Women Who Rock: Carrie Rubin on Giving Women The Tools To Succeed

Carrie Rubin, U.S. president and director at Pentland Group Plc, talks about overcoming obstacles and mentoring the next generation.

On a challenges early in her career: “In 1981, when I went to Asia for the first time, I had a mind-blowing experience of being treated differently. I was 21, and there were a few things going on: I was the boss’ daughter, and I was female, so the [factory] execs didn’t want to deal with me to begin with. Then they wouldn’t negotiate with me. I found someone in our office who became my mentor. He would be the face and work with the factories — it was unbelievable. It’s changed a lot since then.

On why being the leader isn’t for everyone: “Those who don’t want to be the leader — it’s perfectly acceptable not to be. You should not make someone feel bad just because they don’t want to be the chairman or the president or whatever.”

On why more women need to help each other: “There are many women who don’t help and don’t mentor. It’s up to us to help young women and give them the tools – whatever the tools are. It’s also important for people to know they can be feminine as a leader. You don’t have to be unfeminine.”

On work-life balance: “I’m not very good at balancing. I’ve grown up in a family business where we sit around a table [every week]. The conversation [about business] doesn’t end.”

On empowering the next generation: “I’m on the board of London College of Fashion and Cordwainers. One of the great things we do is have [seasoned executives] do master classes at the schools or have students go to offices and have work competitions. We should be doing more.”

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