International Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating the female powerhouses behind successful businesses 

As we approach International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we reflect on the contributions, progress and challenges of women around the world. In light of this, we’ve heard from some of the leading female entrepreneurs behind some of the most successful businesses today.

Due to their incredible work ethic and resilience these inspirational women have overcome gender challenges and climbed up the ranks in a variety of different industries that have been long dominated by men.

Emily Prince

Emily Prince is the Marketing Manager for Peperami, she has over six years of retail experience and eight years working in the fast-moving consumer goods industry and has been the driving force behind Peperami’s recent success. 

Peperami remains the UK’s no.1 chilled meat snacking brand. becoming a £100 million brand Growing over 80% over the last 5 years, and over 11% in the latest year,the brand’s continued success led to over £113 million in sales for 2022 alone. 

Emily explains: “I have faced many challenges throughout my career, but a couple of them really stand out as make-or-break moments in my path.  One of the most remarkable challenges was when the Gender Pay Gap report made the headlines nearly 10 years ago. I had the same responsibilities as (male) colleagues, but had to settle for a lower job description and salary. I was expected to do more! 

“As the topic was gaining real momentum in the media, I challenged our HR department to release the figures for our company, which didn’t go down too well and didn’t help me get a fair description of my role or salary.”

Emily continued to share that the career challenges she faced r made her “more resilient”. She explained, “I am lucky to now work in a company where women and men in senior leadership positions are true role models when it comes to playing the balancing act of work and family.”

The inspiring entrepreneur offered advice to young inspiring business leaders: She states, “My main advice would be to be real, be yourself. Don’t be a perfectionist because it fuels anxiety and stress. 

“Don’t be your harshest inner critic, and by that I mean don’t overthink the things you have said in meetings you wish you hadn’t said or you wish you had said better. No one else has noticed, and that is because we are our harshest critics! (am still working on that one, and it’s OK, because I am not perfect!)”

Lisa Edwards

Lisa Edwards is the Executive Chair of Diligent Institute, the leading governance, risk and compliance SaaS provider, with more than $500 million in revenue and a $7 billion company. 

Lisa received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She serves on the Board of Directors of Colgate-Palmolive Company, and is deeply involved in two non-profits where she previously served on the board: Playworks and the Presidio YMCA.

Lisa shares, “I do believe there are still barriers for successful women working in tech, simply because women are still a small percent of the tech workforce and are not graduating from computer science programs fast enough to address that issue. In response to this, I would like to see early intervention. To make sure girls are excited about math and science,and to nurture that interest at a young age.

She continues, “Everyone faces challenges along the way, what matters is how you choose to address them. Do you use them to get smarter? Learn more to grow as a person and as a worker? I even tell people in many ways, having a bad boss once or twice in your career can be a really helpful learning and a growth opportunity (albeit painful!). Because you learn what not to do but also learn how to function with lots of different people.”

Fiona Jones

Fiona Jones is the co-founder of Beans Coffee Club. The UK’s leading multi-roaster coffee subscription service that matches you to your perfect blend of coffee beans. Using their intelligent matching system, they are able to match consumers with the perfect coffee for them in a matter of seconds. 

Fiona Jones, alongside husband Richard Jones, launched Beans Coffee Club in June 2019 with an aim to make it easy for coffee lovers to enjoy freshly roasted coffee at home whilst discovering the UK’s best roasters. 

Fiona shares: “As I have become a more senior member of a business, I would say that I do not see being a woman as a hindrance in any way; in fact, it can be quite the opposite.  In a room of men I am different and I, therefore, add another dimension or view to the discussion. 

“The main challenge that I have faced is balancing work and family life since becoming a mother.  I do not feel that this is a gender-specific point though, as I believe this would be the same challenge if Richard had decided to take the lead role in the family life.”

Janina Wolkwow

Janina Wolkwow  is a female powerhouse and a driving force within the hospitality industry. With a demonstrated history of success, Janina has a multitude of skills which have contributed to her accomplishments. 

Beginning her professional development with a bachelor’s degree focused on business, management and marketing, her expertise and eye for good business within hospitality has led to her ownership of the world-renowned restaurant Sumosan, and most recently the newly opened middle eastern and Japanese fusion restaurant, JIJI. 

Sumosan first launched in 2002 and is a multi-award-winning, critically acclaimed contemporary Japanese restaurant with locations in some of the world’s most vibrant cities. Known for serving an exceptional standard of modern cuisine, the brand’s twenty years plus in the industry stands testament to its excellence. 

Cain International, the investment firm that bought Prezzo, gave financial backing to Janina when she created the concept of JIJI based on her years of traveling through Japan and the middle-east.

Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International, said: “Having collaborated with Janina to bring Sumosan to our development at Courchevel 1850, where it has been exceptionally well received, we were very pleased to work with her in making this exciting dining concept a reality.”

Since its launch, in 2021 JIJI has been a testament to Janina’s triumphs within the hospitality world receiving exceptional reviews from some of the best in the business.  With women within the industry accounting for only 30% of c-suite leaders, it’s important to recognise how Janina is paving the way for future generations. 

Janina Wolkwow shares her simple yet inspiring motto, “Love what you do and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”

Previous <strong>HRC set to return packed with new features and industry insights</strong> 
Next <strong>Campari Academy UK presents The Art of Hospitality</strong>