Why Women Collaborating ‘Isn’t a Soft Skill, It’s a Superpower’ – Margaret Heffernan

Margaret Heffernan. Image: mheffernan.com

Dr Margaret Heffernan has had a colourful career. She started out in media production and went on to become an entrepreneur and write six books about business and leadership.

By Lisa Ardill for Silicon Republic

Now, she mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organisations.

Lisa Ardill got the chance to chat to Heffernan when she spoke at the Talent Summit 2020, taking to the event’s virtual stage with leaders from NASA, Aon and Shopify, among others.

Heffernan first began writing when she entered the technology industry. “When I worked in tech, there were very, very few women. And I think I eventually met one other female CEO in the course of 10 years.”

“And it really provoked a lot of my thinking about how women were thinking about their careers, and how men were thinking about women’s careers.”

Her books focused on that very thing, looking at women entrepreneurs and “how and why we ignore the obvious”.

“And I think one of the obvious things we ignore is the failure to advance women’s careers,” she added.

A moment of realization

Before her time as an author, Heffernan worked in broadcasting at the BBC for 13 years. She left that job to get her “first taste” of running a business, which she found “tremendously liberating” and continued to do for the next 20 years.

When her husband got a job at Harvard, they relocated to the US and Heffernan found her way into the emerging scene of multimedia and technology. “That’s how I got into tech. I started and ran three companies and I just had a fantastic time and I kept doing it because I loved it.

“So, it was all very unplanned and unstructured – very improvised. But I’m pleased and lucky when I say that I never really did anything that I didn’t enjoy or find a way to enjoy.”

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