Bossing It – Caroline Deutsch

On the long weekend of June 4th , 2022, we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The dust may now have settled at Horse Guard’s Parade, the array of colourful bunting and Union Jacks have been stored away, but the Queen continues on with the day job! The messages of congratulations and the outpourings of warmth towards Her Majesty has really made me reflect on
the impact she has had on so many of us over the years of her reign.

I still recall as a 10-year-old child, waving my flag whilst being squashed and deafened by the crowds outside Buckingham Palace at her Silver Jubilee celebrations. Growing up in the ‘70’s we had yet to see a female Prime Minister, we lived amongst power cuts, strikes, men in suits spouting rules and totally politically incorrect telly. But I remember the deep respect I had for this female leader who had already achieved so much.

My influencers weren’t on social media – I’d watch bands like Blondie and Siouxsie and the Banshees on Top of the Pops. (Hong Kong Garden – just a classic!). I’d follow Vivienne Westwood and her fashion influence on New Romanticism (leading to some really BAD wardrobe mistakes!!). Anita Roddick was forging the way in business with The Body Shop, and it looked like we were about to get our first female Prime Minister.

Looking back, I have naturally gravitated to strong, impactful women as my role models. It started with my first infant schoolteacher, Mrs LeFevre (even her name sounded grand!). I loved her sense of style – colourful scarves, big rings, and lots of bangles – anyone who knows me will appreciate I LOVE a big ring!! And then my ballet teacher, a strict, no nonsense, hard-working single mother who showed me the importance of drive and discipline. This carried through into my career with most of my bosses being female.

Whether it was my first job in recruitment, and I was given the heads up to not speak to my boss until at least 11am once she’d had a vat of coffee or working for the boss everyone was dead scared of (and who was actually the kindest most generous person)! Those early career bosses were tough, but they also worked extremely hard, respected your opinion, and gave me lessons in life I still use today. Blazing a trail through the ‘90’s in London agencies gave me the opportunity to learn from some amazingly bright, intelligent women – all with different personalities (we were living through “ladette” culture), but all committed to aiming high, being true to themselves and showing what was possible.

And closer to home, I really didn’t know if I would have the courage to start my own business until my sister said, “Why not” rather than me asking “Why?!.” It also helps that I have a mother whose default setting is positive plus! With only another 34 years till I reach my 70th work anniversary(!!), I’m only halfway through my career by the Queen’s standards. So, what better role model, to show us, across the generations, that hard work, commitment, a wonderful sense of humour (who will ever forget that Paddington moment?!), generates warmth and respect as The Boss!

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