Women leaders in the Oakley network

Oakley Capital
07 Mar 22

What have you learned as a leader during your career, and how would you advise others to aim high and achieve? This International Women’s Day, we celebrate our women leaders from across our network and ask them to share their thoughts.

Carolin Sedlmayer, CEO, Shape Republic

What leadership lessons have you learned during your career?

The best leaders are authentic and transparent, because thats how you build strong relationships as well as an environment where doing the right things impacts the culture. Self-Awareness and self-Management is the key to great leadership, because if you are not fully aware of yourself and can‘t manage yourself you wont be able to manage others.

What is your one piece of advice you‘d give to others today?

Be authentic. The best leaders admit mistakes and are transparent, because these failures aren‘t a sign of weakness, but rather of strength.


Marisa Selfa, CEO, North Sails Apparel

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

In my experience, the best leaders provide a clear vision. They grow the talent of their teams by giving them new challenges and experiences that stretch them  make them and then they support them 100%! I also learnt that we must allow our teams to take (calculated) risks to go beyond and explore additional opportunities for the business. We all must keep an entrepreneurial approach to our companies.

What is your one piece of advice you’d give to others today?

Find your voice, be determined in your vision, and never give up!

Cristina Popescu, Investment Manager, Oakley Capital

Your one piece of advice is..

Expect the journey towards your goals to sometimes be circuitous and perhaps not the one you initially envisaged – keep the end goal in mind, remain nimble and you will reach your destination!

Your key learning point in your career?

It’s around the importance of having both sponsors that fight your corner throughout your career and thoughtful mentors that can act as sounding boards and trusted advisors in critical moments. I think nurturing these relationships is highly rewarding at both the receiving and giving end, and can actually turn into lifelong friendships along the way.


Sarah Barrett, Chief People Officer, Dexters

Your top leadership lesson is..

I have learned to be generous, be that with your time, knowledge, and in praise of others; and that the risks you take can be the most fulfilling – staying in your comfort zone is easy but when we challenge ourselves we learn the most.

Your one piece of advice is..

Listen fearlessly!


Aga Siemiginowska, Head of Sustainability, Oakley Capital

What is your one piece of advice?

Build a network of people you trust who will support you, will give you honest feedback, and will push you when you are nervous or second guessing yourself. I have professional networks which are extremely supportive when tackling technical or work specific topics as well as personal friendship networks of women working in different sectors and organisations.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Empathy is an underappreciated characteristic of good leaders – every leader that I look up to has shown the ability to relate to how others are feeling and thinking, and is able to integrate that into an effective work environment. It goes hand in hand with good EQ and interpersonal skills.


Iris Pfeiffer, Finance & Strategy, IU Group

The most important lessons in your career are..

Don’t settle for less – know what you want and dare to leave your comfort zone and to claim a seat at the table. Start with your end goal – and then define the steps to get to the desired outcome. Be as respectful with others as you want to be treated yourself – start relationships with trust

When working with others, provide a reliable structure and process but leave freedom in content and execution.

What is your one piece of advice?

Engrain feedback into your working relationships – growing requires enablement in both directions


Rebecca Gibson, Partner, Oakley Capital

What leadership lessons have you learned during your career?

The great leaders I have worked with are those who not only inspire but who can successfully delegate and empower the teams they work with, spotting talent and helping to nurture the future leaders of all genders, race and background.  Leadership is not about being the loudest voice in the room, it is about being the the person people seek out to listen to and follow.

What is your one piece of advice?

Be comfortable and confident in your own style, as only by doing that can you be authentic and really impactful. Today more than ever before, society and business is much more open about the benefits of diversity but it still takes confidence to be yourself if that is different to the norm of people more senior than you.


Learn more about Breaking the Bias, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.

Women leaders in the Oakley network

Oakley Capital

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