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 was very lucky to have Dame Tessa Jowell as a mentor. She achieved so much during her time in Government – most notably her work for the Olympics and creating 3,000 SureStart Children's Centres. Tessa was a great listener, she worked hard to bring people on board to support her work and she rolled up her sleeves to get stuff done. She remains an inspiration.

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?

Women are better represented in a number of different sectors, including STEM – and we are seeing increasing numbers at the top too. There is (rightly) a lot more scrutiny of companies to see progress on reducing any gender pay gap.  

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

Build your network. It’s never too early to connect with lots of different people at all levels on your chosen career path.  More often than not, if you ask someone to go for a coffee and have a career conversation, they will want to say yes and help you. Make sure you always say thank you and follow up.

How do you build your inner resilience?

I count myself fortunate to be pretty resilient and I don’t take it for granted. I have a support structure (in lovely family and friends) that helps, and I’m very aware that not everyone has. Our mental health and wellbeing is not a novelty or fad, it matters, and we have to look after it.

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

Not to be complacent. We have already seen women carry a disproportionate burden of the pandemic, such as taking on homeschool and additional caring responsibilities, along with extra domestic work. We can’t allow this regression to become permanent.

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

You can’t do it all.  Don’t spread yourself too thinly. Become known for one or two things and do them really, really well.

About Luciana Berger

Luciana Berger is Managing Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy, specialising in health, food and drink, climate change, and energy policy.