To celebrate being named a 100 Women of Influence by Westpac and Financial Review, and the solidarity of all women in business, Jane has written the below article to pay tribute to all the women who influenced her along the course of her career and gave her a leg up the ladder of success.
The place I call home is the picturesque cathedral city of Ripon in North Yorkshire. But thanks to a potent reading mix of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch and my monthly delivery of Cosmopolitan which was full of glamorous women striding forth with their briefcases and high heels, I knew my life would only really start when I escaped and got myself to London.
And it did.
First stop was university at the red brick red flag-flying Manchester. We raged against Thatcher’s Britain, staged sit-downs, held vigils for Nelson Mandela and supported the striking miners. We were engaged and passionate for a better world. I also realised that embracing feminism was the only logical way to live, which meant the obligatory Virginia Woolf poster, a full collection of Carmen Callil’s Virago paperbacks and a subscription to Spare Rib.
So armed with an honours degree, a suitcase and an education in life, I set off to London and started my first job in publishing with Time-Life Books on Bond Street. My boss was the uber-stylish and inspirational Editor in Chief, Kit van Tulleken. Kit was Canadian, powerful, clever and awe inspiring to my 21 year old self. As a first boss I could not have asked for a better role model. Her two boys often came in after school so before the phrase ‘having it all’ was coined, she did indeed have it all.
Time-Life sent me on a placement to Sydney to work for dynamic American, Bonnie Boezeman, who headed up their Asia Pacific division. Bonnie was a whirlwind of energy and professionalism and ran the company with utmost flair and dedication.
It is only writing this now I realise that my first two bosses were such influential women. They inspired me from the start to love the numbers side as much as the creative. Power always resides where the money is made and so I have been fortunate to be mentored into financial literacy very early in my career.
Book publishing is a wonderful convergence of my love of the political and cultural together with my passion for business. So thank you Germaine, Carmen, Kit and Bonnie for all your influence on my formative years. And of course thank you to Cosmo for showing me the world beyond Ripon.