Inspiration Month con­cludes with three of my four favour­ite, most inspir­a­tion­al busi­ness­wo­men on the UK telly. Why not all four? Well, the fourth is so spe­cial she gets a blog all to her­self next month.

Some home truths about me, res­id­ent UnRuley busi­ness­wo­man in train­ing. I’m one of those Californian touchy-feely, loves to con­nect with nature and oth­er humans, types. Being an all sens­ory per­son I’m deeply inspired by extern­al source such as music, film, dance, lit­er­at­ure and, yes even tele­vi­sion. Show me a great story about bravery, skill, humour, beauty, intel­li­gence, cre­ativ­ity and I’m charged. My brain is switched on, my cre­at­ive juices bubble and squeak­ing. I’m ready to start some­thing involving self expres­sion, craft (of the slightly posh James Lipton, Inside the Actors Studio vari­ety, because I like a bit of drama don’t you know) and as much clev­erness as can be mustered. Watch out world, I’m think­ing. About stuff!

Misha Ruley Bruce

UnRuley Businesswoman in Training

At this point my touchy-feely self kicks in and I’ve moved from think­ing to feel­ing. To wit, watch­ing a superb per­form­ance by a dan­cer or sing­er may, on cer­tain occa­sions, reduce me to tears. They’re appre­ci­ation tears. That’s what I tell my hus­band when he looks at me quiz­zically as I quietly sniffle over a breath­tak­ing rendi­tion of a song he’s nev­er heard by a per­son he’s nev­er met on a tele­vi­sion that, if I’m hon­est, is switched on more often than I care to admit. But I digress. The skill and beauty of the song sends my heart aching with joy. I am an inspir­a­tion­al softie, I become over­whelmed with appre­ci­ation and the tears, they fall.

So it may come as a sur­prise to you that the three women who have been the biggest inspir­a­tion for me dur­ing my first few years in the UK are tough-love busi­ness­wo­men who don’t go in for all that touchy-feely non­sense. Long before I decided to fiddle with jew­ellery or the concept of start­ing my own busi­ness I was taken in, smit­ten really, by three very dif­fer­ent, very shrewed, and very busi­ness minded women.

Ruth Watson

The first to enter my inner inspir­a­tion world is Ruth Watson. Write, edit­or, hoteli­er, res­taur­at­eur, and real­ity tele­vi­sion host of first the Hotel Inspector and then Country House Rescue (UK Channel 4, US BBC  America). Ruth is a power­house of prac­tic­al­ity and busi­ness minded­ness with stun­ning charm. I took one look at her and I was in love. Not that kind of love, dear read­er. As Edmond said, in Mansfield Park, of his love for Fanny Price, ‘… there are as many kinds of love as there are moments in time.’ Of course, he was com­pletely in love with her. But I digress, again. I am in love with Ruth Watson’s mas­ter­ful use of dip­lomacy as she dishes out con­cise cri­ti­cism coupled with genu­ine encour­age­ment. She under­stands both the pas­sion and weak­ness inher­ent in her advisees, deftly provid­ing solu­tions for both in the face of high emo­tions, stub­born refus­al to face real­ity, heals-dug-in ideal­ism, and every­one’s favour­ite, res­ist­ance to change. The end goal, of course, is to gen­er­ate busi­ness and increase income when the altern­at­ive is los­ing ones fam­ily home and way of life. Ruth Watson tends to get pretty good res­ults when people listen and take her advice. Livelihoods are saved. It gives me goose­bumps just writ­ing about it. Passion tempered with a keen busi­ness sense. Now that is some­thing to emu­late.

Alex Polizzi

Alex Polizzi

Next on the scene is Alex Polizzi, the second and cur­rent host of Hotel Inspector.  An exper­i­enced hoteli­er in her own right, Alex has her fin­gers in many pro­fes­sion­al pies. She can even add bak­ing to her impress­ive list of tal­ents (some­thing we have in com­mon). The thing about Alex is that she’s not only an excel­lent busi­ness woman, she’s funny. Not comedi­an, dry humor, get one over on the oth­er guy funny. She’s warmly, acutely, point out the obvi­ous because it needs to be said kind of funny. Despite an amus­ing tend­ency for swear words (some­thing else we have in com­mon) Alex is not crass, nor does she skirt the issue. She speaks to what is, rather elo­quently I might add, and does­n’t dith­er about. It is what it is, so let’s get to solv­ing things and be about the busi­ness of run­ning a great busi­ness. A woman after my own heart. Alex Polizzi is an intel­li­gent, shrewed busi­ness woman. She’s also sens­it­ive to and encour­aging of people’s pas­sion and isn’t afraid to be hon­est. If you can­’t tell by now, I adore her. She is my role mod­el, my busi­ness muse. We’re weeks apart in age and miles apart in busi­ness exper­i­ence. I watch Alex deftly man­euver her way through dif­fi­cult, frus­trat­ing con­ver­sa­tions with her dip­lo­mat­ic and at times incred­u­lous tact, laced with humor and the odd swear word, and I take notice.

Marty Portas

Marty Portas

Last, but cer­tainly not least, on my list of inspir­a­tion­al uk busi­ness woman is Mary Portus. Also known on BBC2 as Mary Queen of Shops. Forthright and for­ward think­ing, Mary Portus is one part writer, one part TV per­son­al­ity, two parts retail com­mu­nic­a­tions expert, and three parts hard hit­ting busi­ness­wo­man force of nature. On her show and in her writ­ing, Mary is unapo­lo­get­ic­ally firm about what works, what does­n’t work, and what needs to be done about it. She intim­id­ates the heck out of me and I lov­er her for it. When watch­ing her shows or read­ing her blogs or art­icles I pay atten­tion to what she says. I take her advice ser­i­ously. This is a woman at the top of her game. Calling her shrewed seems a bit soft-core, an under­state­ment. Mary’s busi­ness sense is so sharp one is temp­ted to com­pare it with the extra­sens­ory. But let’s give cred­it where cred­it is due, she’s driv­en, hard work­ing, focused, and as I said above, for­ward think­ing. I appre­ci­ate and admire everything she shares with the pub­lic. You have my atten­tion, Mary. I hope I can be a frac­tion as wise, hard work­ing and suc­cess­ful as you have proven your­self to be.

Touchy-feely I may be, but I’m no wuss when it comes to being a strong, cre­at­ive, out side of the box think­ing busi­ness woman. While I may be a late starter, I am a fast learner. And I’m ready for my next les­son. Ruth, Alex and Mary, you’re the stuff of legends in this house. I’ll be watch­ing you. And tak­ing notes!

Let me end by say­ing thank you. To the three women fea­tured in this blog and to all the wise, diverse, hard work­ing women out there who deftly run busi­nesses, fam­il­ies and lives with incred­ible heart and determ­in­a­tion. I salute you. May you be as suc­cess­ful as your desire and cre­ativ­ity can take you! May we all be.


p.s. I’d love to hear about who and what inspires you. please share your stor­ies with us!

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2 Responses to Three Wise BusinessWomen

  1. Lucienne says:

    Misha! Loved being inspired through your words — You are my inspir­a­tion today. And many days! Days that I read your words and get a little smile on my face, which oth­er­wise would have stayed hori­zont­al lipped, are days that YOU are my inspir­a­tion. So please con­tin­ue what you are doing, do what you love, and stay well, dear friend! Much LOVE to you — now, and always -

  2. […] woman is allowed at least one girl-crush and Kristie is mine. Well okay, one of mine. There is an abund­ance of amaz­ing women out there to emu­late and admire, why stop at […]

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