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Leadership chat with Dragons' Den judge, Kelly Hoppen

Dragons’ Den’s Kelly Hoppen talks to us about being a female leader and entrepreneur.

A lot of women that ring us enquiring about project management seem unsure about their career path – how do you perceive women in business at this current time?

“Successful – just as successful as men in fact.

“I believe that being a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to work any harder than men.

“If you are great at what you do and believe in yourself you should work just as hard as anybody else and go just as far.

“Yes, there are some people that are still stuck with a viewpoint that men are more powerful than women in the business world, however I know myself that fantastic independent and powerful women surround me in business, which is very inspiring.”

Have you ever felt held back as a woman?

“There were moments in the odd meeting that I felt a little atmosphere towards me being such a successful woman, and when I may have been more scrutinized and put under the microscope because of it, however it just fueled me even more to push for success and create a fantastic business that anyone – man or woman – would be proud to own.”

What are you proudest of?

“There are a few things that I am really proud of.

“First and foremost it’s my children – they never cease to amaze that is for sure.

“Secondly, my MBE which I was awarded in 2009 – meeting the Queen was a real honour, and for all my hard work to be recognised was such a great feeling.

“Finally, I’m proud of my new online store – kellyhoppen.com

“It is a project that I have had in the pipeline for years and has just launched this year.

“The fact that it is finally a reality rather than a dream is so wonderful, especially with all the hard work that has gone into it.”

What three pieces of advice would you offer any young entrepreneurs out there?

  1. “Always do your research.
  2. “Have self belief.
  3. “Be open to any advice.”

How do you ensure that you are constantly learning and developing in order to move forward?

“Just being open to everything around me, making sure that my eyes and ears are constantly open and willing to soak up everything, almost like a sponge.

“Also, travel is definitely key in my life to learning and development.”

What common mistakes do you see in Dragon’s Den?

“People pitching without doing their research – it is so frustrating!

“They become obsessed with the products and have spent thousands of pounds on product that has either been out there for years or just simply doesn’t work.”

Who inspires you?

“The list is endless, but mainly my mother – she taught me that anything is possible.”