Spring: “Women need to learn hard stuff to get ahead”

Women should take on more extra curricular professional activities to help them learn the “hard stuff” necessary to succeed in business, according to former Future Publishing chief executive Stevie Spring.


Spring, who left the business last week, spoke at an Audience with Women Leaders event in London. The event was run by industry support services organisation NABS and also featured Procter & Gamble marketing director Roisin Donnelly, and easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall.

Spring said: “I have done lots of extra curricular things, been part of lots of boards and chair of various organisations such as Children in Need. I would not have been made chief executive at ClearChannel if I had not been chair of The Groundwork Foundation, because it meant I knew about operations, planning and legislation.”

“You should get as much experience as you can. Not just in all the fluffy stuff but learn the hard stuff too. This is what a lot of women shy away from.”

Spring’s directive that women in business should make themselves numerically competent was echoed by P&G’s Donnelly.

“You need to be super intelligent, be able to look at numbers, cut through the crap and make the right decisions,” she said.

Donnelly added that emotional intelligence was equally as important as a high IQ.

“You need to listen to people. If you listen to and understand your organisation, you can motivate and inspire and people will want to follow you. You have to earn and deserve the title of leader every day.”

Separately, Sherilyn Shackell, founder of the Marketing Week sponsored Marketing Academy, was handed a special award for contribution to marketing at last night’s (3 November) “Women in Marketing” awards.

Winners at the awards, sponsored by the CIM, also included Marketing Academy scholar Maria Nolan from Sony UK, who was named “female fast track marketer of the year” and Marketing Academy mentor, Google’s Sarah Speake, who was named “best female leader in marketing”.

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