As the Guardian’s Women in Leadership editor, the delicate life-work balance is something Harriet Minter knows quite a bit about. Since the section launched in April 2013, Minter’s interviewed any number of successful female leaders making it work, as well as speaking regularly on women’s rights, organisational change, the future of work and “just getting stuff done”. So is Minter someone who runs in heels? We found out a little more about one of our favourite women on the web.

harriet minter Northern Power Women launch

Motivation for me is all about…

Changing the status quo. I used to think I was motivated by winning but in the last few years I’ve realised that whilst winning is nice (and it is, really, really nice), work is a lot easier if what you’re doing feels like it’s making a difference. The best bit of my job is the feedback I get from readers. When someone Tweets or emails me to tell me that they liked an article, or it’s helped them sort out a problem they were having at work, or even that they really disagree with it, it justifies what we do. The media has played a big role in enforcing the gender stereotypes we live within, I think it’s now our job to try and change some of these. We have a responsibility to keep the pressure on business to change how it behaves and to make the workplace better for everyone. We need to keep asking the questions to keep the debate alive. I love being a part of that.

Success means…

Choice. I think that at the moment we really only have one definition of success and that’s getting to the top of your career and making lots of money. That might be great for some people, and I probably wouldn’t turn it down, but I do think life should have a few more options. I took a ridiculous “which Game of Thrones character are you” quiz the other day and one of the questions was, “how do you define successful life?”. Of the list of answers, the one I like most was “As an adventure lived to the fullest”. Although in the end I came out as Cersei… so maybe not!

I couldn’t have got there without…

A million things but the top three in no particular order: my parents, who taught me the importance of having your own career, earning your own money and being your own person. The amazing girlfriends who listen to me, pick me up when I’m down and call me an idiot when I’m behaving like one. Blind faith that it will all work out somehow.

I always start my day with…

I’d really, really, really like to tell you that I get up when my alarm goes off, meditate for half an hour, run 5k and then eat a light breakfast of homemade muesli. But to be honest I snooze my alarm for as long as possible, fall out of bed at the very last minute and only remember breakfast when I’m starving at 11am. One day I will be the organised, morning-loving woman of my dreams…

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Find a colleague to natter at. I find it’s much easier to work through whatever the mind-block is, if you talk it out with someone else. But if everyone’s busy then I tend to go outside and walk. I’m lucky that the Guardian’s office is by the Regent’s Canal and my home is within walking distance of the Thames, walking by water always either inspires me or distracts me long enough that I stop worrying that I’m a creative desert and instead start to focus on what I can do instead.

harriet minter guardian women in leadership

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

The South Downs. A steep climb followed by a plateau, followed by a steep climb. I think it’s better than it was, at least we now acknowledge that the workplace hasn’t been the kindest to women, but I also worry that we overstate how much it’s changed. That’s why we need to keep talking about it and keep the pressure on business to adapt to the 21st Century.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Ignorance and lack of curiosity. Woe betide you if you try and argue with me and you don’t have all your facts.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Being a good friend. It would be great to change the world, to empower more women, to finally end the 9-5 tyranny but if I did all that at the expense of my friendships then I think I would have missed out.

harriet minter

What makes me happiest is…

Writing a really funny joke (a rarity so when it happens I laugh to myself about it for days and repeat it to everyone). Sunny but frosty mornings. Dinners with my best friends. Boats. Giving someone advice which is actually helpful. Jilly Cooper novels. Probably a hundred other things that I haven’t remembered and which I will now be kicking myself about for days. Oh, cute pictures of puppies.

Can I run in heels?

No. When I was young I used to pretend that I could, now I just get taxis.

You can read the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section online here, sign up to become a member here or follow on Twitter @GdnWomenLeaders. For more brilliant, inspiring ideas, follow Harriet Minter on Twitter @harrietminter.