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How to be a Successful Leader – Ladies that UX November 2016

I was lucky to nab myself a ticket to the highly coveted Ladies that UX Finding Your Leadership Style event last night at the Digitas LBi offices off Brick Lane.



With a full-house, Sophie Mitchell (@smitchio) kicked off the night, thanking Foolproof for organising the event and Digitas LBi for hosting.

The panel included Caroline Austen, Head of Digital Experience at Aldermore Bank (@caz841), Rakhi Rajani, Global Director, Customer Experience and Design at Travelex (@rakhi) and Hayley Sudbury, Founder & CEO of WERKIN (@hayleysudbury).

Amy Shore, UX Consultant at Foolproof (@ishoream) was a fantastic panel organiser, asking really interesting and considered questions to delve into the ladies’ leadership journeys so far.


Here are the top tips shared by Caroline, Rakhi and Hayley on their experience of being a leader.


  • You have to fundamentally believe in what you’re designing / working on.
  • To be a good leader you need to find strengths in people that should be nurtured.
  • Listen to people in the team to better understand their motivations.
  • There will always be times of uncertainty, but if you can absorb that feeling of uncertainty on to provide structure for the team it will make you a better leader.
  • It’s as much about the physical space you create to help people develop in the team.
  • Deal with ambiguity and influence people.
  • It’s ok to say ‘I don’t have all the answers and I don’t know’.
  • Be in a work environment that is healthy for you; surround yourself with mentors and work to your passion.
  • Know when you can change a situation, and when you are better off leaving it.
  • Know you have the power to leave the situation.
  • Nothing is ever perfect.
  • Surround yourself with a network of entrepreneurs and business advisors, take on their feedback and keep the network alive.
  • Pressure keeps you alive.
  • Your should never lose your sense of responsibility.
  • You need to be up for the challenge of being a leader.
  • Treat people how you would like to be treated.
  • The way you approach and handle difficult situations says a lot about you.
  • You don’t have to be in charge of people to be a leader.
  • A leader is not necessarily the person who shouts the loudest in the room.
  • Find the right way to tell your story to get people onboard.
  • It’s all about relationships and connecting with people.
  • How to deal with challenges? Stand yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from them.
  • Focus on creating the right environment, culture and relationships before you start delivering anything.
  • Be clear and confident in who you are.
  • Have difficult conversations and learn to give feedback more regularly.
  • It is so important to build rapport in first 90 days of a new role.
  • Listen, learn and absorb.


Thanks again to all of those involved in the organisation of another thoroughly enjoyable Ladies that UX event. We will be collaborating with the group to run the annual January careers event – look forward to seeing you all there!

If you want to get ahead of the curve and start your job search before the rush in January – feel free to get in touch for advice or to discuss our current opportunities –

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