In the Spotlight

Home / Bidding Quarterly / In the Spotlight

1. Greatest achievement personally?

Maintaining my drive for change through the ups and downs of life.

2. Best advice you’ve been given that’s helped you in your work?   

I discovered this tacked to a wall on a colleague’s desk 20 years ago and it stopped me in my tracks. For many years I wrongly attributed it to Nelson Mandela but it’s actually by a female author, Marianne Williamson. It’s driven everything that I believe.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

3. Biggest pet hate?

Laziness. The unquestioning acceptance of the status quo. Sexism. Racism. Adopted prejudices.

4. Guilty pleasure?

Podcasts of This American Life. They have been doing it weekly for 25 years and I’ve heard nearly all of them during lockdown.

5. Describe yourself in three words.

Driven, open-minded, independent

6. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Do it. Enjoy it. Be fearless and free.

7. What was your dream job growing up?

Anything that involved being paid to ride horses across large continents without any of the annoying details like looking after them or putting a tent up every night.

8. What questions are you asking yourself?

When will we see the tipping point where industry shifts away from gender pay gaps and lack of representation of women on boards?

Why do women put up with so much shit?

How come some businesses get it so right while others still cling on to the status quo?

Was Trump an outlier or a portent of things to come?

9. One thing you’d like to do better?

Have more patience. I’m working on it…

10. If you won the lottery, what would be your first indulgence?

A Tesla. The Model S with the huge waiting list. Ridiculous really…but you did say ‘indulgence’ and the other option would be too calorific.

11. Favourite pastimes?

Anything to do with the water, river canoeing, sea swimming, generally messing around in it, and I still can’t resist a good gallop on a horse as long as I can hand it back to someone else to do all of the management.

12. Most important lesson for life in general?


It’s what it’s all about. It’s never wasted. It’s often the only thing that can shift perceptions and bring the change that’s needed.

13. What’s precious to you?

My three kids, my husband, my huge extended family.

Freedom of speech, freedom of opportunity, equality and justice.

Seeing good people, especially women, growing and thriving in work, career and life.

14. What advice do you have for those new into the bid profession?

If you’re a woman in bidding in a mid-sized or large company, I would advise that you find out what your male colleagues are earning and check that you are not being paid less. On the empirical evidence, you probably are.

If you are a man, be a good ally. If you’re asked the salary question by a female colleague, tell her. More for her does not mean less for you. It means that the profession is being taken more seriously for you both.

In the past two months I have spoken to 20+ women (in construction) on this issue and so far, 80% of these women have uncovered that they have been paid less in the past or now than their male counterparts.

Bidding creates value. A lot of value. It’s a demanding, stressful job that requires a lot of skill and a strong dollop of inspiration. It’s a great career and deserves good people. Those good people deserve equal pay.

This article was written by Anne McNamara.

Anne is co-founder and CEO of ShineX, an organisation that works with Fortune 500’s supporting them to maximise their sales potential and win large government contracts. Anne is a business leader and entrepreneur who has forged a successful career in helping organisations define their offer and develop strategies to deliver it. She is focused on partnering with other entrepreneurs and leaders to help them scale their businesses. She is currently leading the ReBuild programme to drive equality through the construction industry.

Back to Foreword