Carolyn Brennan has had a varied career, working as a qualified Pharmacist until, at 48 she decided to embark on a modelling career!
What made you choose this career/industry?
In order to get my degree and qualify as a pharmacist, I had to persevere as well as face health issues which gave me a new level of determination. It was worth it - it gave me a comfortable life for a couple of decades. Then when the NHS cuts started to bite in the financial crisis, the situation became unsustainable. So I quit and became a model at 48. I did a big project in Brighton, worked with US radio shows like LA’s Global Talk Radio, and Channel 5 and Sky. I became a brand ambassador for US online boutique Zindigo and had excellent results for engagement with my own pictures on social media.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
I just kept going!
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
Necessity. That and wanting to fulfill my potential.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
The feeling of achievement when you do things that men say you can’t.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
I’ve had a few: a famous date with James Hewitt, being £80k up in the tech boom, being in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and being a manager on my first day as a qualified pharmacist.
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
Take no notice of negative men; the deficiencies are all theirs.
Have you ever felt that your gender has brought unnecessary challenges to your career?
Some men like to pay women less but not the worthwhile employers.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
I have done some dress design.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
I try to be a Christian.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Always be ready to pick up the phone or scour the internet to make enquiries, or even in person.
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
Follow the New Testament.
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
An experienced dispenser I worked with helped me on the right path both in my pharmacy career and my own health.
What are your key motivators?
Love and money.
If the opportunities aren’t there, move on
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
There will always be gender imbalance because of childbearing. In my experience, the opportunities are out there. If they aren’t where you are currently - move on.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Look for qualifications to augment your degree. There are plenty out there, particularly on the internet.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Take no notice of people who tell you that you can’t do it.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Lead by example.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Go the extra mile.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Don’t do anything/don’t do anything because of should. It’s the worst word in the English language.