The Guardian Interviews Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold

Aug 24, 2015 2:15 PM PST

LONDON — The Guardian has published a Q&A with Jacqueline Gold, the CEO of Ann Summers — one of Britain's oldest and largest retailers of sex toys and erotic lingerie.

In the profile, Gold discusses “overcoming arrests, threats and shyness.”

Gold told the Guardian about being wrongfully arrested for allegedly operating an sex shop without a license, and receiving a bullet in the mail when she opened a store in Dublin.

In the Q&A, Gold also offers advice to small business owners.

“Two things stand out for me,” Gold told the Guardian. “First, trust your gut feeling. When you’re a small business starting out, you’re inexperienced and so you talk to experts who think you should be doing things in a particular way. But remember, you know your business better than anyone. By all means listen to the experts, but make your decisions based on your gut feeling. It’s there to guide you; trust your own instinct.”

Gold also shares her thoughts on the value of networking, mentors and the lack of women in the boardroom.

“I have a six-year-old daughter and I want her to believe she can be whatever she wants to be. I think women getting paid less than men for the same job is an outrage and not enough is happening about it,” she said.

“Case studies show that boards with both genders outperform those with just men on. There are just four women as chief executives on the FTSE 100. Unfortunately, the problem with quotas is that every woman I know wants to be there through merit. I’d like to see the government produce a league table that recognizes those companies that are doing well and name and shame those that aren’t.”

To read the Q&A in full, click here.

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