7th March 2021
To me, every day is International Women’s Day, and always will be. In many ways, my life has been formed, created and enhanced by the strong women who have surrounded me for as long as I have been here (and that’s a long time).
My life started with a strong woman who I was lucky enough to call my Mam.
A strong willed lady, my Mam was, and continues to be a dominant force in my life. Mam was always there for me, and for the rest of her children, we could always rely on her to say the right thing, to do the right thing and to be honest with us. Her Mam and my Dad’s Mam were also incredibly strong women, women born in a different world, a ‘mans’ world for want of a better saying. But both were powerhouses in their own right.
Coming from a large family with lots of aunts and uncles, I grew up totally unaware of any ‘power struggles’ that might have been happening. All my aunts were huge characters with big big personalities, ambitions and drive. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up surrounded by them.
My sisters too were (are) strong characters with a strong sense of independence. When we were kids, the fights that occurred between us always ended up with myself and Dawn, my younger sister, against my brother John and the elder of the kids Sharon. The girls…. they always won the battles on behalf of us boys!
I appear to be drawn to strong female characters, sometimes through no other reason than fate. My other half’s Mum is also a very strong character.
It seems to me, looking back on my childhood, that almost all my school friends were girls, and I was definitely drawn to females who stood out from the crowd, who had big, bold characters, so for ever and a day I have been surrounded by females who were strong, powerful, focussed and determined.
In my teens I developed life long friendships with a handful of girls of a similar age, and here I am, at the age of 61 and I can say quite honestly that they are still around today and we still have the same level of friendship. Each girl appealed to me for different reasons, some were creative, some crazy to be with, some because we had similar interests in music and found ourselves dancing together at youth-clubs, and then later in night-clubs, or something else linked us together, some girls because they, like me, were a little removed from the ‘normal’ (whatever normal might be) teenagers, a little unusual I suppose.
Working life was the same, although there were lots of guys working in the salon I joined as my hairdressing career began, it was the girls who I befriended. the ladies I worked with throughout my first job, (not hairdressing) and then in my hairdressing career have all been forces to reckon with. Creative and ambitious in equal parts, they helped me through the challenging years of my adolescence and for that reason, amongst lots of others, they are still a major part of my life.
As my career progressed and I moved in a new direction, joining Wella as an educator, it was women, once again that helped me develop and grow, each and every one of them helped shape me into the man that I became. When I progressed into management for Wella, most of the teams I looked after were predominantly female…. it was just the way it was. There were guys too, always a welcome addition to the mix and to the dynamics of the group. Some of those ladies though are still part of my life now, testament to their influence on me.
When I joined Tigi and recruited a team, they were all girls, apart from a couple of guys who were (like in Wella) a welcome part of the team mix and dynamics. It wasn’t a deliberate decision, it was just the way it organically happened. Once again some of, in fact the majority of them are still friends, even though we started out our working life as colleagues, we crossed that bridge many years ago.
And now, as an independent consultant, I find the contacts I have who are business women, well we just seem to have a natural symbiosis and an affinity that creates some fabulous connections. I am incredibly fortunate to know some exceptional business woman who have forged awesome careers and who I consider to be friends.
All of the above is not to say that I haven’t had great relationships, friends and work colleagues with guys, of course I have, but on International Women’s Day I want to shout out to all of the important ladies in my life. There are too many names to put down here, but….
If we have come into contact with each other, either as family, friends or as work colleagues, I want you to know this:
YOU ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, NO MATTER HOW OFTEN WE SEE EACH OTHER, TALK TO EACH OTHER (OR NOT, AS THE CASE MAY BE), EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU FABULOUS LADIES MEANS SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL TO ME.
On International Women’s day, I salute you all!