This interview is part of the series #Smashthatceiling #womeninspiringwomen , an insight in some successful female leaders/role models and their mindset and an extract from the book "STOP IT! It is all in your head" available on Amazon now.
This is week I have the pleasure of interviewing Liz Ward , Principal at Virtuoso Legal , an award winning practice she set up in 2007 to deal with the specialist requirements of companies for intellectual property and information technology legal advice. She has now led this field for 10 years and continues to push the envelope with her work.
Liz has built up her enviable reputation due to her exceptional ability as a knowledgeable litigator with great commercial awareness and understanding.. An expert in the healthcare and technology sectors ( she has a 1st degree in Genetics and Cell Biology and 10 year healthcare business experience ) she has advised all manner of clients in commercialising their IP assets, and her practice has set the gold standard in carrying out company IP audits
Liz is qualified as a supervising solicitor for search and seizure Orders and has helped other solicitors who need a suitably qualified person to oversee such searches. If this is not enough, Liz also lectures and assists with electronic disclosure and theft of electronic information by employees and others.
Definitely #TheWomanAlchemist, a role model - women inspiring women - and I love her no-nonsense attitude and sense of humour :-)
1. When you were a child what was your dream job and why?
When I was a child I wanted to be a nurse and then a doctor. I was influenced by my Mum who was a District Nurse and Midwife. I wanted to help people and I saw how satisfying that is from my Mum’s work.
2. Can you tell me the time that you started to consider yourself successful?
I considered myself successful when I qualified as a lawyer. I’d completed the training as well as working doing another career and I then qualified into a big law firm at the time, which was a very difficult thing to achieve. Lots of well-qualified and talented people never got jobs as trainees so they never got to become solicitors at all. Some of those who did didn’t get a great training either so I knew how lucky I’d been to get to where I was.
3. I’m sure like every business/business person you have faced adversity: how do you motivate yourself and force through the worst times?
I’m really into mindset and keeping focused on a goal. It is easy to get distracted so I get my music on and go outside and do what is called my chain of excellence. Also like many people, I’ve had some major challenges, which always serve as useful reference points to call on for strength when the going gets tough.
4. What are the best things about your job?
The variety and constant challenge of the law. I love helping people and putting £££ on their business! In fact, I just love business. It fascinates and stimulates me.
5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues” : what are you daily/weekly habits?
My daily habits include walking and listening to music. I’m a big Tony Robbins fan! I’m also a fan of healthy eating, looking after your body, mind and soul. I’m an eternal optimist too which helps. Those are my daily habits although I do sometimes slip – especially when I’m not in my usual routine.
6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The barriers are different for everyone but many women like to achieve balance rather than overall leadership, and so sacrifice career achievements in order to serve their families better. You can have it all but generally not all at the same time! For many women their mindset shifts when they have children to think about. It is natural phenomenon – why should we not be proud to put our children first? They’re our legacy and their welfare is important for future generations. Leadership takes 100% commitment and so women are put off it, as they know they can’t or rather don’t want to give 100% to one thing in their lives.
7. What women inspire you and why?
I’m inspired by strong women such as Christine Lagarde, Benazir Bhutto, Sheryl Sandberg, Margaret Thatcher and Shirley Williams.
8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?
You are beautiful – now get on with it and ignore the naysayers!
9. Your instant mindfulness fix…
Looking to the skies and saying a short prayer that starts with thank you Lord. Show me the way please.
10. And finally something frivolous: best thing about being a woman…
Clothes. Shoes. Handbags. Makeup!! Oh and sex. LOL
Who said lawyers can't be fun ..... ;-p
Top Takeaways from Liz
Leadership takes 100% commitment
Keep focused on your goal – it is easy to get distracted.
Challenges serve as useful reference points to call on your strengths.
You are beautiful – now get on with it and ignore the nawsayers!
Look after your body, mind and soul
See you next week for another interview in the series, thanks for reading x