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Feb 13, 2023

This week, the Int-HER-rupt podcast brings you a conversation between our host Linda Yates and women’s leadership expert Helen Appleby. They discuss some of the issues that face women in business, and how to find a role model or mentor who can guide you along your personal journey. Appleby has worked in six different countries, led a billion-dollar company, and is now an executive coach, author, and podcaster, sharing her journey with women all over the world.. Take a listen, and check our resources to connect with her - she just might be the role model you’re looking for.

Appleby’s Background

  • She has worked for and been in leadership roles in several major businesses, including GlaxoSmithKline, where she led the $1 billion Respiratory Health business in Consumer Healthcare. 
  • She was performing well and attending courses to improve her skills, and began to notice that the challenges that women face in the industry are often different from the ones men face.
  • Her book, The Unwritten Rules of Women’s Leadership, helps women to navigate their careers and meet their own definitions for success. She also now has a podcast, which continues the discussion.
  • She is now an Executive Coach and Womens’ Leadership Trainer, helping women step into their power.

Superhero, Role Model, or Mentor?

  • A role model is someone who can be quite distant from you, but who has achieved some of the same goals you have. You can learn from them by reading their work, listening to interviews, etc.
  • A mentor is someone who is two steps ahead of you in your goals. Ideally, you can speak to them personally and ask them questions. This is someone you learn from, who is helping you grow.
  • Yates and Appleby differentiate this from a superhero - this is someone who is so far ahead of you, the goals seem unattainable. It’s not helpful if the person you look up to is on a pedestal - role models and mentors should be relatable.

How do you find a role model or mentor?

  1. Get clear about what you want in your career.  Choose 3 ways you want to grow and develop.
  2. Figure out who is two steps ahead of you on the journey. Find people who have done what you want to do, and try reaching out to them and asking them questions. Whether it’s a goal or a skill - find someone who has been there, and reach out to see if they’d be willing to meet with you.
  3. It doesn’t need to be someone who has accomplished it all. Sometimes people who are much further along the journey can have a tough time mentoring because they forget what it’s like to be in your position. Talk to someone who can relate to you.

Quote: “On our own, we can figure stuff out… but if you do it by yourself, you can tend to stumble through. Having mentors, which are a bit closer than role models, can be a career accelerator.” - Helen Appleby

Check out the episode, where Yates and Appleby go into more depth about why role models are so important, what to do if your role model disappoints you, and what to do if you get interrupted!

Helen’s book, The Unwritten Rules of Women’s Leadership, is available on Amazon. Check out her podcast of the same name and so much more at her website, You can also reach out to her on LinkedIn. You can reach out to Linda and let her know how this episode relates to you. This podcast is produced by TSE Studios. Check out other podcasts by TSE Studios, including this episode’s sponsor, The Sales Evangelist, helping new and struggling sellers close more deals and achieve their sales goals. Subscribe to the IntHERrupt Podcast so you won’t miss a single show. Find us on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen Productions.