HELENA MORRISSEY: My fiercely feminine guide to power dressingWomen at the top remain the exception: there are currently 16 female CEOs in the UK’s top 350 listed firms. Helena Morrisey reveals how enhancing your style can boost your career.

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  • 16 of the UK’s top 350 listed firms have female CEOs, less than five percent
  • Helena Morrisey has worked in the finance industry for three decades
  • Mother-in-law reveals how enhancing your style can boost your career success
  • It recommends considering what defines you and what you hope to achieve.

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I don’t like it when the newspapers call me ‘Superwoman’ – my life is a lot less glittery than it’s pictured – but I do see why people want to know how I’ve achieved success.

For three decades, I have worked in the male-dominated finance industry; And for half, at the helm as CEO. I also have nine children, now aged between 12 and 29. For 20 years, at the peak of my success, I’ve always had a kid three or less.

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How did I become a leader in a world made for men? And how did I do that even with such a big family?

The answer isn’t just about working hard and being good at my job: it’s also about the ways in which I have consciously influenced my perceptions of myself as a woman.

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Helena Morrissey (pictured), who worked in the male-dominated finance industry for three decades, reveals how enhancing your style can boost your career

The secret I’m going to tell you here is that being a leader is in no small part about acting and dressing up—like one. And that doesn’t mean acting or dressing like men.

Early in my career, it was clear that I was being held back. As a young woman in the city in the early 1990s, I failed to get promoted despite being on my team of 16 for the longest time and trying my best to ‘fit in’ to a very male culture .

Certainly, I was the only woman on the team and, even more frankly, the only mother who had my first child at 26. So I took a step back and reevaluated. I was trying hard to be one of the boys, right down to a pinstripe trousersuit, but it clearly wasn’t working out. So why not take another approach?

I gave myself a career makeover. I transferred companies and left that suit for more feminine clothing – still professional, but with more personality and ‘more of me’. I experimented with my hair and took presentation-skills training.

To walk the fine line between being myself and being accepted, I became ‘bilingual’ with male co-workers – able to speak and (mostly) understand their language, office politics and meeting etiquette, but also able to understand my own. Stayed true to my own ideas and style.

Seven years later, I was appointed CEO of investment management company Newton.

My story sounds almost unbelievable, and yet it shows so clearly that we can achieve success by ‘working’ what we have as women, so that we get noticed and we be promoted in its own right. If you see, sound and feel that part, you are that part.

Attitudes have certainly advanced since I was 20, but not to the point where we can assume we will be treated fairly. Women at the top remain the exception: there are currently 16 women CEOs, or less than 5 percent, of the UK’s top 350 listed firms. There has never been a black woman CEO in this country.

Helena said that whether we like it or not, successful women need to build and showcase a personal brand.  Pictured: MAX MARA Blue Knit, £180, and Midi Skirt, £250, available at fenwick.co.uk

Helena said that whether we like it or not, successful women need to build and showcase a personal brand. Picture: Max Mara Blue knit, £180, and midi skirt, £250, fenwick.co.uk. available on

And it’s not just in large firms where women are passed over. In any career or company size, at any age or level of aspiration, women also often work harder than their male peers, and with better qualifications, and still come second in terms of climbing the ladder. There are.

But I think we have much more agency and ability than we have to change that. Whether we like it or not, successful women need to build and showcase a personal brand.

The emphasis on appearance here may surprise you, but studies have shown that if we look together physically, people believe we’re also mentally together—and that’s our ability and our integrity. make guesses about.

In this first excerpt from my new book on How Women Can Win at Work, we’ll look at how to elevate your style to fuel your career. If you have no interest in fashion, it doesn’t matter; Here are tricks that anyone can pull off.

In part two, I’ll lay out my advice for you on how to do office work, so you’re judged not by the hours you spend sitting at the same desk, but by the amount of work you do.

I’ll show you how to navigate the parts of a woman’s life that have held us back in the past—from meeting the needs of a family to going through menopause.

But first, let’s get you started on the change that will build that all-important personal brand — and make sure you’re seen as truly skilled and valuable.

It’s not in vain to care how you look

Helena said that it is not in vain to give some thought to one's own style, as others make decisions based on what they see and hear.  Pictured: Adeline Lee Dress, £770

Helena said that it is not in vain to give some thought to one’s own style, as others make decisions based on what they see and hear. Picture: adeline lee Dress, £770

Of course, most of us don’t spend much time thinking about our style. For a start, this may sound narcissistic. But other people make decisions based on what they see and hear, so it’s not pointless to put some thought into it, it’s smart. If you’re going to develop a personal brand and style that works for you, the first step is to stand back and consider (truthfully) what defines you and what you hope to achieve.

My goal is a happy family and more women fulfilling their potential – later I established in 2010 through the 30% Club campaign with the aim of getting women to fill at least 30 percent of the board and C-suite positions – The highest ranking senior executive within a company.

Those are two huge ambitions with two completely different target audiences. I dress in a fairly invisible, practical way at home, but dress things up for the office when I’m campaigning.

Over the years, I’ve learned to dress in more flashy styles, turning up the volume by choosing strong colors or quirky colors…

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