Dame Helena Morrissey shares the best piece of advice she ever received

Lara O'Reilly
Executive Producer

British financier Dame Helena Morrissey is often described as “superwoman.”

Morrissey is the head of personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management, which this year became the UK’s first £1tn fund manager. She also founded The 30% Club in 2010, which campaigns for more gender diversity on boards. (The “30%” target was reached this this year — around 31% of FTSE 100 board members are now women, according to The 30% Club’s analysis.)

And alongside her role as one of the most powerful women in British business, Morrissey is also a mother to nine children.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance UK’s Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded show, Morrissey dismissed the notion of “having it all.”

Watch the full Dame Helena Morrissey interview here.

“There’s not one-size-fits-all, or no single recipe for life,” Morrissey said.

“It does irritate me a little bit and I think it’s the wrong message around ‘having it all,’ because it implies as if we are being very greedy and wanting everything — clearly there are sacrifices, there are compromises, there are decisions that have to be made,” she said.

“No-one ‘has it all’ all of the time.”

‘Lead the life you’re living and just do the best you can in that moment’

Morrissey said the best piece of advice she ever received was given to her by a senior woman at BNY Mellon, the parent company of Newton Investment Management — the fund manager where Morrissey went on to become CEO.

Dame Helena Morrissey. Photo: Getty Images

Her senior colleague explained how she sometimes suffered guilt, wishing she was with her young twins at their school plays or on holidays, rather than at work.

“She said someone told me: lead the life you’re living and just do the best you can in that moment,” Morrissey said.

“Ever since, I really embraced that. I have felt that yes, you can have a wonderful time, you can enjoy your life at home and at work much more easily than if you’re always looking over your shoulder at what might be.”

While there may be no such thing as “having it all,” Morrissey said, “I don’t think that you always have to make a choice between family and career.”

Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded explores the stories of some of the most inspirational women across business, tech, and academia. Catch up on all the latest episodes here.