Murray Associates Accountants Limited: Queen of profit, Gloria Murray.

Murray Associates

 

The ‘Queen of Profit’ answers your questions

This month questions were very similar to ones that I’ve been asked before so I thought I would answer something I get asked all the time. It’s always along the lines of –

Q: How do I navigate a male dominated business world as a woman and is it really possible to have it all?

When I first started in business around 16 years ago I went with a friend to her business network in Dorset and had a very enjoyable time. Everyone was really friendly and supportive and around 30% of the business people in the room were women. So when I got back home I was really keen to join this organisation. I made enquiries and went along to the first meeting. I was the only woman in the room but I was told there was another woman member who couldn’t make it along and everyone was very friendly. So I decided to join and commit to weekly early morning meetings.

Nine months later I was still the only woman in the room and was fed up to the back teeth of the completely unsupportive environment and sexist jokes at 7am. They would talk about other members behind their backs, particularly one member who they considered to be gay. I felt pretty intimidated by the atmosphere (I was still a newbie!) and due to this environment I wasn’t meeting other business women – my referrals were coming from this networking group. Then I discovered Women Into Business and was surprised at the very different atmosphere. It was much more understanding, friendly and encouraging. From here I started to build a network of women in business I could talk to and get help. This helped keep me in business when going through the inevitable hard and lonely times you sometimes face.

So my mission is to feminise the business world as, I don’t know about you, I don’t want to emulate men to get on in the business world. I think we see things in a different but complimentary way and have a lot to bring to this world. I also believe that we can’t sustain the current business model for the future. Fortune 500 companies already know that companies with more women board members get higher financial results – a better Return on Equity (53%), Return on Sales (43%), and Return on Invested Capital (66%).

So it’s time for us to step up and carve out a new way of working. For me this means business should be fun and not so po-faced as it sometimes is. I think we can wear bright colours and don’t have to dress in black or grey suits in order to be taken seriously. I think we can have win-win situations in business negotiations. I think we can have children, run our business and expect our partners to take equal responsibility for the household chores and family. But we need to allow them to contribute too, instead of taking the view ‘I can do it better and quicker myself’. We really can’t do it all without support.

Equal does not mean we all have the same skills though, it’s about playing to our strengths and weaknesses. My partner, as a man, is much physically stronger than me. So if something requires strength he’s the best person for the job. It’s about understanding and embracing this – ‘Vive la Difference’ as the French would say! But it’s also about mixing stuff up – where is it written that I have to cook dinner and do the shopping? Two things my partner really enjoys doing.

I believe we need to shift the paradigm of the business (and personal) world so we can make our full contribution to society and the wider world. Let’s have a supportive business world where we help and mentor each other to be all we can be and be role models for young women and girls.

If you have any comments, challenges or any other issues as a business woman please do act now and ping me an email to info@murrayassoc.co.uk and I’d be more than happy to help.

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