Powerful, inspirational leaders: Celebrating women in business

IN: Business news

To celebrate the Women in Business Conference 2015, Aldermore pick out some of the most inspirational women in business to make the ultimate dinner party guest list.

Each year, the Institute of Directors hosts the Women in Business Conference, an interactive event which features Q&A sessions and panel discussions with a variety of influential and inspirational businesswomen. The event provides a unique opportunity for women to network and build connections with successful women from all industries, while also gaining valuable business insight.

To celebrate the 9th year of the conference, Aldermore picks out a few inspirational women in business and plan the ultimate dinner party. Let us know which women you’d invite to your dinner party on Twitter.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is best known as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Pulitzer Prize winning news website, The Huffington Post, but is also an author, syndicated columnist, radio host and public speaker. Arianna’s life was not all successes, however, with her second book being rejected by 36 different publishers. She has always been vocal about not letting past failures define your future.

Speaking about how she was inspired by her mother from an early age, she commented: “The feeling she brought me and my sister up on was: try, whatever it is; failure is not the opposite of success but a stepping stone to success.”

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour, who was recently ranked number 28 on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list, also overcame her fair share of setbacks in her early career. She was fired after nine months as fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar, but later went on to become editor-in-chief of Vogue - a position she has held since 1988.

Commenting on the importance of finding the right employees, she said: “I’m much more of a believer in finding a great team of people and trusting them to follow their instincts. They work better when they feel they have freedom and are trusted.”

Emma Watson

Emma Watson rose to fame after being cast as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. Outside of her acting work, Emma has modelled in campaigns for Burberry and Lancôme and helped create a clothing line for People Tree, a fair trade fashion brand. In 2014, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the HeForShe campaign, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.

Speaking at the UN, Emma said: "Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals."

Michelle Mone

After leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, Michelle Mone went on to found lingerie company Ultimo, as well as fake-tanning brand UTan. Michelle received an OBE in 2010, and in 2015 was invited by Downing Street to lead a government review into entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Speaking about her recent appointment, Michelle commented: “My philosophy is that it does not matter where you are from, what education you have, or if you are from an affluent background or not. You can make it if you work hard, set your goals and never give up.”

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook, bestselling author and vocal activist for gender equality at home and work. After four years as COO of Facebook, in 2012 Sheryl was elected to the board of directors, making her the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board.

Discussing leadership techniques, Sheryl commented: "Leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression. Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place."

Which inspirational women would you invite to your ultimate dinner party? Let us know via Twitter.

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