Inside Edelman is an ongoing series that spotlights our colleagues who are doing extraordinary work across our network. This year's International Women's Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge and we’ll be spotlighting our female leaders, discovering how they build inner resilience and advice they'd give to future leaders.

Who is a woman you admire and why?

I’ve been very lucky to have strong female role models within my own family. From my grandmother, who was one of a handful of women to qualify and practice as a dentist in India in the 1960s, to my mother who began a second career as a teacher in her forties. I admire them for their hard work, grit, and determination and for showing me that being a woman and having a family shouldn’t be a barrier when it comes to building a fulfilling career.  

With the status quo being challenged more and more, in the past 10 years, what have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed for women?

There has a been huge change in the past 10 years when it comes to representation in business. More than a third of board members across the FTSE 350 are women for the first time ever and I can really see this in my day-to-day interactions. At the start of my career, it was quite typical for me to be the only woman in an advisor meeting but I’m pleased to say that this is a rare occurrence these days.

What advice do you have for a woman starting her career?

I think this applies to everyone at the beginning of their career, but being curious and enthusiastic to learn new things really is critical for success. Whether you use this enthusiasm to grow your area of expertise or connect with new people through networking, it will help you stand out and create opportunities for you to develop your career.

How do you build your inner resilience?

This has certainly been tested in the past year! I find the best way to get through difficult periods is to focus on the things which are within your control and to identify things that aren’t and to try(!) and let them go.

What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?

I think it’s easy for women entering the workforce to believe that we’ve already reached gender parity based on the recent conversations about women in the workplace. Unfortunately, you just have to look at the gender pay gap to see that this isn’t the case. We need to continue to improve the workplace to ensure that it works for both genders, but to do this effectively, we also need to reshape the role of men and women at home to ensure that women are not picking up the lion’s share of domestic duties including childcare.

What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received in your career?

Have a career path in mind but be flexible and open to opportunities that arise as they may well take you down a different route and help to accelerate your career.

About Latika Shah

Latika Shah is Director at Edelman Smithfield.