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Empowering voices: building a culture of support and guidance for female leadership

Building on the Bluprintx International Women’s Day spotlight into female leadership perspectives, we’re keeping up the momentum with a Women’s History Month mini-series throughout March.  

Starting with this article, we’ll be teasing out specific threads and drawing on individual voices within our network to paint a picture of what the landscape for women in business really looks like. Today, we’re exploring the theme of career advice, mentorship, and the importance of support networks for aspiring female leaders.   


Leaders in every industry, across every demographic, will face scrutiny. It is a natural and necessary outcome of holding accountability – but considering the barriers many women face in achieving leaderships positions, these examinations can feel even tougher. With this in mind, our network near-unanimously highlighted the importance of confidence and self-belief for aspiring female leaders.  

Despite their remarkable careers, our respondents noted fears of failure and repercussions from errors – but with the perspective of hindsight, shed light on handling natural setbacks.  

Dr. June Dennis, Managing Director & Marketing Strategy Coach of Mountain Top Perspectives Ltd, explains: “your career won’t unfold as planned, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, but don’t get disheartened when you fail.” Echoing the sentiment, Monica Callaghan, Head of Operations and Strategy at the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, adds: “I passionately believe that it is better to try and fail and try again, than not try at all.” 

Through these conversations, we recognize that women in or aspiring to leadership may feel that they can’t afford a single misstep – which is, of course, not true. In fact, on the theme of confidence, our contacts in marketing, comms, creative pursuits and business often believe that risk-taking and gut instinct have been central to their journeys.  

Nicky Allen, Director of Work Management at Bluprintx, captured this exceptionally: “sometimes you have to take the leap and do something risky but exciting – a boat is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what it’s built for.” 

Sometimes this means shaking off imposter syndrome to own mistakes just as closely as successes. Maud Davis, PR and Communications Trainer for CIPR, counsels: “the past is part of your story, but it does not define what you are capable of today.” 

Closing off on confidence, we keep this from Dr. Linda Rush, Education Expert for the Ministry of Education (UAE), close in mind: “Be open minded, always ready, willing and able to listen, learn, grow and develop. Be tenacious.” 


With confidence comes character. It rings true that individual character – what you really do with that confidence – is key. These female leaders put emphasis on developing a strong and authentic character, and letting their personality inform their leadership tendencies. Even, in some cases, their career arcs.  

Speaking on authenticity and being true to your intentions, Dr Linda Rush shares: “explore them, live by them, and use them to push parameters – but remain open minded.” And, succinctly from Jasmine Sym, Senior Digital CRM Owner at AIA, “authentic leadership wins ten times out of ten.” 

While the thread of confidence and individual agency runs throughout these female stories, there’s also recognition of the value of patience – perhaps even more poignant for women in or aiming for leadership roles. Nele Van der Bought, Head of Marketing at DPAM, explained “when you’re ambitious, things often don’t progress quickly enough for your liking. But you always pick up skills along the way that will prove useful. And if you stay the course, you’ll be able to act quickly when a new opportunity presents itself.” 

In terms of being a true leader, our contacts spoke about fostering cultures of continuous development. They highlighted their potential to become the leaders that they themselves had lacked. Monica Callaghan expressed it expertly: “leadership is not about being in front, it is about taking people with you. Dana Dumai, VP of Products at, also commented on this theme: “listening fosters understanding and collaboration, paving the way for collective growth and improvement.” 


One of the most powerful and repeated themes across our panel of expert women in leadership is curiosity – the desire to keep learning at every stage of their careers. 

Lucy Alligan, Bluprintx Global Director of Marketing, shares: “continuous learning is essential – whether it’s formal education, mentorship programs, or industry conferences, never stop investing in your own development.”  

Continuous acquisition of knowledge provides a foundation for leadership success, but equally important is passing that knowledge on. Our respondents spoke about sharing expertise and building others up, especially other women in their industries. Some expressed wishes that their leaders had shared more at early stages in their careers.  

For many, it’s become a commitment. Zoe Forman, Senior Marketing Operations Specialist (EMEA), MSA – The Safety Company, explains: “someone will always benefit from your experiences. Don’t hesitate to speak up and lend a helping hand within your company and the wider community.” 

By sharing knowledge and experiences, existing leaders can help to create an uplifting community that paves the way for future leaders. A future that addresses the inequalities of generations prior and builds a better environment for future female leaders.  


Finally for this article, community. Across the board, individual and collective relationships are heralded by women in leadership – the idea of using existing platforms to build pathways for the next generation of female leadership while enriching one’s own experiences. 

Emma Fairlie – Global Director of PMO for Bluprintx, suggests: “find people who will help you grow and take time for you. You will spend so much time investing in others and their career growth. Take time for you and yours. Don’t forget, to be able to give the most you have to be the best version of you.” 

Which leads us to the broader concept of mentorship. We asked specifically about the role of mentorship and support networks, and received resounding support for these frameworks. Mentorship both given and received can transform perspectives. We return to Dr. Linda Rush and her sage comment “the most powerful mentorship stems from a deep-seated need, want or desire. Mutual care, respect, and kindness has been at the heart of my most valuable coaching experiences.” 

Reaching and holding a leadership position is challenging, but it need not be a lonely journey. Support networks for women can make the difference at challenging times, and help to reinforce and celebrate successes. Anya Prior, Salesforce Technical Consultant at Bluprintx, explains “it is vital for women to know they don’t have to take a plunge with no safety net. Talking with other women in the same field as me has made me feel at home, and feeling like you belong does a lot for your work ethic.” 


Reflecting on these ideas, the prevailing sentiment is of support and positivity. Today’s leading women are thinking proactively about their role in supporting one another, and developing leadership skillsets in the next generation of girls and women. A culture of support and mentorship is unfolding which will undoubtedly improve experiences for aspiring female leaders.  

There’s more to come from Bluprintx throughout Women’s History Month. Next week, we’ll return with an article on significant challenges facing women in marketing and business and leadership today – and how to tackle them.