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  • The People Alchemist

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

“STOP IT! It’s all in your head” – Smash Your Ceiling to Smash That Ceiling

#TheWomanAlchemist is a special kind of breed: it is a woman that takes charge and responsibility of her own life and advantage of the opportunities that life presents her; even better she turns disadvantages and/or bad experiences into opportunities and successful businesses – no excuses.

“You have to be open to using your gift/s, to embrace the opportunities and change your life” – Steve Harvey – Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success.

It is all about taking ownership of your own life, not accepting no for an answer, and not letting societal, religious, and/or family paradigms determine who you can be. It is all about mindset.

Role models can shape you, motivate you, inspire you, push you, and show you what is possible. I’m passionate about inspiring/empowering/helping women in making the most of their circumstances with the tools they have available and grabbing the opportunities that life presents – without using excuses of why they can’t and providing real-life role models is critical.

I was lucky to meet and interview many women alchemist out there whilst writing my book STOP IT! It’s all in your head” (Natasha Makhijani, Rachel Dipper, Jackie Smithen, Emmajane Taylor-Moran, Karen Green, Liz Ward, Ela Slutsky & Galit Bauer, Sally Bunkham, Anne-Sophie Whitehead, Irina Bragin, Sophie Thorne, Alexandra Wall, Katie Owen, Elena Kale, Cheryl Luzet, Claire Curzon, Julie Bishop, Yasmin Vorajee, Kirsten Rees, Rachel Carrell, Ute Amann-Seidel, Anna Cousins, Jacqui Burge), women who overcame life difficulties, tragedies, survive them and became successful because of and in spite of them.

And you know what: you can do it too if you really really want to. Do you?

“Believe in yourself, You Can”, #SMASHYOURCEILING #hustle

STOP IT! It’s all in your head” is available on Amazon both in paperback and kindle.

Updated: Apr 7, 2021


Interview with Natasha Makhijani Founder & Group CEO, The Oliver Sanderson Group PLC.

This interview is an extract from the book “STOP IT! It is all in your head” available on Amazon now.

If you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best – I have not invented this phrase – you can hear it from the lips of the most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, billionaires out there. And that is the point.

You need someone who has been there, seen it, done it and got the t-shirt so to speak and you can emulate exactly what he or she has done and shortcut your way to success.

If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results” – Tony Robbins.

In January I started a feature monthly blog covering Women in Business who have inspired me in the past and in the present. These women were and are my personal choice, I have looked up to them as examples, beacons of what is possible to achieve if you are really determined; they are not perfect women by any means, but I am who I am today because of them.

They are examples that the only thing standing between you and your goals are the stories you tell yourself as to why you can’t achieve them. They were true ‘Alchemists’ turning their ‘metal into gold’, the hand they were given in to what they wanted.

There are many women alchemists out there, either working in senior positions/at the top of a corporate environment, or founders/CEO of their own successful biz and I wanted to bring these “flesh and blood women” to you in a series of interviews to inspire you to #smashthatceiling – women inspiring women.

The interviews are about their personal journey rather than the companies they work in and what these companies are doing for Women in Leadership.

You may ask why is that? Surely Big (or small) Organisations should do more to promote women in leadership positions and/or women on board’s blah blah blah…

Yes sure. I am however a great believer in personal responsibility and most importantly that mindset is everything.

I met Natasha Makhijani quite a few years ago when I was still climbing the corporate ladder and she was working for a well-known global recruiting agency and she placed me within an organisation as Head of HR. We had an immediate rapport and I realised then she was one to watch…..

Natasha eventually left and founded her own company, Oliver Sanderson, a Search & Selection agency across different disciplines and industries and has taken the company to Group/Plc. status. She was nominated for the Diversity Champion of the Year Award, Women in Logistics two years in a row.

This is a woman who gets noticed and kicks ***.

So, without further ado…

1. When you were a child what was your dream job and why?

My dream job was always to open my own business but not in recruitment but in the Asian Bridal Industry, as I am a very creative person. My dream was to open a shop east meets west in Chelsea or Knights bridge and cater for the one-stop-shop for the bridal industry from the dress, to make up to the Jewelry for the Asian, English, Arabic bride and so forth.

2. Can you tell me the time that you started to consider yourself successful?

From a young age, I was always hardworking, confident, and ambitious. I believe if you work hard and have faith you will succeed. The road may not be easy there will be ups and downs but continue and your path will change its course to success.

3. I’m sure like every business/business person you have faced adversity: how do you motivate yourself and force through the worst times?

My belief, my values, my family, and my passion for life. The fact that if I have struggled and seen the worst times which believe me I have, I pick myself up, smile, and continue as I know it is a passing phase and there is sunshine at the end of the tunnel.

4. What are the best things about your job?

My business is a people led industry, I have fun and do what I do best: change people’s lives. Working with clients and candidates and making them happy, building a relationship with them there is nothing more rewarding than this.

5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues”: what are your daily/weekly habits?

I am very focused and disciplined. I train three times a week at the gym and practice yoga, eat healthy, work long hours, and always deliver to my clients and candidates. I would say to run your own business you need to be disciplined and focus. It means sacrifice in certain areas of your life. Success comes with hard work and confidence and to never give up. It will not be handed to anyone on a plate.

6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

The most significant barrier to female leadership is that the boardroom is still very male-led although several businesses have now become very diverse. The barrier to entry is that women must balance being a business leader, a wife, a mother, and manage the house. There are some amazing women out there that have achieved all of this and some that have had to sacrifice certain aspects of their life to reach the top. The industry has opened these doors for women but I still feel a lot more support can be given. Look at how many women are lost to the world of work once they become mothers. Industry and the workplace need to make this easier for those women who would like to pursue both avenues. The Female leader should not be lost and when she reaches the top feel guilty as she cannot fulfil all her duties as a woman. She should be given support in all areas. Society is changing but we still have a long way to go.

7. What women inspire you and why?

  • Susie Robinson – VP of HR EMEA – DHL

  • Tanith Dodge – Group HRD Value Retail and ex M & S Group

  • Sharon Doherty – Vodafone Global Organisation & People Development Director

These three women are an inspiration to me now and as a young woman from my earlier career. I have watched and followed how they have managed to balance and achieve great things in their careers, professionally, personally, and be successful in the board room. A real inspiration to women across the globe. These three women are shining examples that there is nothing you cannot achieve.

8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?

Believe in yourself, You can.

9. Your instant mindfulness fix…

Yoga, peace and to smile.

10. And finally, something frivolous: the best thing about being a woman…

Handbags and Shoes. But most of all being able to have my hair and nails done every week. You don’t need to make up but if your hair looks good, nails are done and eyebrows are shaped you are ready to face the world and conquer all.

Top Takeaways from Natasha:

  • Believe in yourself, You Can.

  • Work hard and have faith.

  • In difficult times pick yourself up, smile, and continue (it will pass): there is sunshine at the end of the tunnel.

  • Love what you do and have fun with it.

  • Be focused and disciplined – success comes with hard work; nobody is going to hand it over to you on a plate.

See you, next week folks….

#SMASHTHATCEILING #TheWomanAlchemist #WomenInspiring

  • Forwarder Magazine

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Nominations for the annual Women in Logistics awards have been whittled down to a shortlist of 12 individuals and two companies as the prize-giving ceremony draws near and the competition intensifies.

There will be just four winners across the categories, which celebrate those doing the most to promote diversity across the logistics industry.

An original longlist was built as individuals nominated themselves and their peers. Judging was led by Richard Wilding, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield School of Management, who had the difficult task of selecting a shortlist, and an overall winner, in each category.

Three individuals, named the year’s most inspirational Leader, Young Woman and Diversity Champion, and one company, will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony on June 15 at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Milton Keynes.

Following the awards ceremony, there will be a celebratory ball, where logistics professionals can network in relaxed atmosphere, celebrate the year’s successes and have fun while raising money for charity.

The annual awards and charity ball are organised by Women in Logistics, which was established in 2008 to increase the number of women in the industry, improve life for those women already working in logistics and to address the gender imbalance issue.

Melanie Longman, vice chair of Women in Logistics, said: “Once more it has been our pleasure to be able to hear from women working in the logistics industry throughout the country about contributions of their own and their peers to progressing this important vision.

“We have learned there is plenty of enthusiasm and action being taken in the name of diversity and it will be an honour to celebrate those achievements at our prize-giving ceremony.”

The awards and charity ball will operate in support of the charity Transaid, for which Women in Logistics has raised £40,000 since 2008. Transaid tackles poverty and disadvantage by building transport skills and knowledge to the developing world.

Leader of the Year Award: Pauline Dawes, SOMI Trailers, Kathryn Lewis, Advanced Supply Chain, Jacqueline O’Donovan, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, Sarah Shaw, University of Hull

Young Woman of the Year Award (under 30), sponsored by DHL: Stephanie Marsh, XPO – Francesca Roberts, Pentalver – Lucy Robson, XPO – Kelly Wilson, Dynamic Medical

Diversity Champion of the Year Award (open to both women and men), sponsored by The Forton Group: Mairead Craig, Expeditors International – Jeny Hanvey, Kuehne + Nagel – Natasha Makhijani, SNAPP CV / Oliver Sanderson – Jennifer Swain, JPS

Company of the Year Award: CCEP (Coca Coca European Partners) and DHL Supply Chain

To find out more about the awards and enquire about tickets, visit

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