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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