Some of the world’s most powerful businesswomen are quitting.
Last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, announced she is leaving the company to start a new chapter and follow her passion. Likewise, Meta’s chief business officer Marne Levine is stepping down after 13 years with the company in order to “recharge and prioritize some quality time with family” before beginning her “next professional chapter.”
As a huge sponsor of women sitting at the top table, I feel that gender equality might become just a wishful thinking. Something good only for corporate branding and PR stunt.
For episode 070 of my podcast, ‘The World Class Leaders Show’, I invited Verona Frankish CEO of Yopa, an award-winning estate agency in the UK backed by some of the biggest names in the property industry, to discuss how a female CEO can thrive in a male-dominated industry. She also demonstrates that leading a purpose-driven organization isn’t only a case of setting goals and making tough decisions, but also of building trust with your team and customers.
The Benefit of Having Careers in Different Industry
Verona Frankish has learned a lot from her experiences in different industries. She says, “I’ve chosen a path, sometimes by accident, but sometimes by design, that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve no doubt that has helped me become both the person I am today, but also the leader that I am today.”
When you have a career in different industries, it can open you up to new experiences and knowledge—ones which you may never have been exposed to if your career had stayed within the same field.
Not only can this help to improve your own understanding and capabilities, but it will also come in handy when leading an organization across multiple sectors—especially for executive roles.
Having such varied experience helps put you in the shoes of others who are working with different business models and cultures – helping you better understand the challenges they face; from technology advances to customer needs – having worked in a range of sectors will help you develop tailor-made solutions for each situation.
Things Every First-time CEO Should Hear
Verona Frankish has some great advice for first-time CEOs who want to lead a purpose-driven organization. She emphasizes that it’s important to always be your authentic self and not try to fit into a mold of what other people expect you to be.
Frankish believes that those who do put themselves in that position — where they feel the need to portray something they’re not— will find themselves in a difficult spot, as it’s hard to sustain that for long periods of time. It’s important for first-time CEOs, who may be feeling pressure from all sides, to take the time to remember why they’re in that position in the first place — and how their own individual knowledge and experiences got them there.
As Frankish says: “I was appointed as a CEO that would be for all the right reasons that I could be my authentic self — they were hiring exactly what I was and not what I was trying to portray.”
No one should have any question over why they got the top job — being hired due to their own unique experiences will mean success is only around the corner as long as they stay true to themselves.
How To Operate Better as a Team
When it comes to leading and managing a purpose-driven organization—like Yopa—it’s all about understanding more about each other and operating better as a team. That’s why Verona Frankish focuses on creating an atmosphere of trust, respect and understanding between everyone—from executives to employees to customers.
Verona believes that having strong relationships with colleagues is important for building a culture where people can:
- Communicate openly
- Feel comfortable voicing opinions
- Receive feedback in an effective way
- Make tough decisions together
- Set achievable goals as a collective unit
- Develop empathy for each others’ perspectives
That way, when challenges arise, whether it’s finding the best solution for customers or making a tough decision, everyone will be working from the same page and everyone can stay on the same path towards the same goals.
A Female Ceo’s Tips to Success in a Male-dominated Industry
Despite the challenges of leading a purpose-driven organization in a male-dominated industry, Verona Frankish has some great advice to offer. Firstly, she advises that you silence that imposter syndrome in your head. Have a word with yourself and believe in your abilities—you have the power to do it. As Verona puts it, “I’ve just backed myself, trusted myself and acted in a way that feels true to me.”
You can trust your intuition and make decisions that are right for you, even if they don’t align with what others want to do. Once you have the courage to back yourself and make decisions that feel right for you, the sky’s the limit! With the right attitude and steadfast confidence in yourself, anything is possible.
To close the interview, I asked Verona to share with us her responses to my top guest questions.
Q: Is there anything that you would like to share that is working so well, for you that might be inspirational for others?
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I truly believe that to be true. Put the work in. Learn things that aren’t necessarily necessary for you to note today, but be curious. Always want to know more about a subject that’s going to help you grow and develop, because you just never know when an opportunity to utilize that will come around the corner and then grab it with both hands.
Q: Is there anything in your career that you might have done differently?
I wish I’d understood better how I could control my mind earlier in my life and in my career. The power of what you think is not necessarily true and the power of controlling those thoughts, which then influence how you feel, which then ultimately influences how you act. And checking myself and understanding that better earlier in my career, I think could have helped me unlock a lot more potential earlier on.
Q: Is there any specific book that you would like to recommend to the audience just because it changes your perspective, your life, or maybe your career?
There’s definitely two books. One, it’s influenced my mind, was the The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters. Two, it’s influenced my approach to business The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek and then The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett which makes you realize that Founders, CEOs, and Entrepreneurs, they’re only human.
For more information regarding Verona Frankish and her work, you can visit the company website https://www.yopa.co.uk You may also wish to reach out on Linkedin, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronafrankish
If you’ve enjoyed this or other of my podcast episodes, please send me any comments via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/andreapetrone, or via email at [email protected]
For more information on my work and access to other valuable resources, please visit the website, at https://www.andreapetrone.com.
Listen to the podcast related to this article: https://www.andreapetrone.com/074-how-to-succeed-in-a-male-dominated-industry-as-a-ceo-with-verona-frankish/