Jacqueline Gold is the Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox. When she started working for Ann Summers it was dominated by men and "wasn't a very nice atmosphere to work in." When she launched the Ann Summers party plan to sell lingerie and sex toys in the comfort and privacy of women's homes, it became a nationwide phenomenon and transformed the business into the multi million pound empire ti is today. Forward thinking and empowered, Jacqueline Gold is a respected voice in business today.
Describe yourself in 5 words
Determined, loyal, meticulous, caring, competitive and if I can have one more it would be organized!
How do you shake up female clichés in your daily life (job, family…)?
I have always been very forward thinking, at just 21 I went to the board of Ann Summers and suggested launching a party plan, an idea that for some of the board members was a little hard to comprehend. In fact, one of the board members main concern was that women didn’t even like sex so why would they want to go to an Ann Summers party!
I knew then that I had to make my idea work as women needed me. Since having my daughter Scarlett I have become even more proud of women and how many different things we juggle.
Being a mother and a business woman throws up challenges on a daily basis, yet all around me a see women striving forward and achieving great things. All I have to do is look at our 7,000 party planners and how they balance hugely successful careers with a family, it really goes to show that women can have it all and that we will always be much better than men at juggling all those balls!
What are you especially proud of?
It has to be taking Ann Summers from being a business that was aimed at men and turning it in to the female institution that it is today. Thirty years ago the business was very different as were many people’s opinions on what women wanted in the bedroom. There have been many hurdles to overcome, but I am so proud that Ann Summers is today a multi million pound business and that we have helped women achieve equality in the bedroom.
What are you most proud of?
On a personal level, my proudest achievement is my gorgeous daughter Scarlett.
How do you imagine male female relations in 20 years time?
When I look back at when I started in business 30 years ago, we all had high hopes that over the coming years we would see a major change in the relationships between men and women in business. A lot has progressed, however I feel that it hasn’t moved on as much as it should have.
It seems that almost every day there is an article in the press about the glass ceiling, the pay gap between men and women and the lack of female board members and CEO’s. I would hope that in the next 20 years we see a significant shift and these issues will become less; however I have a feeling that they still won’t be where we want them to be. I am however certain that women will continue to achieve great things, I just hope they receive the respect and recognition they deserve.
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