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“Chase your passion, not your pension,” says Queen of Construction

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1. Which businesswoman do you most admire and why?

I don’t admire any one businesswoman in particular but I rather admire Mrs Brown from Mrs Brown’s Boys – she’s hilarious .

2. How do you juggle the work/life balance? Any tips on staying sane?

I’m a mother to four children so I try to establish clear boundaries between the two worlds and I have a great support network around me. I stay sane by not taking myself too seriously and having a very large glass of Pinot Grigio.

3. Biggest career setback and what you learned from it?

I don’t like it when people leave GGR Group. I take it personally.

4. What makes you mad in business today?

People who make mistakes and then don’t learn from them.

5. Boardroom quotas: necessary or nuts?

I think appointing a person to a management board should be based on that individual’s merit, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or race. There is still mixed evidence whether boardroom quotas work in terms of their impact on the bottom line and management practice.

6. Your one tip on negotiating a pay rise?

Be great at what you do and you shouldn’t have to ask for one. I recognise hard work and believe in rewarding that success.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Older and wiser!

8. Your advice to young women starting their careers?

Chase your passion, not your pension and make sure you are better than anyone else at what you do. You can do anything that you set your mind to; you just need to believe in yourself. 

Gill Riley has been shortlisted for the 2014 First Women Awards, held in association with Lloyds Banking Group. This year’s event takes place at London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, on June 12. Read more about the event and book your tickets here.

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