“Everyone said it could not be done, it was too hard, too political. But we did it! Within four months we overcame every single one of those barriers. Every single thing they said could not be done, we did,” says Jeni Oye, director at the Customer Experience Company.

I’m sure everyone of us, at some point, has been told their idea cannot be created. ‘It can’t be done,’ they tell us for fear of making mistakes, fear of failure and fear of the unknown.

Research from Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women, suggests that women are told ‘no’ more than their male colleagues. That no response refers not only to ideas, but also to promotions. Almost 60 percent of men were promoted twice or more in the past five years, compared with only 41 percent of females.

However, data around company success challenges the ‘appeal illusion’ of men in leadership roles.

To put it simply, companies with strong female leadership achieve greater performance across all areas of business. Studies show companies with balanced gender diversity have a greater return on sales- 42 percent greater to be exact.

The power of women in leadership is in the data, the proof is in the pudding, and Jeni’s story is just one of countless examples.

Jeni’s above quote refers to her time working at one of the big 4 Banks, a time where the corporate world was less agile. As a designer, her challenge was to redesign the homepage and primary landing pages of the bank, a redesign that would transform the user experience of customers and have huge implications for the website’s usability.

One part of that redesign, Jeni explains, was changing the login name to personal and business banking, a name that was not the legal name of the product.

“The digital team told us: ‘No, no, you have to use the legal name,’ which was not intuitive to customers at all,” explains Jeni.

“And of course it didn’t matter in the slightest, we changed it to personal banking and business banking, because it made sense to customers and when they landed on the page.”

Not taking no for an answer is what fuels entrepreneurs to succeed. Perseverance does pay off for some. Take the all-powerful Google, the founders of the company first tried to sell the search engine for $1 million and the initial offer was rejected. The rest of the story is history, because we all know how much of an impact Google has had on the world.

Jeni’s determination to succeed, however great or small, has the same characteristics as the founders of Google. She’s a woman in design leadership, a role that has changed dramatically, not only through to the convergence of design and business, but through the celebration of women in leadership.

Jeni Oye has over 20 years experience in customer experience strategy, design and innovation. To hear more about her story, join us at our Women in Design Leadership Event on October 12.

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