Women in Business Question the Peggy Olson Effect

Women in Business Question the Peggy Olson Effect

Was Madmen’s Peggy Olson her own worst enemy? In the iconic TV series, set in Madison Avenue’s advertising world from the early 60s to early 70s, it is Peggy who encapsulates the advances for women in business, and the pitfalls.

As she becomes more assertive, she must navigate her way through the twin stereotypes of career-women of that time – a spinster or bitch. In the process, she risks alienating potential allies as well as friends.

With this in mind, Melinda Beckett-Hughes, from Ayuda, gave a masterclass at The Business Sorority‘s Manchester event, entitled Career Tactics for Success. It was aimed at those career-savvy women, who are Peggy’s successors in the business world.


Things Have Changed. Haven’t They?

Melinda’s talk focused on certain key areas that impact on the lives of women in business.


“I’m asking what has changed since Peggy Olson’s era of deeply-ingrained sexism, and how that affects women’s success in business because there’s still a sense that if a woman is seen to be successful, and assertive, this somehow makes her abrasive”

Melinda Beckett-Hughes, Ayuda


Melinda also looked at what playing by the rules involves, including the ethics of advancement, and what the best tactics for women are.

As an executive coach specialising in change management, Melinda helps people transform their lives, on a business and a personal level.


Career Tactics

“This wasn’t a critique or protest at the position that women find themselves in, but rather a practical look at how career-savvy women can develop and use certain skills in the workplace,” Melinda explains.

These include:

  • using emotional intelligence
  • how to be assertive
  • reading other people’s body language and the visual clues they give off
  • navigating successfully through, and around, office politics.


“Women must define their own most effective behaviours and strategies in the workplace,” says Melinda, “and learn how to not just survive, but thrive, in sometimes hostile environments.”


“I want women in business to have the essential communication skills they need to advance their careers.  The roles of female workers, and their expectations, have changed”

Melinda Beckett-Hughes, Ayuda


The Business Sorority

Heather Gray, founder of The Business Sorority, hosted the event at Gusto, in central Manchester.

“The Business Sorority is a business group for women who are climbing the career ladder,” explains Heather. “Our aims are to provide members with the skills and support they need to achieve success in leadership.”


“The Business Sorority combines ambition with mutual support and inspirational thoughts and ideas. Melinda’s experience and her invaluable presentation reinforced that message”

Heather Gray, The Business Sorority


“We bring like-minded women together who are at similar stages in their business careers, helping them to help each other achieve their ambitions and celebrate their successes together,” concludes Heather.


For more information about The Business Sorority’s future events, please visit  businesssorority.co.uk/events.

Alternatively, to find out more about how Ayuda inspires today’s young leaders, please call  0800 612 2611 or visit ayuda-group.com.