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An inspired woman

For International Women’s Day the Managing Consultant of our Paris office, Annie Hurley, reflects on who inspires her most.

For International Women’s Day the Managing Consultant of our Paris office, Annie Hurley, reflects on who inspires her most.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, I’ve been asked to think about who or what inspires me most.

With this in mind, it’s tempting to go for the Sheryl Sandbergs of this world. Highly-accomplished and respected torch-bearer for women in business, caring mother of two, and so on. But while it’s impossible not to admire Sandberg’s achievements, I find myself looking elsewhere for inspiration.

Like many things in my life at the moment, there’s a link to digital technology. We use it to order food, go on dates, book and rate babysitters, and a myriad of other activities. In a world where digital technology is everywhere, we increasingly expect to have our every need satisfied in real time.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our quality of life has improved no-end as a result. However, as this trends continues, our expectations will only likely increase, and we become “higher maintenance”!

I find I’m most inspired by people that haven’t experienced this instant gratification, instead tackling overwhelming challenges to achieve great things.

Personal inspirations

There are a million possible examples, but one that best embodies this is Simone Veil. Little-known outside France, Veil is a household name here in Paris.

A lawyer and politician, Veil’s adult life began in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she lost several members of her family. She managed to overcome this to build a successful career in government, holding a number of high-ranking positions over four decades. In doing so, she gained the respect of the male-dominated political scene in France, as well as the general public.

As a woman, I’m inspired by British inventor and industrial designer Sir James Dyson. While he (fairly obviously) isn’t a woman, I’m inspired by his conviction in his ideas. Dyson made 5,127 prototypes over the course of 15 years before hitting on the patented design that enabled him to establish the Dyson company as a reference consumer brand worldwide.

A great example that you should really believe in the things you’re passionate about and above all, to not bail out at the first hurdle (or indeed the 5,127th).

So the next time my Uber Eats sushi turns up late, I’ll remember not to lose sight of the things that really matter. And above all, never give up!

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