Archives for category: Working Women

LONDON, 21 April 2018


I feel as if I have been half way around the world and back again since I last blogged on WordPress and, in a way, I have.

This week it was a year since my book Fully Connected was published in hardback and now paperback. It has been 365 days in which I have done over 365 talks, interviews, articles, special posts about the book. I have been to cities in the UK, US, Europe. It’s been wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating.


Of course because of how the world is now connected, I have been in a sense, everywhere. The world is not just connected 24/7, or 24 nanosecond, but the history of what we connect to and communicate with is tracked and monitored in minute data detail so that the consequences will rebound on us indefinitely. Read this brilliant piece by Jamie Bartlett to see the scale of it.


The photo you see at the top is of me aged six, in 1970 in Peru. I went around the world abit as a child, but all my life I have lived mostly in a bubble of one kind of socioeconomy, middle class, midde European, and one which is increasingly growing disaffected with full connection, and beginning to see problems of overload, of fake news, of trolling, as the definition of what a quarter of a century of the internet has brought about.

But the world is bigger than a single demographic bubble of affluence. For all the real problems of connectedness, the internet and social networks offer vital freedom and democracy too: I was reminded of this when attending the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards in London this week.


I came across this stunning painting below at The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently. Painted by the Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral in the 1920s it depicts workers, in all their diversity and in all their gloomy entrapment to the grind of work itself.


This for me is what analysing the world of full connection has to be about. Are we productive and if not, why not? Are we creative and if so, do we define creativity in all workplaces, ie shopfloors and factories, or just groovy workspaces filled with hydroponic plants and hip furniture? The idea of wellbeing at work is one which I am not alone in exploring. I most recently discussed it with Arianna Huffington, who has started an excellent platform and corporate learning programme which I have begun to contribute to, called Thrive Global.



Another reason why I feel nostalgia being back on the blog is that I had the equivalent of an affair with another social medium. I strayed from the predictable, the safe, and I fell in love – didn’t everyone – with email newsletters, which were so glamorous and reached so many people, so directly…so tempting.

Except, actually, so much so that this format of emailing everyone regardless of whether they have opted into receive information is shortly going to be outlawed, via the GDPR European legislation which comes into final effect in five weeks’ time.

I realise that it is far more valuable to communicaton with people who already have interest in what you are saying and writing and who will spread word organically and naturally, than trying to cram more into people’s inboxes when our attention is already fragmented to hell and back.

So. Fully Connected. Fully back on WordPress. Fully happy to be here again.

Email me any comments:




Soon the BBC’s flagship radio programme ‘Woman’s Hour’ will publish for the first time its Power List. All I can say is thank god it’s on the radio. If it was on TV  then how the 100 women selected and the judges look would be the main story. And women like me, possibly like you, accept this fact with more of a shrug than anything else.  Six years ago I faced a bit of a battering in the British media. Having left the PR business I started a networking business. But I did bad PR for myself and my new company (oh, physician: heal thyself) and as a result had headlines such as ‘Sun Sets on Queen of Spin’. One thing bothered me and it wasn’t the bad press. One newspaper, the London Evening Standard, which had run the above headline, did so with a photo which made me look, well, ugly. And I wrote to the Editor, Veronica Wadley, saying that I fully supported a free press being as mean or indeed wrong as it liked, but asking if she minded sparing my vanity in any future stories. I meant it. Bad press yes, ugly photo, Shudder. She helped me out. The photo is no more. Perhaps she appreciated I was not trying to meddle with journalism’s right to be horrible about me but I think she just got it: Of course, how hurtful! Ugly photo. Thats Too Much.

I made sure after this that I always bought the rights to use any professional photos of myself which I liked whilst noticing that it represents rather a large failure, both personally and of my Generation Feminist who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. We take it as a given that to be a woman is to feel equal to men and to feel as comfortable with the notion of freedom and power as men do, albeit with the complexity of the ‘Having it All’ generation and motherhood in particular. Now women are much more ‘visible’ in positions of power and public life. I have just agreed to be a judge this year of the First Women Awards, having won the Media Woman of the Yearcategory myself last year. Women engineers as well as CEOs are celebrated as never before. relatively powerful in our professional lives, with voices we use in the boardroom and on Twitter, with faces which increasingly pop up in the media, we all still want to look good and the majority of us work very hard indeed to look good. Very few of us risk the horrible ire the gifted Cambridge University academic Mary Beard has done by appearing in the media with hair which is not dyed, and a look which says she has opinions rather than manicures. I know I don’t. Brave I am not: Perhaps this is why I am charmed and encouraged by Lena Durham and her explosively successful TV series Girls

But my generation of ‘successful’ women in our 40s and 50s are stuck in a looks timewarp. I look at debates about women and attend women only corporate networking events run by some of the world’s biggest companies and every woman representing ‘success’ is dressed for it, in a kind of expensive uniform. I probably spend a good ten hours a week on my appearance. That’s just shy of 10% of the time available which is not spent sleeping. Yes on one level looking good and feeling good and exuding confidence is not a bad thing and I’m not advocating a ‘Duvet Day’ dress code. I know that the men’s fashion and ‘grooming’ business is now big business. But it is not the same. Men like to look good. Women still need to. But perhaps ‘success’ for my daughter’s generation – she is twelve years old – will be less how we take power by looking good and more by….being fully ourselves. And of course, authenticity is powerful and a Good Look.

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