International Women’s Day 2021: Veronica Hannon

By Ben Carey on 12 March, 2021

The Business Exchange is proud to support the 2021 International Women’s Day #ChooseToChallenge campaign. This year we’ve reached out to the women in our business community to hear their experiences of being a woman in business, why International Women’s Day is important to them and what they #ChooseToChallenge.

Veronica Hannon, Founder and Managing Director, Transform Communications

I #ChooseToChallenge closed mindset. 

Why is International Women’s Day important to you? 

We always need a reminder of what’s been achieved and how much is still left to do in terms of diversity, equality and inclusion. International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to reach across borders and unite, celebrate and propel us forward. To give credit to incredible women who play a life-changing role in our countries, businesses, homes and families. It’s also a day to highlight the biases and judgements that are still sadly prevalent in our society.

What do we still need to do for gender equality? 

We need to shift our mindset. This is not the responsibility of one group or segment of society. It should come from an underlying belief that all genders are equal and should have access to the same education and opportunities and be able to fulfil their true potential.

There is still a lot to do for women’s equality. Across the world there are vast differences. Research by the World Bank measured gender discrimination in 187 countries. Only six countries give women equal legal work rights as men, and only Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden scored full marks on eight indicators – from receiving a pension to freedom of movement.

What did you want to be when you were young? Have you ended up doing what you always wanted to? Has being a woman held you back?

I was blessed with incredible parents who worked internationally for peace and reconciliation. They both operated at the highest levels and I was never aware of any gender bias in my upbringing.

It’s not always the norm but I have been very fortunate in my career to have worked with highly talented senior women and men. I’ve worked in publishing, PR and marketing – sectors where there can be less of a gender divide than others. Of course, there have been differences in leadership styles but that has been often down to personality rather than gender and there were great opportunities for career progression and development for all colleagues.

What is your advice to your younger self and what are your tips to nurture the strong independent girls of the future? 

My mother once told me that in life you must have a steel backbone. You will need to bend and flex, but you should never break. A colleague described me as an ‘Iron fist in a velvet glove; sometimes too velvet’. As I’ve grown and now run my own companies I certainly need to bend and flex. And while my iron fist is rarely called for, I’m never afraid to speak directly.

Growing talented team members is a constant source of delight. We’ve got a great open culture and we share our own strengths and weaknesses. The team are very aware of mine and we work together as a collective whole where everyone brings their own strengths into play.

Follow the IWD campaign on social media using the hashtags #IWD2021 and #ChooseToChallenge.

Find out more about International Women’s Day