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everywoman in Travel

22 Apr 2019

everywoman’s Kate Farrow on what it takes to be a role model

What exactly is a role model and why are they so powerful? everywoman’s Kate Farrow explains the concept

everywoman in Travels Kate Farrow

everywoman’s Kate Farrow explains what it takes to be a role model in 2019

A role model is someone who is respected and looked up to by others. They have skills and attributes that their family, friends and colleagues aspire to emulate because they feel inspired by them. So what does this mean when we think about who a role model is?


It means we can all be role models and, even though you may not realise it, you are probably a role model to someone in your life. It could be because of your skills, your qualities, how you manage relationships, your authenticity – even your zest for life.


When I truly understood what a role model was – that everyone has a personal brand – it was like a lightbulb moment. We are all role models, but what sort of role model do we want to be?

Blazing a trail

Role models are powerful because they dared to have big dreams, found a way to achieve those dreams and now offer a shortcut to up-and-comers. Role models have the power to inspire great things and actions in other people.

There are positive and negative role models in our working lives, but let’s look at five positive traits:

  1. Collaboration: Role models bring the right people together and embrace difference. When a problem arises, a role model will focus on the best outcome, how they can get there and who in the team can get them there quickest.
  2. Resilience: Role models face up to challenges and find a path to navigate around them – or through them – all while maintaining their resilience when the going gets tough.
  3. Authenticity: This is a real biggie. Authenticity is when a person is clear about who they are and, equally important, who they aren’t. Finding your true authentic space in the workplace is so freeing. Authenticity in a role model means they are expressing their true nature, passions and beliefs in everything they do. From a role model perspective, it means you are showcasing that we don’t all have to fit into the standard role or culture of the business or our function. My experience of inauthenticity in the workplace is that it is like a mustard stain on their shirt – everyone can see it but them.
  4. Growth mindset: This is about taking in feedback continuously and working out how you could have done better. Feedback can be as innocuous as someone creasing their eyebrows in a conversation to someone getting really upset in a discussion.
  5. Mental agility: Role models are able to look at different scenarios and solutions to reach their outcome, and they absorb and manage the tensions of a challenging situation. This doesn’t mean suffering, though, it means making sense of it and channelling it in a different way so we don’t devolve the pressure and stress on to our teams. Find your own way of managing pressure and stress healthily. Mine is either exercising or a night out with friends.

I know this may all sound exhausting, and you may be thinking you need to do all these things just to be a role model. Actually you don’t – honing these skills will help you to become a better leader, a better business owner and a better colleague. If you are a role model to someone along the way, that’s great.


I have made everywoman’s role models workbook available to TTG readers for the next six weeks here

Nominate female talent

The IMB iX everywoman in Travel awards is back for 2019, featuring a new Disruptor award for a woman challenging the status quo. Visit everywoman.com/travelawards

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