Supporting Other Women With Aileen Allkins

Aileen Allkins is Vice President for HP's Global Software Support organization.

What woman do you most admire? What has she taught you?

Margaret Thatcher, the first and so far only female prime minister for the UK. She served for nearly 12 years, the longest serving PM in over 100 years and longer than even Churchill. She was someone who was admired by many but also hated by many. What I most admired about her was that she was not afraid to make very tough decisions and stand by them even if it made her a very unpopular person. She was a formidable character who stood by her principles and decisions, which is a very difficult thing to do when it’s very unpopular.

What would you say is the most "daring" move you've made in your career? What did you learn from that experience?

For a brief period I set up my own business and became a self-employed consultant. It was a huge step to give up a salary and be responsible for both winning my own business and then delivering the work. It taught me to be very focused on the longer term as I needed to ensure that I had plans to secure sufficient ongoing business. Only focusing on what I had on my plate today was not going to give me long-term success.

How do you think women can support other women on their path to success?

I definitely believe women need support as we are still the minority when it comes to the general workforce and certainly at leadership levels. I have personally found that something as simple as being a sounding board to someone and helping them move beyond their insecurities has helped many women. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you can do it. I also think we can help women expand their networks.

Any tips for work/life integration?

Only to accept that it's hard. Even for women who make it look easy, we generally have people to help us. I would say recognize that you cannot be superwoman and be perfect at all the roles we have to fulfill. Prioritize as needed at different times -- and don’t be too proud to find and accept help. No one can do it without help.

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