C&C Search are teaming up with the hottest hotel & members club in London right now, The Curtain, to host an exclusive breakfast event in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019

Our Leading Authentically invitation-only event will feature a globally renowned panel of high-profile women and together we’ll look at how we can reclaim our understanding of “leadership” on our own terms; how to be the leader of your career, your team, your tribe.

We’re so excited to announce Steph Douglas, founder of thoughtful gift company, Don’t Buy Her Flowers as our first panellist for Leading Authentically.

Steph Douglas, Dont Buy Her Flowers

What does authentic leadership mean to you?
It’s important that everyone knows they can say how they feel. Ultimately decisions stop with me, but if a colleague voices something, I will listen. I need to continue with that as we grow. I’m not an expert in everything and the idea is, I’m bringing in people who can be better than me in their roles.

How is your organisation fostering a culture of diversity?
Being thoughtful and kind is crucial to the integrity of our brand so we want to be inclusive to everyone we work with. I’ve been learning in recent months from listening to people with a different voice to mine. It’s not enough to just be open to diversity; we have to actively seek it – if you’re working with a brand, are they inclusive? If I’m on a panel, who else is on it? It’s something we have to actively work on and keep working on, both internally and externally.

In our #whenibecameamother campaign for Mother’s Day, we wanted to recognise there isn’t one kind of mother so we’ve sought out mothers with different experiences to the one often portrayed – adoptive mothers, single mothers, mothers who had lost their child.

In your experience, what are the challenges you see facing female leaders today?
There’s a decline in female leaders after they become mothers. So many women are working but also the primary carer at home and taking on the majority of the mental load and childcare responsibility. Equality has to start at home, because otherwise we’ll always be in ‘secondary’ roles as we’re the ones that have to be flexible, to drop everything when the kids are ill or work out the jigsaw puzzle of childcare during school holidays.

Where we are today is a major shift from our parents’ generation but if we gloss over how much inequality prevails at home, I don’t believe we’re tackling one of the fundamental issues that can make equality impossible.

How do you define success?
There’s the “obvious” – financial, building a brand, recognition. Before we started the business, we wrote down what success looked like. I included that I wanted to be around for the kids. Once you’re going in business, it’s really easy to focus on always pushing forward – I’m never going to be ‘done’. Running a business is a lot of work and it can take over, so those markers are a reminder that I wanted some balance.

For more information on this event please get in touch with Sophie: sophie@candcsearch.co.uk