On this week’s Breaking Glass webinar, writer, journalist, campaigner and government adviser Charlie Webster gave a talk on her incredible story from her difficult upbringing in Sheffield growing up as a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual abuse to pursuing an outstanding career in sports journalism where she has truly broken the glass for a woman in this field. Here are just a few of Charlie’s most incredible achievements.
- First female in Asia to present premier league football
- First woman globally to host a live World Heavyweight Title Fight
- Successfully cycled over 3000 miles from London to Rio de Janiro in 2016
- Advisor to the Ministry of Justice on the Secretary of State’s Victim Panel
- Creator and producer of Undiscussable, investigative podcast series into domestic abuse that gives a challenging rethink of this issue
Here are three of the most important messages to take away from Charlie’s talk:
“Rewrite your own narrative”
Self-doubt was a big theme throughout Charlie’s talk and something that she has struggled with since her childhood, whether it was doubting her own abilities or questioning what she could achieve from her background. Charlie stressed that in spite of her incredible achievements, she still often questioned herself and what she could do and even added how some of the most successful politicians, scientists, sports stars shared that same self-doubt that we all have. When asked how to overcome self-doubt, Charlie said it’s ok to doubt yourself, everyone does no matter what they have or haven’t achieved but the main thing is, to push past it and keep giving yourself positive messages, re-write your own opinion of yourself to include all the positive things about you.
“Use your background in a positive way.”
In her talk, Charlie recalled a time after graduating from university when she had just moved to London and was interviewing for her first presenting job. Charlie was surrounded by older men in suits with well-spoken accents all going for the same opportunity and as a 21-year old in ripped jeans and with a Yorkshire-accent, she felt that she could never compete with these men who all seemed so educated, polished and professional. Charlie was wrong. She secured her first presenting job aged 21 beating over 1000 candidates for the job and, when she asked her employers why they chose her, they simply said, you have a drive and passion that none of the other candidates had. This instance made Charlie think, her own struggles, trauma, background or even being a woman in a male-dominated environment were things that gave her a completely fresh and new perspective on things and something that she has used to her advantage in her career.
“Learn to deal with rejection.”
It would be hard to think of Charlie facing any rejection in her career now having achieved so much in sports journalism, but Charlie assured viewers that even to this day, she still faces rejection or disappointment. Charlie stressed how important it was to learn how to face rejection. Whether it is not getting into the university you applied for, not getting the job you wanted or the promotion you had been working for, she stressed that rejection is not a reflection of the value of you or your skills. If you do face rejection, think just because one person doesn’t mean I’m good enough, or there wasn’t the budget to do what I wanted or there was a tough market, this takes nothing away from me and my skill set.
Listening to Charlie speak about her incredible story and all that she has achieved was a true honour. Her story is an amazing example of a woman that has faced trauma, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and overcome these issues to truly smash the glass ceiling with her career in the media and her campaign and advocacy work – Charlie is a truly rising woman.