of building relationships and encouraging dialogue. Deals aren’t closed at the very first interaction – both sides have to understand each other and build trust. This is impossible in a culture that’s driven by numbers, as masculine leadership tends to be. Soft power is built on sharing values and focusing more on the personal – so names over numbers prevail in within that field.

When you move into soft power you’re opening dialogue and creating what Adnan calls a “corridor of influence” where the need for mutual benefit guides the actions taken. This becomes necessary when the world faces conflicts and issues that need a special grasp to produce lasting solutions. Soft power is the ability to solve problems without using force and rather relying on open dialogue. It’s taking a diplomatic route before a military action, choosing to use the power of conversation before taking a hard-handed approach. The benefit of this? It creates solutions with lasting positive impacts. Dropping a bomb can solve the immediate problem but the devastation that it would leave behind would make that victory hollow. Taking a soft power approach means connecting with that community and finding a solution that still puts their needs at the top of the lost of priorities.

Soft power also depends on openness and self-understanding. It’s being so comfortable in your individuality that you can be open to someone else’s. Openness is the beginning of successful dialogue and conversation. Women are able to achieve openness by understanding the value of learning from someone else. We’re open because it’s necessary if we want to build strong and lasting relationships and because people are more likely to share their humanity with us in a positive space, where they feel heard and valued.

Rise of the Feminine Episode 5 Radio: Gender Economics and Feminine Vision to Action

Next week Monday, we take a look at Gender Economics, the contributions to society made by women, and the role that international policy-making organisations play in the process between vision and action.

Gina Lazenby’s first guest is lecturer and international public speaker Africa Zanella. She is also the CEO and founder of the Centre for Sustainability and Gender Economics. Her passion is sustainability, gender equality and its connection to economic growth. She’s based in Spain but works all over the world developing programs, and implementing change that supports sustainable growth that positively  impacts women. She’s also a member of the Green Learning Economy and is involved with Climate change and G20 expert review committees.

The Country Report takes us to Cape Town, South Africa where we meet Madelein Mkunu and hear about how visionary women are stepping forward with initiatives to rebuild the country. We’ll discover that women’s contribution to uplifting the continent is so much more about buildings than it is about bangles and beads.

Finally the One Woman feature is on grandmother and retired guesthouse owner, Valerie Humphreys. She returned from an adventure holiday with an unexpected project – sponsoring a porter in Uganda in his quest to be a medical doctor.

Our guests reveal the important strides women are making to empower communities and the important economic contributions their initiatives and organisations are making. It’s inspiring to see this leadership in action and hear the stories of these real life heroines! Don’t miss this episode this Monday 9am PST/5pm BST. You can tune in on VoiceAmerica or listen to the podcast on iTunes. In the meantime, join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or email