Tired of working in a patriarchical, machismo male environment?

This month, the Cherry London blog features a piece written by John Smythe, co-founder of Engage for Change

One of the many reasons that women choose an entrepreneurial path is to replace a masculine, sometime machismo work culture characterised by presentism, relentless out of hours hospitality and one-upmanship by more collaborative and flexible business culture – which recognises that women (and some men) often have to manage other commitments around work. They find it very difficult to organise in male work cultures unless they choose and can afford to follow Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ approach. As readers will know Sandberg is COO of Facebook and wrote Lean In – essentially a guide for ambitious women on getting on in male work cultures by wearing their feminism lightly.  Dawn Foster wrote Lean Out to decry what she terms as Sandberg’s ‘trickle down feminism’.

Tamara Gillan, the founder of Cherry London, decided to lean out.  On Wednesday 6th February Tamara will tell of her experience of working in a male work culture and the subsequent establishment of Cherry London in 2009. The difference in work cultures is literally chalk and cheese.  Tamara will feature at Engage for Change’s 44th breakfast at the Groucho Club in Soho, narrating her journey from disillusion with male work cultures to the creation of a culture that accommodates other roles such as caring and parenting with flexible working hours, freedom to speak up and shorter work hours where necessary without comprising productivity. She argues it actually improves productivity.  As other female business leaders have put it to me (in the course of interviewing them for an upcoming book on women entrepreneurs), working mothers are the most productive colleagues as they know how to manage time making every minute count.  The book will be published at the end of 2019 based on around 50 interviews with women entrepreneurs. It’s aimed at women who have barely thought of themselves as their own boss and women who have but feel constrained by themselves and external forces. Whilst there will be a few bigger names most of the interviewees are on the journey and range from 25 – 75!

Tamara reminds us that women have overtaken men in the start up game and soon male work cultures will find it hard to attract and retain female talent as more attractive alternative female work cultures rise up.

Recent topics covered at the breakfasts include the future of work by HR directors from fashion house Coach and Network Rail and an academic on how ISIS engages its followers (the masters of social media).  Guests enjoy a full breakfast sit down in the company of up to a maximum of 50 attendees.  We also periscope out to around a further 200 plus.

For more information and to buy tickets click here – a charge is made to contribute to the cost of these not for profit learning and networking events, at the Groucho Club, London’s home from home for the creative industries.

by John Smythe

John Smythe is the co-founder of Engage for Change and is an expert change, engagement and communications adviser. He is also a published author in this field, and is currently working on two book projects, ‘Women Entrepreneurs – the Inside Story’, and children’s book ‘The Adventures of Harry Fox’.