On International Women’s Day we ask, which woman is your greatest inspiration?

Graça Machel International Women's Day

It’s International Women’s Day. This month’s contributors to Director magazine name their female role models and the one thing they’d like to ask them

Sarah BrownSarah Brown, founder, Theirworld

Graça Machel [pictured, above], who is always called Nelson Mandela’s wife, but was an education minister and wrote a report about the impact of conflict on children that underpins a lot of today’s thinking. I know from asking [what keeps her going]. It’s the next challenge – as long as there’s a child who doesn’t have what they deserve in life, you have to get up and do it. @SarahBrownUK

Read our interview with Sarah Brown on her new campaign for gender equality

Nick RoylanceNick Roylance, co-director, Genesis Publishing

Yoko Ono is such an interesting and innovative artist. She’s not had the most favourable reactions but she’s not dented by that at all. She’s just so positive in her outlook and in her work, so she’s a great example of strength of character. My question to her is: how does she remain that way when the political outlook is a little bleak?


Navina BartlettNavina Bartlett, founder, Coconut Chilli

I’m a great admirer of Indira Gandhi, ex-prime minister of India, who ruled during an incredibly tense era. Her quote – “I am in no sense a feminist, but I believe in women being able to do everything” – influenced my business journey.  I would ask: does she believe women will have truly equal opportunities before the end of this century?


Troy BakerTroy Baker, managing director, Design Reality

Corny, I know, but my wife and business partner Caroline Baker is the woman who has inspired me most. She has been the calm sounding board to my manic, fast-paced mind. As polar opposites we work together well to find the best path forward. I can ask her anything at any time, but I always ask myself: what if we had not met?


Stephen CastellStephen Castell, chairman, Castell Consulting

Ada, the Countess of Lovelace, who was the very first computer programmer and the daughter of Lord Byron. If I had the chance, I’d like to ask her two questions: first, are you surprised that the coming of the robots and the age of artificial intelligence took so long to arrive? And second, what was your dad really like?


Jane DumeresqueJane Dumeresque, CEO, Folk2Folk

I think the Queen has done a really good job. Her diplomacy and how she’s dealt so serenely with all the issues that have come up during her reign is very impressive. I would ask her how she is going to cope with Donald Trump when she meets him. I think she’ll be calm and she’ll be charming – that’s her job and she does it very well.


International Women’s Day



Click here for a snapshot of just some of the many inspirational business leaders we meet and profile each month in Director

A snapshot of Director interviewees for International Women's Day 2017


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Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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