By Hannah Connolly
n partnership with Squarespace, the all-in-one platform with everything to sell anything, we caught up with thirteen groundbreaking creators on how they celebrate the achievements of women this month and every month, how their companies contribute to meaningful and lasting change and what they would like to see different in the world this time next year.
These creators, like every woman, are literally writing history in their own unique ways every single day. In fact, Squarespace is making its own history, with an executive team of a 50/50 split with women holding their CFO and CMO positions amongst others. A board structure for the history books considering women account for just one in five C-suite positions.
Squarespace aims to help anyone with a creative idea stand out and succeed - and women of all backgrounds use the platform to share their stories. With a united mission to help raise awareness around wage inequality, Squarespace is offering The Stack World Members 15% off a new, annual website subscription - a percentage that represents the average wage discrepancy between women and men in the UK.
Read on to discover what celebrating women's achievements looks like to these founders and their missions to continue breaking the bias...
Tiwalola Ogunlesi is a globally recognised coach specialising in positive psychology, sharing the skills to align with your most powerful self. Check out Tiwalola’s Squarespace site here: Confident & Killing It
Breaking the bias has to happen on an individual and societal level. We can't always control what life throws at us or how people will treat us but we can control our thoughts, feelings, perspective and actions. With Confident and Killing It, I focus on helping individuals, particularly women, build confidence so they don't get stuck in fear, people-pleasing and unrealistic standards of perfectionism.
I think men are often given the benefit of the doubt, people assume they'll be good leaders unless proven otherwise whereas for women it tends to be the opposite. People assume that we're not capable, that we can't lead and so we need to fight to prove ourselves once we step into the room. As a Black woman, I've had to go the extra mile many times in my career and work harder than my peers to get the same recognition.
However, I didn't let those situations knock my confidence. I constantly remind myself that regardless of what the world thinks of me, I am always good enough and always capable. When people try to limit my potential I'll remember that my opinion of myself matters more than what other people think so negative stereotypes don't have the power to define me…unless you allow it, and I won't!
All women can relate to having to work 10 times harder to be taken seriously and prove ourselves, our worth and our skills as a leader. This is true for all industries and pertains to all levels of expertise - we are often made to feel like we’re being taken for granted. It can truly break you, which is why I find female resilience to be an extremely admirable quality.
50% of the world’s population are women. If you only account for the buying power of half the world’s population, you’re not seeing the bigger picture - because they all have mothers. There is a woman behind each business leader, who made them who they are. And there are hundreds of women who make their business what it is. A celebration on Women’s History Month is key because it means recognising that and pledging to continuously do better.
Kim Darragon is a marketing and events consultant specialising in helping a range of small businesses, startups and ambitious entrepreneurs. Check out Kim’s Squarespace site here: Kim Does Marketing
Last September I joined The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN) as an advisor to provide support to refugee entrepreneurs. As the daughter of a Laotian refugee who fled to France in the 1970s, I understand how challenging it can be to build a new life in a new country, learn a new language, culture, get a job or start a business, and then work hard to be respected and integrated into a new society.
The biggest challenge women face today is the challenge of choice. It's 2022 and yet so many women still aren't allowed to make decisions for themselves. It's about the freedom for women to choose who they become and what they want for themselves. Having more and more women in positions of power will be a major step in addressing these issues.
Having worked for retail giants including Next, Arcadia and Urban Outfitters for over 15 years, Elizabeth Stiles now shares her knowledge with hundreds of clients empowering women in the creative industries. Check out Elizabeth’s Squarespace site here: Elizabeth Stiles
I’m the only girl in my family. With four brothers, I was raised from a young age to believe women can be financially independent. It was something that my mum ingrained in me because she was financially dependent on my dad despite being divorced.
I want to show creative women it is possible to financially independent. Whenever I have studied and worked in the fashion industry women have always dominated the workforce, including women in positions of power. It gave me a good stance to see it is possible and to show others too, especially if you are looking at getting into the creative industry and perhaps your day to day life is more corporate.
From my experience working with clients, the number one problem now is self-belief and knowing that what they want to do is completely possible. It's about getting out of their own way in order to fulfil their potential. It is so obvious how much women can achieve but sometimes being able to hold that mirror up to yourself and seeing that within yourself is a different story. This is why community is so important.
Ebuni Ajiduah is a certified Trichologist and hairstylist who helps clients bettter understand and solve hair loss issues. Check out Ebuni's Squarespace site here: Ebuni Ajiduah Hair
I love gassing up my friends or any woman I see killing it. Being loud and blowing your own trumpet is hard, so where I can I will shout for them.
I initially wanted to say my biggest achievement in the last 12 months was just keeping my business running but we are over being humble. I have consistently increased profits and signed 3 brand deals plus I got featured in an exhibition at my local museum.
There are so many women who have played a massive role in getting me to where I am today. I am especially grateful for the ones who say my name in rooms I can’t get to. I think women in the workplace can get a really bad rep but honestly, even if you don’t realise it, there is often a woman fighting for you to get everything you deserve.”
Rebekah Clark is a writer and storyteller committed to audience engagement through compelling narratives that celebrate meaningful work. Working with brands and individuals to shine a spotlight on their missions. Check out Rebekah's Squarespace site here: Rebekah Clark
It’s always important to acknowledge and celebrate the wins as and when they happen. I share my news with my trusted circle of confidantes and cheerleaders. I also make a note of them so I can look back at the end of each year and see these wins – big and small.
My biggest achievement has been to keep going even when things didn’t work out as planned. Last year I was focused on raising a pre-seed round for my children’s wellbeing business. I didn’t successfully close the round, but rather than down tools and give up, I took it as an opportunity to review what was working, explore what more I could achieve whilst bootstrapping, and most importantly, what was bringing me joy.
I am surrounded by incredible women I am constantly inspired by and I want to celebrate the tenacious ‘wonderwomen’ in my life. We all have our own individual dreams, and often those dreams aren’t easy to realise. Whether it’s getting a new business off the ground, trying to get pregnant with a much longed-for baby, or coming to terms with personal trauma to start living a happier and healthy life. These are the women I honour. I see you, and I think you’re amazing!
Founded by Melis Erdem, Mother Tongue offers a curation of unique objects from jewellery to homeware. Operating as a platform shining a light on the creative talent of Turkey. Check out Melis's Squarespace site here: Mother Tongue
I founded Mother Tongue to show women, who not only have immense technical skill, but also the creative vision, that their work should not be taken for granted, even if they create it while sitting in front of the TV.
When it comes to my career, I, like most women, have been navigating a world of condescendence, objectification and sometimes outright harassment, all because of my gender. But I also overcome so many barriers because I'm a woman; I have a strong community of women around me who lift each other up, not only when we fall but also when we thrive.
Theresa Olloh is the founder of Hamalie, an e-commerce platform to discover and shop artisanal and contemporary pieces by African brands and independent makers. Check out Theresa's Squarespace site here: Hamalie
I have an amazing group of female friends and we are really supportive of each other for just being ourselves and our achievements. I like spotlighting and sharing women's stories I'm inspired by on social media and in-person as well. I'm not one to shy away from highlighting women's achievements in person whenever I meet them. I believe it is important to give people their roses while they can feel appreciated.
My biggest achievement in the last 12 months was that I was selected to join the Design Museum's Entrepreneurs Hub first cohort and I got to present my business to a large audience for the first time. It was nerve-racking but I killed it.
I want to celebrate the incredible women in my family and my friends for simply being who they are. They know themselves. Today and every day, I'll celebrate them.
Hannah Rankine is a life coach, writer, speaker and content creator. Having worked in communications for 7 years across luxury fashion and lifestyle, Hannah now focuses on positive change through coaching. Check out Hannah's Squarespace site here: Hannah Rankine
42% of women are experiencing burnout. Beyond this hurdle of extreme exhaustion, women typically find it more difficult to shine at work without in-person interaction and therefore aren’t pushing for promotions and, ultimately, are not receiving them as they sit stuck, unseen and deflated behind their monitor.
My mission is to empower ambitious people to enjoy success without sacrificing the well-being of the rest of their lives. I offer tools to individuals who have big dreams but are struggling to thrive. It’s important for leaders to show what healthy boundary setting looks like as we can’t be what we can’t see.
Archaic, patriarchal systems still exist in the workplace. Even in seemingly progressive industries with directors who like to throw around buzz words like ‘diversity’ and ‘equal opportunity’, I have witnessed them applaud boundary breakers creating unprecedented systems to support the women in their workforce all the while they don’t even offer a maternity package.
Joyann Boyce is the founder of Arima & Co, a marketing consultancy working with brands to convert intent into action and establish inclusivity into their strategy. Working with a variety of clients like Coke, Adobe and Nationwide. Check out Joyann's Squarespace site here: Arima & Co
Outside of spotlighting the amazing women in the industry, I like to celebrate women by talking about them in everyday spaces. Mentioning their achievements and accomplishments to people in my life kept the momentum of their greatness spotlighted all year round.
It’s important to keep celebrating as we have a deficit in recognition of the work women do, especially the work of Black and disabled women. Next year I would like companies to present the data alongside the celebration of women. I’d like to know the movement they’ve made to close the gender pay gap, to increase women in senior positions and representation of all types of women within their marketing. I want to see that brands are making as much effort to pay women fairly as they are to celebrate them.
My biggest achievement is not only being able to survive as a small business owner during the pandemic but also I’ve been able to rebrand and grow. Expanding my team, developing a software and completing a Master's in data science are all things I’m proud of. All of this equates to moving closer to my mission of making an inclusive market in the industry standard. The past 12 months have been amazing and I’m grateful I’m also excited for the future.
After 20 years of working in the retail industry and seeing women not reach the top, Anna Woods swapped out the boardroom and became an accredited executive coach with a mission to help women rise. Check out Anna's Squarespace site here: Anna Woods
In almost every system we operate in, be it work, business, politics or culture, there is a man wielding the ultimate power. Gender inequality and power is stubbornly persistent and decisions taken by those with the true power tend to perpetuate issues rather than accelerate solutions.
Before becoming a coach I was a Buying Director in retail which is notoriously unbalanced in terms of power and gender dynamics. 68% of the workforce are female, we make 85% of all purchasing decisions and yet only 6% get to be CEO.
The Hampton Alexander Review sets a voluntary target for FTSE 350 companies to increase women’s representation to at least 40% of both boards and leadership teams by the end of 2025. Why isn’t the target 50% when women make up 51% of the population? If we don’t share power it’s very difficult to affect change.
Noël Duan is a multidisciplinary, writer, creative, philanthropist and entrepreneur working with the likes of Allure, Vogue and New York Magazine. Check out Noël's Squarespace site here: Noël Duan
I’m a big fan of showing up — I have a spreadsheet of all my friends’ companies and whenever I need to make a purchase, I check whether I could shop from my friends first. I try to attend as many events as possible featuring my friends or organised by my friends. We’re all super busy people, so making time to recognise the people in your life is a celebration in itself.
Both my grandmothers were illiterate and now I have a master’s degree from Oxford University and have been published in several books. When I look at what I’ve achieved in comparison to my ancestors’ lives, I know that this is all circumstantial—I’m not smarter or harder working than my grandmothers. But I have been able to embrace opportunities beyond their wildest dreams because of progress in gender and racial equality.
Kim Fraser is the founder of Half Baked London, a luxury swimwear company inspired by Fraser’s travels. Designs are imbued with ease, sensuality, modernity and care – each piece is made of lightweight fabrics with UV protection. Check out Kim's Squarespace site here: Half Baked London
Achievements should always be celebrated. We work hard to get where we want to be and being celebrated for that is nice. I am guilty of not actually taking the time out to really sit back and appreciate and celebrate, it’s like, amazing, I'm doing great but now I’ve got to get stuck back in. When the day comes that I put together a workforce, celebrating our achievements is going to be a thing.
I’ve been going through a transformation and I have to say I’ve worked as hard as I ever have over the last year or 2. The difference between then and now is I genuinely believe that anything is possible for me. I still have those niggling self-doubt moments but I can see them for what they are. In the last year I have really put myself out there, something I shied away from for so long, my confidence has grown massively and I’m ready for the next big step.
I celebrate all women. I am particularly proud of the group of women I’ve connected with recently. We’re all in similar boats at the moment and have similar struggles and we’re constantly cheering each other on. It’s a beautiful thing. These are the women I share my wins with, and the women I share my lows with too.
Powering Change with Squarespace: How these pioneering founders mark the wins and make a difference every day.
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