Coffee With Alisa Grafton
Partner at Cheeswrights; City Women Network - Board Member and Communications Chair
1. How has the incessant digitalisation of everything changed the way you lead your business?
The legal industry in general is going through some big changes – which while improving efficiency, also pose challenges. I am learning to see technology as a friend and always learning. My motto is “be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still”!
2. Brexit is a volatile issue for many businesses in the UK and those operating in the City - how do you lead with confidence when there is so much uncertainty?
You have to focus on opportunities. It is easy to be drawn into the current debate of no deal vs bad deal but in reality there are a lot of lateral solutions to the Brexit conundrum when it comes to business operations in the City. It is crucial to look for opportunities and find innovative solutions – rather than regret what we may have been.
3. What do you believe your role is as an influential female in the City in helping other women within the work environment?
Believing that you can and giving things a go is my modus operandi. I don’t always get things right – in fact I fail more often than I succeed – but a healthy degree of gumption is often powerful enough to move you in the right direction and, hopefully, inspire others along the way. Let your light shine and watch others do the same.
4. What would most of your colleagues be surprised to know about you?
I love doing art projects with my young daughter. It is me, not her, who is usually covered in glue and up to my elbows in paint – nothing glamorous, in short. I also love dabbling in most sports, being master of none!
5. The inclusion journey has seen some key milestones e.g. reporting of gender pay gap and the increased enrolment of CEOs committing to a 30% target. What do you see as the role of women leaders in the City in furthering progress?
We need to lead not by emulating male colleagues but by using the skills that come naturally to us, as women. Whether you are outspoken or shy, it needs to be a given that women’s voice is as powerful as that of men. Role models from a range of confident women with different leadership styles set inspiring examples for all.
6. What would be your favourite place to have a coffee in London and with whom?
Nothing beats an unhurried coffee at the weekends – so I would say anywhere quiet chewing the cud with my husband