What does the idea of being radical mean to you? For me, radical means that you are not afraid, that you’re kind of fearless to look at new connections, new solutions and new opportunities. That you can take a stepped back look at the entire picture and come up with holistic solutions that might involve things that others might not necessarily have thought about, that might not be obvious and then propose them and not be afraid to propose them.
Which radical women in business do you admire the most? The woman that I admire most in business is my Dutch grandmother. She passed away, but she was an amazing business woman. She started her camping business with her husband in 1949, which she built it up to a leisure centre. Her Husband died 10 years after that and she lost 3 of her 4 children, but despite it all, she built this empire with swimming pools and bowling lanes and shops and she really was a pioneer in the leisure centre world and got a lot of recognition for that as well . She achieved so much, just by pure willingness. She wasn’t allowed to study, she wanted to be a vet, but that's the time she came from.
Is radical behaviour easier for women or men in business? I have the impression that it is a bit easier to be radical for women, because their brains might be wired to think of a lot of things at the same time anyway. And I also think that in general, women might care more about the outcome of projects and that’s why they are willing to take risks, while men see projects as part of their career and are less brave…maybe.
What is the most radical thing you have done in business? In my career I’ve changed a lot of career paths and lot of directions. In my personal business I dare to take those risks, to change radically what I was doing. In the jobs that I have had, I’ve never been afraid to come up with radical solutions. When I was a mass produced, product engineer, I designed a pipe clasp, which is quite a boring product, but I came up with a locking system based on jewellery that totally transformed our product. I think seeing different opportunities and seeing different fields and bringing them together to solve solutions is the general red line in my career, but I’ve always been quite radical.
How do businesses need to evolve to support radical women? I think that businesses in general should listen more to women. And listen more thoroughly to what they are actually saying, because a lot of businesses, as soon as a woman starts talking (and it is not what they expect) they kind of cut her off and say “no, no, no”. I think that businesses should be more open to what people are saying and more willing to try things out so that they can prove that actually it’s valuable what they are saying.
April Taylor, Brand & Marketing Consultant at The Shard, Westfield, Lendlease and 22 Bishopsgate