It starts with a wave of heat. Then a slow trickle of sweat down your back. This isn’t like any other heat you have felt before. It begins in your toes and surges up to your arms and engulfs the back of your neck like a wildfire, and then suddenly the floodgates open, thousands of tiny taps in every pore of your body switch on. Your hair drips, your make-up cascades down your face, and your clothes stick to your body, drenched.

As you stand in the boardroom and desperately hope for the floor to open up and swallow you, you ask yourself… How do I go on?

This is menopause.

It’s visceral. It’s intense, and we need to talk about it.

Like so much of women’s healthcare, it’s overlooked.

In the UK, 41% of medical schools don’t even consider menopause as a mandatory part of medical courses, so symptoms go untreated and misdiagnosed. And if the medical profession doesn’t know what they’re dealing with, how on earth can we?


So, the first thing I want to define is that menopause is just a single day… it’s the one-year anniversary of stopping bleeding.

Perimenopause is the culprit that hits us first, often a decade before, running riot. And sadly, the symptoms don’t disappear when you reach that anniversary, because we have post-menopausal challenges too.

You see, menopause is essentially a hormone deficiency, and hormones are chemical messengers communicate with every single cell in our body, which is why the impact can be so far-reaching.

And that myth about this being a middle-age thing, well, the truth is, perimenopause can happen at ANY age post-puberty, can be triggered by medical conditions, and for most, is highly likely to start in your late thirties or early forties.

There are officially 34 recognised symptoms, and I’ll be honest, I feel like I’ve had 250 of them. From itchy skin, blood floods, to incontinence… there really is no end to the delights.

People are living every day with the trauma of many symptoms and the fear that can come with them. A shame that stops sharing with anyone, not even with their nearest and dearest.


When I use the term menopause, I mean the whole experience of hormone deficiency – peri/actual/and post. For most, it hits right at the height of your pressure sandwich… ageing parents, greater stress and responsibility at work, kids becoming teenagers…

So, most of the lesser-known symptoms can be explained away by life’s stress. It’s also a time when you’re starting to notice your relevance is diminishing as another ‘ism’ bites… hello ageism. Gendered ageism to be precise!

According to NHS England, 13 million people, a third of the entire UK female population, are currently going through this.

And we HAVE TO look at how we talk about menopause. From the butt of jokes to euphemism central! The change…give me a break.

Mood swings? Sure, that’s everyday life, isn’t it?

My mood swings meant one minute I was binge-watching Derry Girls, laughing, the next, crying inconsolably and quite honestly, contemplating walking in front of a bus.

And let me tell you, I wasn’t “irritable”. No. What I experienced can only be described as abject rage!

Menopause can make you question who you are, why you’re here, and what you’re capable of.

You’ve had no sleep, your brain feels like mashed potato, and you’re quite possibly suffering from paranoia. So, a bit like when we’re grieving, now is not the time to make big decisions.


Here’s why. Yet according to new research by Royal London, 50% of women are thinking of leaving employment altogether due to their experiences of menopause. So, an already unequal workplace is set to become even more dominated by men, especially at the top.

We are at crisis point.

We are losing valuable talent, and the problem is set to get worse! According to BUPA, almost a million women in the UK have already left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms.

Often women at the top of their games.

Like Martha, a spectacular CEO I coached who turned around a failing business to mega profits. Yet suddenly was ready to throw it all in because she felt unable to cope.

Or Amy, a hotshot tech leader who dealt with more bias and bullshit than anyone should to rise to the top, yet was hit by such crippling anxiety that she felt she couldn’t hack the boardroom anymore.

An why is it such a problem right now?

Simply… women have never had so much responsibility at work and at home. And we all stand to lose if they walk out of the door.

So, my mission is to stop this leadership loss, where women feel forced to step down or step out of the workplace altogether because they no longer feel capable. And maybe more importantly, they’re not getting the support they need at this crucial time in their lives.


We all have a responsibility to stop this menopausal talent drain.

We need to collectively press pause on the lie of menopause. The lie that women are believing and accepting as a fact, as their truth.

The lie that starts when women say… I can’t do this. I’m exhausted. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

The lie of the hormones is that you can’t ever. The real you is gone, and this marshmallow of a being that has been left in its place is the new you.

And because you’re questioning your whole identity right now, you may start to believe the lie that this is forever.

We ALL must fight the lie. Because the truth is, you are still that remarkable human capable of greatness. Your feeling below par right now does not diminish you or your potential for impact.

And the world needs you to deliver your unique input because we all stand to lose if you step away.


For too long, society has let women and their wisdom fall into obscurity. …. We bought the lies that hormones told us, AND we also perpetuated them. We built false narratives and created fairytales of hags and crones and women past their prime.

Now it’s time for a rewrite.

Because what you’ll find if you look past stereotypes and assumptions is women bursting with ambition, full of insight and intelligence, perception and expertise.

Women who’ve spent years spinning plates, navigating, and negotiating across generations, making quick decisions and making creative thinking look like second nature.


First, I’ll state the obvious – speak to your doctor; this is the most important move you can make. Don’t assume it’s stress alone, that it will get better when…

Ask yourself, and your doctor – is there more to this?

Second, your periods will stop forever, but remember that who YOU really are is just on pause while you reset and reboot!

Third – I want to offer you a gift. I want to offer an anchor that will tether you to the truth.

Whether it’s a gift you take and use on yourself as often as needed, or one you give to others…please know that you have the power to change someone’s world.


  1. Purpose – ask what is truly important to me? What’s my legacy and place? And as an ally, you can remind the women in your life of their purpose and impact.
  2. Potential – ask yourself…before the juggernaut hit me, what did I believe was possible? What is my true potential for impact? And as a friend… Be quick to remind others of their potential when they can no longer see it.
  3. Permission – this is perhaps the most important. Permission to unmask, to say no to what’s not serving you. Ask yourself…what can I do to give myself the grace and time to restore so I can still achieve my potential? And as a supporter, GIVE PERMISSION. We are all allowed times to play below par… and my experience of women is they overperform so often that this moment has more than been earned.
  4. People – no person is an island. We all thrive with the support of others. Ask for help; it’s a strength. And as an advocate, be active in bolstering others. A rising tide lifts all boats.

And I finally want to leave you with some hope… because whilst this may be the most challenging time of life where you question everything, there is so much to celebrate too.

We know that in adversity comes the greatest growth. You will come out the other side stronger.

Know that well-channelled, your anger can be a super-power. It can help rid you of that pesky people pleaser and turn you into an activist, no longer accepting bias and bullshit.

It’s a time to lean into connection.  By sharing our experiences and giving support, we build true community…and yes a sisterhood that grows ever stronger.

So I ask you to join your voices in saying NO to the lies of menopause. 

And YES to supporting women at this critical moment.  And by using the 4 P’s we can change people’s lives, homes, workplaces…and by doing that, we will even change the world!

If this sounds familiar, you may have heard my TedX Talk where I delivered a version of this as a speech.  When asked to take to the red dot I wanted to make sure I used my platform to share an important message that could benefit many.

And whilst this is about women, it’s not just for women.  We are all impacted by it.  This is our partner, our friend, our colleague experiencing something that they need support with and shouldn’t be going through alone.

Since the TedX talk has been released I have had countless women tell me it’s prompted them to set up an appointment with their GP which is fantastic – do not accept no for an answer!  I encourage you to know the guidelines before you go, so you know what is your right to ask for.  And don’t accept the first treatment option as the only option, it takes time to get the right result for you.

I’ve also had many women realise as a result of this that it explains why they have stepped down or out of the workplace altogether.  This is women at all different levels…including several CEO’s!

So please share this blog, and my talk with your friends, your networks and colleagues.

And if you would like to speak to me about how I can help you, or how I can help your organisation by speaking/ running workshops on menopause and career and leadership then drop me an email at