What a difficult but beautiful world we live in - Melanie Palmer CEO of Solihull BID writes for the Observer - The Solihull Observer

What a difficult but beautiful world we live in - Melanie Palmer CEO of Solihull BID writes for the Observer

Solihull Editorial 8th Mar, 2024   0

As I approach my 60th year it’s a perfect time to reflect on how far I have come in relation to my work status. I do think it’s also important to note that not all achievements are business related, whilst this is an article looking at `women in business` its vital to always look at the achievements of women in general without a title, badge, or label.

When asked at school back in the 70s what line of work was I interested in it was the usual girlie response .. Vet or Nurse and I also threw in horticulturalist for good measure. ( my mother always said I should be a journalist hmmm) As you can imagine none of those came to fruition and I began my working life as an apprentice hairdresser way back in 1980. I possibly qualify for the most amount of jobs one person has had , its odd now to recount but I can confirm I’ve had brief dalliances in the following roles amongst many others; hairdresser, dental chaperone, print shop assistant, numerous ladies clothing and footwear retail positions, puppy washer (yes really!), sun bed replacement lamp sales, childminder, glass collector in a night club in Torquay(that was fun ),art gallery curator, optician locum coordinator, BBC Radio assistant for Tony Butler, job centre counter clerk, business host and CEO. All those work life experiences taught me many things, resilience being the key factor that has remained instilled in my inner core. I can also confirm that its true, that the harder you work the luckier you get. My key message I pass on to my children and others is never settle for second best, if you want it work hard enough to make sure you get it, you are the captain of your own destiny.

It seems that thankfully girls and women in business have come a long way since the misogynist prejudices back in the 80s and 90s that I experienced, with most senior roles back then being held by men who were clearly supported by talented women, which probably extended to the home setting too. Research has shown that men are far more likely to go for a job knowing they don’t meet the full criteria, they believe they can do it and will gloss over the details, women on the other hand hold themselves back from applying unless they tick every single pointless box, but times they are a changing and it’s the women in business today that will shape the future landscape in this tough working environment. Huge well done to John Lewis who have re branded for a week to John Lewis and sisters, a PR masterstroke raising awareness

My current role is the perfect fit for me, and I wear it well, I am proud of the real differences I have led my team to deliver over the past 14 years. If I could talk to my 16-year-old self I would say don’t let failure shape you, use those experiences to steer a path to success, oh and don’t shave your hair off and dye what’s left pink, its not as much fun as you think!

Melanie Palmer


Solihull BID


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