Meet the authors
We’re so excited to see the launch of Wonder Women next week.
Sharing inspiring stories and insightful interviews from pioneering women in marketing today, we were lucky enough to catch up with the authors, Giles and Katy to ask them a few questions about the book and their co-writing experience!
Why did you want to write this book?
Giles: The inspiration for writing the book followed a conversation with one of my sons. Callum is a singer/songwriter who fronts The Blue Highways, an Americana band. He had written a song about a man who had lost his wife and is struggling to move on. It’s written very much from his point of view. I asked him how he felt about writing a song from a woman’s perspective and whether he had done any like this before. He hadn’t. We talked about the challenge it posed. Then Callum turned the tables and asked me, “Of all the brand stories you’ve told or had published in your books, how many of them have a female protagonist?”
It was only 15%. It made me decide to do something to redress the balance.
But as I thought about it more, I knew I needed to have a woman’s perspective and reached out to my former colleague and friend, Katy Mouisnho.
Katy: I’m fascinated by the Suffragettes and grateful for their fight for the vote; I believe in equal opportunity, recognition and rewards; and in accordance with Gloria Steinman’s theory, I’ve become more activist with age and experience!
I grew up in the 70s, the era of Women’s Lib and believed that women had equal opportunities – didn’t we? I started work in the 80s and believed that women could ‘have it all’ – couldn’t we?
So, when Giles asked me to co-author a book to celebrate the success of women in marketing, I didn’t hesitate – yes, was my answer. My mantra (according to Eleanor Roosevelt) is to ‘do one thing every day that scares you’ – so writing a book has certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. Most of all, I have loved being able to shine the light on so many of the Wonder Women all around us.
Giles, This is your 8th book but the first you have ever co-written, how did they go?
Giles: It went really well, there is a great deal of mutual respect between Katy and I which meant we really listen to each other’s ideas and points of view. We have similar but still different perspectives on things. Our minds are wired slightly differently so we could complement, build and challenge each other. I would probably have just written another book of stories, but Katy brought the idea of doing the interviews which I think helps provide a different way of getting personal histories. The conclusions we wrote together, I think Katy did the first draft, I did an edit and build. After comments from the editor, I tweaked it and passed it on to Katy. It was joint effort. So, all in all I really enjoyed it.
Katy: I think it was much easier for me; I was able to learn from Giles’ experience as an author, he had already sold the idea to the publisher, so I didn’t have to go through all those hoops; and we had already worked together at The Value Engineers, so knew we would have different opinions and ideas but that we’d get to a better place through diversity of thinking.
Over the course of writing the book, what was the most interesting/inspiring thing you learned?
Giles: It comes from the story of Brownie Wise. Brownie who you might say?
In 1956, the Houston Post reported: “It has been estimated that Brownie Wise has helped more women to financial success than any other single living person.”
She was not only the women who transformed Tupperware into the iconic brand it become, but it transformed the lives of so many women allowing them, in a very male dominated society, to be employed, yet not appear to challenge their husbands’ authority or the status quo.
Katy: I’m inspired by the huge number of women I didn’t even know about and am honoured to be able to shine a light on them. There are so many amazing female role models that both women and men can learn from and give us confidence.
One of my favourites is the story of Nathalie Molina Nino, CEO of Brava Investments – Women can’t eat pretty prink headlines. Nathalie is a master of storytelling and the soundbite, but what makes her stand out for me is her mission to invest in companies that benefit women.
What is your vision for the future for women in marketing?
Giles: For them to genuinely get treated equally and fairly, particular in regard to pay, regard and promotion, for feminine and masculine ways of thinking to be seen as important and so combined. Also, for motherhood and indeed parenthood to be seen as something that often helps ‘build’ better leaders.
Katy: Many of the more feminine characteristics such as empathy, intuition, communication & collaboration, staying real & grounded, are hugely relevant and valuable in the context of marketing and world of branding. These characteristics deserve prominence and respect. Blend them together with masculine characteristics and we have an amazing recipe for success.