Through the past 12 months, we persevered, we built resilience, we transcended. That's why this International Women's Day, we want to celebrate all women.
Read a selection of inspirational stories from our Trailblazers below.
Proud of myself for being the first person ever in my family to get a PhD, and landing my dream job. ”
This year, I'm really proud of myself for finishing a PhD thesis in Biochemistry and landing my dream job in the biopharmaceutical industry.
It was really difficult trying to do a PhD in the middle of a pandemic as my industrial placement was put on hold and site access was severely restricted. I ended up working part time at a prestigious university, and commuting for several hours twice a week to the industrial lab, whilst writing my thesis on trains.
Finishing it means I'll be the first person ever in my family to get a PhD once I've defended my thesis (whilst proudly wearing Dai) next month.- Hannah, Assay Development Scientist
Making the leap and taking action, to work on my visa and landing a job with the company I wanted to work for. ”
This past year, I left a job where I didn’t feel appreciated and where my values didn’t align with the actions of the company.
I then navigated through the working visa process and got a new job with a company I had always wanted to work for. Making the leap was made harder by the fact I am foreign and need that work visa but I am so proud of trusting in myself and taking action.- DAI'NAMIC WOMAN
I got a new job as an investor, where women represent just 13% of decision makers. ”
I got a new job as a Senior Vice President at a Silicon Valley Bank where I invest in series A onwards start-ups.
Currently on the investor side, women represent just 13% of decision makers.- Alexandra, Senior Vice President
I finally got a team project off the ground that now has the attention of the entire company. ”
I started a new job in May 2020, It's my first time for a few things: working in the private sector, working in a large organization, and working in the field of medical devices.
I am learning this all while working from home with two kids under five whose daycare kept shutting down under COVID. But I can now proudly say it's all paying off - because I finally got a team project off the ground that now has the attention of the entire company.- Anne, Government Affairs in healthcare
I am the first woman from ethnic minority background to lead a team of 200 people in my company. ”
I have recently been promoted to lead a team of 200 people, the largest team in our global business.
I am the first woman from ethnic minority background to achieve this in my company.- ANNA, DIRECTOR
Finding my confidence after quitting a toxic job, and landing my dream job too! ”
At my last job I experienced severe burn out. Alongside palpitations, trouble sleeping, and anxiety, my self-confidence was completely crushed too. I began to feel like I was not worthy of my job and that I should be grateful I was even considered for the position.
But then, someone at one of my dream companies reached out to me on LinkedIn. I finally quit my toxic job and decided to give it a try - after all, I had nothing to lose. After the interview process which took 3 months, I got offered the job!
Today, I can proudly say that I have already been promoted at my new company, with another promotion in the making. I've found my confidence again, I'm not afraid to ask questions in public anymore, and I can say loud and proud that I have what it takes to make it to a leadership position.- PATRICIA, SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Gave birth during lockdown, looked after my two kids, and started my new job as a CDO — the only female on my level. ”
I gave birth at home and looked after my two children due to the COVID situation. Alongside this, I worked 9 hours a week to keep everything going and started a new job as a Chief Data Officer in a larger publishing house.
I am very proud to say that I am the only female on my level and could negotiate flexible working hours to have enough time with my two children.- TANJA, CHIEF DATA OFFICER
Incredibly proud of having published two books, and the work I've done in education and with school leaders. ”
Over the last two years, I'm incredibly proud of the work I've done in education and with school leaders.
At the start of the pandemic, I was incredibly worried about how I was going to pay my bills and support my family but was equally concerned for those who cannot support themselves during this challenging period — mostly families with children. This prompted me to set up a community of amazing educators who are passionate about supporting the wellbeing of staff and pupils through the global pandemic.
I am so proud of everyone in our collective and its many achievements in under a year including a webpage with a range of free wellbeing resources, blogs, podcasts, worksheets, and products for schools to use. Aside from students, we also cover staff wellbeing.
By October 2020, we were able to publish The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing as a way to share our passion and what we've learned over the many years of working in education.
Another feat is having my book, 101 Playground Games, published by Routledge. It educates about the importance of outdoor play and learning for our children given the growing mental health crisis.
I also became a certified ICF Coach, and my Positive Playtime Programme in schools is receiving national acclaim.- THERESE, AUTHOR AND FOUNDER
Surviving both bowel and breast cancer and sharing my story with my online community. ”
Surviving both bowel and breast cancer and sharing my story with my online community.- NINA, CUSTOMER RELATIONS
I'm still here and have survived. ”
I came to this country as a single mum with my eldest son battling what can only be described as the most acrimonious of divorces in India. Settling in a new country and leaving all that was dear to me was the toughest thing I've ever done.
Throughout the pandemic, I worked tirelessly as an A&E Doctor. Life in the Emergency Department can be busy and chaotic, but I wouldn't have it any other way. All that while balancing my life as a mum of two — an 18-year old and a 2-year-old.
Last year, I had the biggest scare of my life after my youngest son was admitted to PICU and needed to be on a ventilator. That has probably given me PTSD, but I'm still here and have survived.- LAKSHMI, A&E DOCTOR
Working as a frontline doctor and looking after my two children during the pandemic. ”
Working as a front line doctor during the pandemic and looking after my two little children was the biggest challenge in the last couple of years.- ANNE, HOSPITAL DOCTOR
Getting out of a really bad place through therapy and taking the opportunity to land my dream job as a curator. ”
The last couple of years has been a real emotional rollercoaster.
I entered lockdown in a really bad place but was able to get therapy and the help I needed to get out of the rut.
I was also able to take the opportunity of stepping into an acting position before landing my dream job as a curator in an art museum.
Super proud of myself, as a young Chinese woman, for making my first career move to a tier 1 investment bank. ”
After 5 years working in a Commercial Bank from a graduate to manager, I have finally made my first career move to one of the tier 1 investment bank. I am super proud of myself as a young professional Chinese woman (which you don’t see many in investment bank).- Sarah, Risk Governance Associate
Growing my team, building a lab from scratch, and securing the funding we need to build a facility. ”
The past year has been a year of growth for myself and my company.
After working independently for many years, I grew my team, built a lab from scratch, and secured the funding we needed to construct a pilot facility. I'm incredibly proud of my team and what we've achieved together.
Along the way, I also learned how to progress in my own business by honing my leadership skills. Self-promotion is not something that comes naturally to me, but to convince others to get on board with my vision is necessary to reach it. I'm grateful for those who have supported me, and I hope my story can inspire women to step outside their comfort zone to do the same.- Jen, CEO and Co-Founder of a biothermal company
I finished the manuscript of my first novel, whilst working full time and receiving my first promotion this year. ”
I am proud of myself for finishing a manuscript of my first novel (a lifelong dream), whilst working full time as a strategy consultant and receiving my first promotion this year.
It was not easy to find time for writing after long days of work, but I've been blessed with wonderful friends and family cheering me along the way.I wish any woman (and man!) who find themselves on a similar journey of balancing day work and night-time passion to never to give up, and remember the importance of the small steps - they accumulate over time.- Joanna, Strategy Consultant
I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but remained strong, positive, and stylish throughout — despite losing my hair. ”
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, and took the decision to have chemotherapy in the height of the pandemic. Remaining strong and positive whilst living on my own, and stylish throughout - despite losing my hair. I am keeping focused on my love for interiors, and I am now launching my own business making high-end lampshades.- Vicky, Sales Advisor and Business Owner
Learning how to be brave and doing what feels right for me. ”
I got into a selective fellowship in radiology, and I'm halfway through.
However, due to an unforeseen personal crisis, I had to choose whether to quit or go to my family. Many have told me to stay, but it wasn't easy.
One day, I just broke down. I witnessed my emotional breakdown to understand how I was truly feeling. After that, I handed in my resignation.
This experience taught me that sometimes you have to be brave and do what feels right for you.
Proud of raising two strong, confident, and happy children after the devastating heartbreak of losing my firstborn son. ”
I'm proud of myself for raising two strong, confident, and happy children after losing my firstborn son. When my daughter was 10 weeks old, her older brother died very suddenly from meningitis.
Despite the heartbreak, we managed to give our daughter all the love and encouragement she needed to thrive. A year later, I got pregnant again and was blessed with another little boy.
To be able to parent well in the worst imaginable circumstances is a testament to how strong every one of us can be when needed.
Just like the Bob Marley quote, "You'll never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."