How many doctors do you know, have left the profession to set up a business creating comics? Sounds crazy? With its high status and salary, the glowing reputation and admiration that doctors attract, especially in the Far East, you’d be forgiven for thinking that those would be enough to keep a young woman within the profession.
But what if she had a passion for comics and a flair for creating comic art that had been carefully honed since she was a toddler? And what if once qualified in medicine, she lost sight of her true self?
Have you ever been rewarded for a big achievement? And whilst listening to the accolades you heard a whisper in your ear saying ‘fraud’?
Behold, the impostor syndrome, the worry that you’re a sham and one day soon you’ll be found out.
Regardless of who you are, the impostor syndrome can sneak up on you. And it’s common amongst high achieving women such as Sheryl Sandberg and Emma Watson. My Page 1 Woman has it too.
Meet Sheree Axon, Director of Organisational Change and Programme Delivery, in NHS England, and a longstanding member of the impostor syndrome club. She’s clearly very smart. So how come she often feels a fraud?
Sixty-six percent of Britons support gender equality, but only seven percent call themselves feminists. When feminists are stereotyped as man-hating, bra-burning, angry, hairy and dull it’s hardly surprising that so many people shy away from identifying as feminists. So, what’s the relevance to my Page 1 Woman? She’s a big supporter of gender equality and her business is about women’s empowerment but.... ‘I don’t call myself a feminist although I whole heartedly believe in equality,’ she said. ‘I just don’t do name tags’.
In the good old days, people started their working life expecting to have one job, one career and one retirement with bags of recognition and a gold watch. Nowadays, that’s no longer the expectation of one’s working life.
Job jumping is the new black and statistics indicate that 5-7 career changes is the norm.
My Page 1 Woman hasn’t quite hit those statistics but she’s changed careers 4 times. You might say that it’s been an evolutionary process, that’s prepared her for solo-preneurship, in line with her values.
Think of a banker. Who comes to mind? A high earning, pale male in a dark suit, motivated by greed? What if I were to show you a banker who is neither pale, male nor driven by greed? What if she were an African Caribbean grandmother, striving to make a difference, give back, help other women to succeed and do the best for her sons? Would that surprise you?
Talk to any teenage mum about her experience and she might share the verbal abuse from random strangers and the stigma she has faced.
Expectations of teenage mums are low. And few expect a 15 year old mum and her child to buck the stereotypes and make a great success of their lives.
My Page 1 Woman has proven that stereotypes are nothing more than that.
And they will narrow your prospects and that of your children, only if you allow them to.
Here's the third and final part of Sonia Brown's story.
From a Jamaican, South London background, Sonia has crafted a pathway to success that involved helping and inspiring other women and creating an impressive network of influential people who have championed her cause.
Read on and find out how being a black woman from a Jamaican family has influenced her leadership and her top tips for women aspiring to be leaders.