#InternationalWomensDay – with Anne Boden

It’s #InternationalWomensDay and you can expect a few posts from me today. Last year, I celebrated my top 5 women PR inspirations and this year, you can expect the same. However, something I also wanted to do today was to dedicate a single post to a woman that unknowingly inspires me every single day.

We live in a pretty balanced world nowadays, yet every day I’m still excited to see women making a difference.

Well, I say balanced but actually… Did you know that of the fortune 1000, just 54 female CEO’s feature? That’s just 5.6%. So when you compare that to the male CEO’s, they dominate the business-leader front with a 94.4% stronghold. One might find it hard to believe but unfortunately, it’s true.

And what’s more, there are only three females in the top 50. (Source:

Therefore, despite having advanced so far as a gender in the past 100, even 50 years (ask me all about it thanks to my History A-Level being centred around the progression of females over the past 100 years) women are still, regrettably, substantially outnumbered in business. Most of the high-end corporate positions are taken by men and let’s be honest, when most hear the term ‘CEO’, they’d naturally correlate it with the role of a man.

But as a young woman in business, I find this endlessly and ridiculously problematic.

It need not be a competition between ‘which gender trumps the other’, but rather it should be that those who are best suited to the role find themselves in the right position. If a woman has a great idea, then she absolutely should see it through and should hold the CEO role of her own company, that position shouldn’t be taken by a man. And likewise, if a man has an innovative streak then there should be nothing stopping him from following through with his proposition – no woman should take that from him either. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from; what you look like or what gender you are. What matters ultimately is what you have to say – or better yet, what you plan to do.

We need more women with a ‘can-do’ attitude, and that’s where Anne Boden comes in. Who is beyond a doubt one of my biggest inspirations, and now more than ever.

Starling Bank…

If you want to know what the future looks like, take a look at Starling Bank.

I’ve been following the activities of this firm for some time now and I’m continually blown away by their innovation. Anyone who knows me knows that I see creativity and originality as a big part of Public Relations and Media Relations – it’s what sets you apart from the rest; and therefore I’m a big fan of Starling as they example exactly this. From their nifty online features to their foolproof debit card design which removes imprints and adds all your details to the back of the card in a bid to intercept fraudulent activity.

If you’re wondering what you’re looking at, you’re looking at innovation. (Source:

But perhaps the most brilliant thing about this organisation is the story and motive behind it. Which should rather translate as, the woman behind it.

…And The Woman Behind It

Talking with This Is Money, Anne Boden – who’s the CEO and founder of Starling – revealed her reasons for founding one of the fast-growing challenger banks of the decade.

“Banking was broken and I couldn’t fix the old system – so I decided to build a new one” – Anne Boden.

“I got into a taxi [to an interview for the Chief Operating Officer role of Allied Irish Bank] and the driver asked me what I did.” Anne told This Is Money. “I said I was going to see a bank I wanted to work for – and the atmosphere changed, he just stopped talking to me. It dawned on me then how much pain the banks had caused. After that, I took the view that you just don’t say you’re a banker, particularly in Ireland. I just told people I worked in technology.”

In 2014, Anne left her position at Allied Irish and sold her house to fund the launch of a new initiative – that would become Starling Bank. “Banking was broken and I couldn’t fix the old system – so I decided to build a new one” she explained.

And that’s exactly what she did. Flash-forward 5 years and Starling Bank is certainly hot on the ‘ones to watch’ list. It’s fast become one of the most talked about online challenger banks and already has around 460,000 current account customers, which of course is on the onset to grow too.

Their upheaval of the banking world is enough to do Starling plenty of favours in the remit of their PR. But to have an inspiring and encouraging woman at the forefront of their business model too. Well, it just ticks all of the boxes.

Amid its savvy features and impressive innovations (honestly, this brand is truly one to watch), I would still maintain that my favourite thing about Starling is that it’s headed up somebody who inspires me every single day, and one who paves the way for other like-minded females in business who also want to change something and challenge the regime. I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that Anne is a champion to many others as well as me.

She’s exactly the kind of person I aspire to turn out to be.

Who’s your inspiration? Is it a woman in business, or perhaps somebody else? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter – I always love hearing your thoughts (and it is International Women’s Day after all).

P.s. – thank you!

pr marketing comms finalist badge

You know the score by now, I have a little endnote to post. I’m in a small but brilliant pool of talented and creative writers, and I really do often feel as though I don’t belong here. Therefore, to be in amongst the finalists for the UK blog awards for best PR, Marketing and Comms blog means so much to me… Beyond words.

It’s amazing in fact.

Therefore, I just wanted to say a big… No, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who voted for me in the awards. If it wasn’t for the people who read my blog and support me every day, I almost certainly wouldn’t bother. So for that, endless gratitude is in order.

Thank you.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my blog by heading back to my homepage and entering your email on the right-hand side of the page.

PR and lifestyle blogger jessica pardoe

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