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Juliet McGuire

From boobs to boardroom

How’s that for a title, but once you’ve read the story, you will understand what I mean. This is a story of an incredible woman who went from having breast cancer at such a young age to becoming one of the top businesswomen in this industry.

In 2001 Angelique Lynch joined the motoring industry as a marketing production assistant. Her fierce drive saw her rise to the position of Marketing Director of AutoTrader, a role she currently holds today. 

At the age of 28 however, Angie was diagnosed with stage 3 HER2+ breast cancer, her life and her career were in jeopardy. 

Angie chose to stay working throughout the difficult process of a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy, followed by multiple operations, hundreds of tests and 5 years of hormone replacement therapy.  

“I knew that I needed something to focus on rather than the illness itself, a purpose,” says Angie. “Staying at work was very challenging, but I also feel that it was the thing that kept me going, no matter what. It also taught me that you are more formidable with a strong team of people around you whether family, friends, colleagues or a medical team. ”

A grinding six month schedule of work, travel, chemo every Friday, and recovery over the weekends has given Angie a wealth of experience of how to be resilient in stressful situations, and what tactics to apply to thrive when the odds are stacked against you. 

“I was stunned at how many parallels I could make with my illness and the business I have worked in for the past 14 years.  I feel hugely inspired to share what I’ve discovered with others who find themselves in similar situations, whether in their personal life or in the boardroom”

Angelique shares her boardroom tips:

Time is free, but it is priceless. Spend it wisely. Your time is limited and using it wisely is key. I find that separating business and personal does not work for me. Rather I see my day as a 24 hour segment which I have to achieve all of my goals. Everybody’s priorities differ. Understand your own, and be flexible and creative with the limited time we all have. 

Know your reason – It’s important to know what gets you out of bed in the morning. What is your reason to struggle and fight? This is always changing, but take the time to make sure you have a compass on your journey. 

Be bold in the boardroom. Skills can be taught and must be acquired, but it’s rather your character, your integrity and your courage that stands out. Voice your opinion and apply emotional intelligence to get the best outcome in challenging situations. And if you don’t know something, be vulnerable, it helps to build connection.

Get out of your comfort zone. If you want to grow, you’ve got to put yourself in challenging situations. Have the difficult conversations with your boss or colleagues, don’t shy away from them. Constantly evolving your personal brand means getting out of your comfort zone. 

Embrace the unexpected – You can plan all you like, but things change and they change quickly. Be welcoming when this happens. Challenge tests your resilience and makes you think quickly on your feet. You may not be able to change the situation, but your behaviour can certainly impact the outcome. 

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