Problems are opportunities in disguise, says our regional finalist Jill King, Director of International Markets for Virgin Pulse and the FL National Awards & Summit 2019 Regional Finalist.
Jill's greatest passions in life are her beautiful children and her work. She heads up the UKIMEA region for Virgin Pulse, part of Sir Richard Branson’s group of companies and has the privilege of positively changing people’s lives through behavioural change technology.
Can you give us examples of any common stereotypes you come across as a successful female leader?
Whilst we’re undoubtedly seeing a positive change in terms of gender equality; over the course of my career, I’ve experienced and observed gender stereotyping at every stage. From very real harassment early in my career through to misconceptions of what type of person you must be to be a successful female leader. I like to prove people wrong and demonstrate that I’m as compassionate as I am confident and as empathetic as I am driven. You don’t have to be a mean-spirited cutthroat to be a successful and respected female leader and in fact, humility, vulnerability and emotional intelligence are much more valuable traits.
How do you maintain your and your team's daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?
We’ve worked incredibly hard to build a culture in my team which is special. I’ve always said that I want everyone who works for me to feel as happy and enthusiastic to walk through the doors on a morning as I do. A workplace which is fun, full of laughter and a place where people feel safe to be their authentic selves. A place where it’s OK not to be perfect, it’s OK to make mistakes, as that’s how we learn and a place where every person feels valued as an individual. Of course, there are setbacks and challenges, but we have a resilient foundation which means we ride every storm as one. We succeed together and we fall together, and we always remind ourselves of our personal purpose which keeps us motivated and growing.
What are the most important traits of successful leaders today?
Authenticity, Compassion, Vulnerability, Confidence, Humility, PASSION.
What are you most proud of?
What I’ve achieved balancing the challenges of being a mum to my two beautiful boys with my career. This hasn’t been something which has happened by chance and I’ve worked incredibly hard setting personal rules, discipline and boundaries so that I feel like I’m doing my best in both aspects of my life. In doing so, I hope I can set a positive example to all the women I know that to be successful in your career, you don’t have to sacrifice who you are as a mother.
If you were to introduce me to one person, who would it be…?
My 5-year-old son. His curiosity, energy, love and magical spirit would inspire even the most learned and experienced leaders. The world would be a better place if we were all a little bit more like him.
Your favourite quote?
There are so many to choose from and my ‘favourite’ probably changes on a daily basis but, like most things that came out of her mouth, Marilyn Monroe nailed it with this one...
‘Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.’
My favourite poem, which hung in our bathroom as a child and now hangs in my office at work is Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. They are worlds to live your life by and they’re as relevant now as when they were first published in 1927.
If you’re not familiar with it, google it!
On average, how much sleep do you get each night? Is it enough?
Sleep is critical for me to maintain optimal health and energy to take on the day, so I do my utmost to ensure I get as much good quality sleep as is possible with two young children. I’m still up with at least one of them most nights and they’re very early risers so I aim to turn the lights out no later than 10:30 pm. In an ideal world, I’d get 8 hours, but the reality is more like 7 hours.
What is your “superpower”?
My energy. It’s relentless.
What would you like your legacy to be?
That I raised my boys to be the next generation of feminists. And that I empowered women to know that they don’t have to choose a single area of life to excel in as we are all limitless.
What’s your motto in life?
Problems are opportunities in disguise.
Because they really are.
The mother of all awards #FLNationalAwards & Summit 2019 is coming to your region with events in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds! It’s an inspirational programme showcasing diversity in business, recognising the doers, trailblazers & inclusive leaders across the UK. Join the conversation and don’t miss out - HERE