Lady Edwina Grosvenor Interview

Lady Edwina Grosvenor is not someone you expect to see in some of England’s most notorious prisons. Daughter of the Duke of Westminster, God daughter to the late Princess Diana, wife of TV historian Dan Snow and full time mother is what you might know her as, but for over a decade Edwina has been quietly involved as a champion for prison reform. It’s this passion that has led the prison philanthropist to become a driving force as a trustee to The Clink and Prison Me No Way (PMNW). Edwina shares her views with the ACN below.

1. Why is it important that woman succeed in business?

The fact that we are even asking this question spells out the problem.

2. Do women bring to business something men don’t?

Of course. I am sure everyone would agree that men and women often have vastly different approaches to dealing with situations and problem solving. The key to a successful business or project is a mix of strong creative men and women. To have one sex alone is limiting in my eyes.

3. What motivates you to succeed?

The fact that I know that what I am doing is important and not impossible to change. We have put a man on the moon. We can change our criminal justice system.

4. What advice do you have for women hesitant about their own abilities?

I can relate to this as its natural to underestimate oneself. I would say, change that voice. When you hear that negative voice coming into your head, combat it with a positive voice. For example “I am a bit nervous about this speech”, change to “I can’t wait for this speech, I am going to be amazing!” Eventually the positive voice takes over. I use this almost daily.

5. Do women do enough to help other women in business?

I am sure there are women who are very encouraging and others who aren’t. If I wanted help or advice from another woman I don’t think I would sit around and wait for an encouraging woman to appear, I would be proactive and go and find someone to talk to myself.

6. What top tip would you give to a woman trying to get ahead?

Work hard but make sure you maintain a healthy balance of work and play. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

7. Do you see a culture change-taking place in the boardroom?

In some, but certainly not others.

8. Who inspires you and why?

A lot of the inmates I work with inspire me. Some of these people have had lives the average person wouldn’t want to even contemplate. When they turn their lives around and start to address their problems I am always humbled. It makes my own problems seem laughable.

9. Is the question “Can women have it all?” an excellent question, an offensive question or just old hat?

It depends what “all” means. I have a 16 month old daughter so the last 16 months have been a real learning curve. I have child care, a supportive husband and supportive Grandparents and I still end up dropping the balls I am trying to constantly juggle. I have some weeks where I feel great and completely in control and other weeks where I want to shout and scream and feel like I am achieving nothing at all.

10. What do you feel the role of government is in supporting women who want to succeed in business?

Child care is often unaffordable, which limits women being able to work in the first place, let alone succeeding in business. So Government needs to provide more affordable/free childcare as well as tweak statutory maternity provision to enable men to take a bigger role in the first year of a baby’s life.

11. What do you feel the role of government is in supporting corporates who want to attract more women into their business?

See above

12. Can you celebrate your own success?

I don’t feel the need to. I am not out to “succeed” as such. I just work hard at doing what I love and if that leads to success then so be it.

13. Quote that inspires you?

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland