BRITISH DESIGN MEETS ITALIAN ARTISAN

#AwesomeWomen

Bucklesbury founder Edita Macfarlane recently discussed ten myths about women in business for The Telegraph.  As many sense a positive cultural shift, here we meet some #AwesomeWomen who are busting myths and being seen as they ascend to new heights of professional ambition and success:

Gina with her Bucklesbury bag #AwesomeWomen

Gina, CEO - Aviation

Arkansas, USA

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Arielle with her Bucklesbury bag #AwesomeWomen

Arielle, Law Firm Director

New York, USA

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Brenda with her Bucklesbury bag #AwesomeWomen

Brenda, Senior Account Manager

United Kingdom

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Sonia with her Bucklesbury

Sonia, Finance Entrepreneur

United Kingdom

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Even more stories of #AwesomeWomen are being added to this page all of the time.  You can also tag Bucklesbury in your own stories of #AwesomeWomen on social media. 

 

 


Gina, CEO - Aviation, Arkansas, USA

"As a woman in manufacturing I already stand out, and you bet your last dollar that I’m bold!"

 

Gina

I am the CEO of Galley Support Innovations, an Aerospace Design and Manufacturing company. My company designs and manufacturers interior hardware for the aerospace and Marine industries.  We manufacture locks, latches, door handles.  All the things you need to keep your cabinets, doors and drawers closed while traveling by air or boat.  My company is located in Sherwood Arkansas, USA.

I started the business 14 years ago with money I made from a real estate sale.  I bought a product line from a company that was going out of business and I began to produce their product before my company began designing our own products.  It was hard work for many years.  I was more broke than I had ever been, but with determination and hard work we have been successful!  We have had constant growth since 2012. 

I think women are stepping into our power and away from the idea that we have to be fragile.  We have seen the few woman before us inspire us and we are now taking on the boardroom in bigger numbers.  The business world has began to see the value women add when promoted to the highest positions and it is responding. 

My signature accessory color is RED!  I love it because it’s bold and stands out.  As a woman in manufacturing I already stand out, and you bet your last dollar that I’m bold!  As women we put too much thought into what others will think if we wear bright bold accessories.  We need to use that brain power to think about how to advance in our careers and make the world a better place.  Wear what makes you feel powerful and pretty!  They are not mutually exclusive.  Stop wasting time worrying what others are thinking of you.  Use that time to better yourself!  Truth is they are to busy thinking about themselves to think about you anyway. 

I LOVE my Bucklesbury bag.  I get compliments from both men and women on it!  Originally I bought it to travel with, but now I carry it everywhere.  If people are looking for where I am sitting in a meeting or event they look for my Bucklesbury! 

Galley Support Innovations: https://galleysupport.com




Arielle, Law Firm Director, New York, USA

"It is vital now for women to not only be optimistic, but opportunistic, and to seize the opportunities to advance, to be heard, and to be seen"

 

Arielle

I am the Founder and CEO of the social enterprises Shattered Glass Tees and Shattered Glass Corp and Director of Communications and Public Relations for global law firm Paul Hastings.  I work to inspire people to use their voice and words strategically and channel their strengths to make an impact.  I am also a writer and international speaker who is passionate about helping women and girls empower themselves through effective communications, personal branding, confidence training and mindfulness.  

At Paul Hastings, a leading global law firm, I help lawyers communicate effectively, overseeing the firm’s brand-building communications, public relations and related activities for the firm’s 22 offices around the globe.  My entrepreneurial spirit and passion for empowering females led me to start the social enterprises, Shattered Glass Tees and Shattered Glass Corp.  The t-shirt arm of the company helps tomorrow's glass breakers, one bold thread at a time, by selling t-shirts, bags and pillows that challenge gender stereotypes, and fund charities that empower girls.  My work has involved partnering with leading global networks for professional women including Ellevate Network and The Quorum Initiative, in addition to major conference organizations, like Momentum Events.  Through Shattered Glass Corp, I speak and conduct workshops for women and girls on empowerment, branding, communication, confidence and mindfulness. 

There is a tangible shift in our culture.  A brighter light has been cast on the struggles women face professionally and the major gaps that still exist between men and women in the workplace.  There is still a need for significant improvement, but there are an increasing number of companies, countries, corporate boards, event organizers and media outlets that are working to bridge the gender gap.  As a result, women can ascend in their careers more quickly than ever before.  Our path is still littered with obstacles that centuries of sexism have not cleared.  However, there is reason to be optimistic. It is vital now for women to not only be optimistic, but opportunistic, and to seize the opportunities to advance, to be heard, and to be seen. 

I used to conform to the unwritten professional dress code, wearing dark suits paired with dark accessories, but I now feel it’s my duty to rebel.  I want to make the workplace somewhere where everyone feels comfortable being themselves.  An executive leadership coach advised me a couple of years ago to wear what makes me feel comfortable and good about myself.  For me, that meant ditching my boring suits, pearls and black bags for feminine dresses, statement necklaces and colour everywhere.  While I occasionally felt funny being the odd splash of colour in New York’s sea of black and grey, I finally felt that I was being myself.

Being authentic is critical not just for good personal branding, but it saves you energy and allows you to feel more confident.  As more women bravely be themselves in the workplace, I believe the style motif will change.  I see a day soon when I will no longer be a sole splash of colour in New York.  True confidence comes from authenticity.  Women should dress in a way that allows them feel comfortable bringing their true selves to work.  Some women may feel more comfortable wearing a conservative black dress, and I say more power to them.  But I feel my best in bright, fun colours and uber-feminine accessories.  We should all feel comfortable letting our true colours shine. 

I wish I could tell my younger self to accept myself as is.  I was constantly on a quest to be taller and thinner.  So much time and energy was wasted striving to achieve a beauty ideal that was unrealistic.  If only I could have appreciated my attributes I believe I would have been more confident and happier.  I would also love to be able to go back in time to say, “be your own best friend.”  Too often we are our own worst enemies. We talk ourselves out of jobs, opportunities, and dreams.  I’d want to tell my younger self to not be my own barrier to success.  To surround myself with amazing people who make me feel I can accomplish anything.  To give myself the same advice I would give my best friend.  If only I could have told myself that “you can do it” perhaps I would have dreamed even bigger.  

I love my Bucklesbury bag.  I feel like a professional super hero with my bag. It’s the perfect finishing touch to my professional uniform-bright colors, feminine flourishes and modern styles.  The bag makes me feel powerful, accomplished and stylish.   

Shattered Glass Tees: https://shatteredglasstees.com | Paul Hastings: https://www.paulhastings.com | Ellevate Network: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com | The Quorum Initiative: https://www.thequoruminitiative.com




Brenda, Senior Account Manager - Finance, United Kingdom

"When working I love to have something individual that allows me to stand out from the crowd"

 

Brenda

I am a senior key account manager working for a Fintech company in the finance industry. I have 30 years’ experience as Senior Sales, Key Account Manager/Director in client relationship management. My role involves successful retention and growth of portfolios in various sectors, with revenue value of £500m+, including retail, hospitality, gaming, and education. Specifically managing company high end accounts and driving revenue growth. 

 

Women are accelerating up the career ladder. There is a change in attitude and women now have more confidence in putting themselves forward for positions which may have been out of bounds previously. The glass ceiling is being broken and in some industries completely removed. I think it is important to lead the way for others. At an event, I recently attended I heard the phrase ‘send the elevator back down’, which really resonated with me. It is so important with all the obstacles and barriers women face in the professional work setting, that we remember to empower each other. 

 

I spend a lot of time travelling to clients, and have in the past routinely stuck to the unspoken dress code. In fact, I love black, grey and blues. I regularly wear these colours for work, and to be honest I am my most comfortable wearing a suit in dark colours. I am surrounded by men and women in black and grey suits in the workplace and within my client base. However, I like to be an individual, and I think it is important to still be ‘me’, and I love anything which shows off my femininity. I do like to stand out in a crowd and often make my statement with my accessories, either with a bright red shoe, bright scarves and of course with my handbags and laptop cases. I am at my most confident when I wear that one thing that reminds me of myself. 

 

If I could give two bits of advice to my younger self, it would be to be confident in who you are now, live in the presence, you will never be here again or have this experience that you are having now, so experience it, and embrace it with confidence. 

 

I love my Bucklesbury bag and it never fails to get many compliments whenever I carry it.  I get compliments from men and women and everyone loves the colour. If I don’t get a comment I get plenty of approving or envious looks. This brand just fits in with everything I love about standing out and being individual. Thank you Bucklesbury.




Sonia, Finance Entrepreneur, United Kingdom

"I have noticed many more women setting up and running successful finance businesses"

 

Sonia

I am the Founder and Director of a Financial Services business that specialises in advising and arranging mortgages, secured loans and equity release.  Having left University in 1996 with a Business Degree, I worked for various finance companies until 2005, when I set up my own financial advice business.  The finance industry was extremely male dominated when I began my career in 1996.  However over the years, especially in the last decade, I have noticed many more women setting up and running successful finance businesses and many women ascending their careers with employers too.  I believe the change is down to women being more confident to enter into this industry and the industry being far more receptive and supportive than it was two decades ago.

When I designed the logo for my first financial services company in 2005, it had a splash of colour and style, but I was advised that it was not right for the financial business world.  So I ended up with a logo that was reserved, dull and boring, which did nothing to reflect the very different ways that I wanted to operate in the male-dominated sector.  Thankfully financial brands are much more exciting these days, but there is still room for improvement, and I would like to see more individual style, colour and personality in branding across the industry - for it to be more welcome and less cold and masculine - you might even say more feminine!

Confidence comes from within, but I think there is no shame at all in women dressing and accessorising to enhance this feeling of inner confidence.  The appropriate dress and accessories absolutely give women confidence and there is no shame in this, and women's business clothes and accessories are evolving with a lot more choice and style.  We are professional in our respective fields, so why not dress and accessorise to express this professionalism?

If I could give two bits of advice to my younger self, it would be to listen to gut instinct when decision making at key points such as when I designed my company logo, even if it is breaking with traditional norms.  And be more confident to stand out in the crowd as an individual.

My Bucklesbury bags are wonderful.  Not only are they stylish and beautiful but the clever internal design allows me to fit in all the business items that I require plus my personal items, negating the need to carry a handbag.  Since owning a Bucklesbury bag, gone are the days of arriving at meetings with a bulging brief case, laptop tucked under one arm, handbag hanging off the shoulder and documents in hand.  The only issue I have is in deciding which colour to choose for the day!