Antonia Swinson is an award winning business journalist and writer who became CEO of Social Enterprise Scotland in 2005. She has since worked in leadership roles on both sides of the Border, for the last three years as CEO of leading UK property advice charity the Ethical Property Foundation. (www.ethicalproperty.org.uk)
A graduate of Edinburgh University, Antonia wrote a successful weekly business column for the business section of Scotland on Sunday with regular broadcasting including Radio 4 Thought for the Day. She is a former Chair of Society of Authors in Scotland and the author of five published books, fiction and non-fiction.
My definition of a powerful woman is someone who is comfortable in her skin. Being powerful has nothing to do with being a narcissist, or trying to please everyone. It means using discernment. My role model was Hanson Plc Company Secretary Yve Newbold, a working mother who coped brilliantly. She said always to beware of things which ‘fail the sniff test’’ By that she meant corruption which you can’t quite put your finger on. Good advice because the effect on your life can be damaging if you ignore it.
Power at work is mainly an illusion – everyone has a board, shareholders, bolshy clients or competitive colleagues. Real power comes from within – and stays with you whatever happens. Build in walk away capacity: keep some money aside and carry as little personal debt as humanly possible.
What has surprised me most during my career? There is far more time than you think, to do everything you need to do. Just not all at once. If I could go back and could talk to my younger self I would say, you’re gorgeous! I would have also installed better people filters and not wasted so much energy on people who did not want the best for me. My younger self was far too good at suffering in silence. I lost my father as a child and was told to keep a ‘stiff upper lip for daddy’. All frightfully British post imperial drivel of course.
One piece of advice I’d give young women? Consider before you put any personal info on social media, just who is making money out of your life.
I’m lucky to have had the chance to bring about positive change to lots of people’s lives, both during my time as a writer and campaigning journalist and for the last 12 years as a CEO in the third sector, latterly as a social entrepreneur. My organisation has just launched the fairplace Award, an ethical workplace accreditation which is now taking off with big corporates and creating real change in the workplace. www.fairplaceaward.com Income from fairplace supports our charitable mission providing expert property advice to non-profits. In the last 3 years we have supported 978 organisations and indirectly their 4,5m.beneficiaries.
I wish Her Invitation Scotland every success. The sky’s the limit and this is our time.
Is this you time? Are you searching for strategies to dare to accomplish great things?
Then lets connect. How Dare She offers empowerment workshops, coaching and business mentoring.