Introducing Table Topics – Each month here at Talking Tables we are discussing interesting and important points of discussion, inviting members from all teams and offices to take part and share their thoughts on key tenets of the company, brand and business generally.
Last week we invited three women from the team to chat, who each play pivotal roles in the business, and are each based in different offices around the world. Helen from the Talking Tables London office, Brenda from the Shanghai office and Tracy from the US office all joined a zoom call to discuss 3 key questions relating to 3 of Talking Tables’ brand tenets: women in business, sustainability and nurturing new talent.
1. As a female working for an international business which business woman do you most admire, and have you learnt anything from them that you apply to your day to day life?
Tracy – My choice would be Martha Stewart. I’ve chosen her as she initially began her career with her cooking and crafting shows - creating memories from everyday items, making them accessible to a wide audience. She then diversified her skillset and market with other industries, such as fashion. She’s an 80 year old with a partnership with Snoop dog! She has truly made herself an icon through her experiences.
Brenda – I would say Carly Fiorina, who was the first female CEO in HP, with her own talk-show. She inspires me whenever I am facing any blockers in my worklife. She attempted to go for election in 2015 and hugely inspired women to study and fight for their rights.
Helen – My inspiration is Karen Brady. She was born and raised in London and went into business at 22 working for a premier league football club. She is a powerful woman in a male orientated industry, which I think is really brave. That desire to make it is amazing!
2. Sustainability is very important at Talking Tables – how does your country manage sustainability and being kind to the planet?
Brenda –Here in Shanghai we are encouraged as a whole society to be sustainable and protect the environment. There have been new regulations published to reduce pollution and use less power, and more support is being given to enable us to save energy and use environmental companies. We are also encouraged to use public transport, and the Government reward people for using things like battery vehicles.
Helen- It’s similar here in the UK. Every home has recycle bins, and most products can be recycled – there’s a real push for everyone to play their part. Electric cars are being promoted with the Government setting out a 25 year plan to reduce emissions and plastic waste in the ocean. The aim is to reduce waste by 80%. Retailers are rolling out reusable bags and plastic from their own labels – I think they have a big part to play as consumers look to them to be influential.
Tracy – It’s a bit of a juxtaposition in the states, some are doing great with sustainability but for example on the east coast with a lots of tourist destinations there are a huge amount of street sellers selling plastic water to tourists. There’s so much to it and it’s a much wider conversation that everyone should be speaking about. We weren’t taught much about it at school so I hope the younger generations are taught this.
3. What are your thoughts on nurturing new talent in business and do you know any young people aspiring to grow in business?
Helen – In the London office we’ve recently had 2 interns join us who are graduates. I think it was important for Talking Tables to give them the opportunity and valuable experience and a flavour of business. Businesses should offer internships to give valuable experience as it is tough when you leave studies. When I left university it was much easier to get a foot in the door.
Tracy –My university had some great programmes to gain experience and see all aspects of a business, I had a great time in with a company where I worked in various departments from buying to PR to shooting. It showed me that I love sales much more, and enjoy customer service much more than the factories. How else will you know what you want to do! At talking Tables people move and join different teams and it’s beneficial to the company as well as individuals. Covid has made us more nimble as we’ve had no other choice.
Brenda – I remember interning at a small trading company and learnt a lot in different departments. It was a small company but everyone was able to learn each area of the business, which was so beneficial.