Sarah Wood is the chair & co-founder of Unruly, the global video advertising marketplace acquired by News Corp in 2015. She currently sits on the boards of clothing company Superdry plc and Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs and is a judge for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is a technology ambassador for London, a member of the London Mayor’s Business Advisory Board & an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust Women Supporting Women Programme.
Sarah has been named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, City AM Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been awarded an OBE for services to technology and innovation. She is also the author of best-selling career handbook Stepping Up: How to Accelerate Your Leadership Potential, which calls for more diverse, digital and empathetic business leaders.
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I ever had was someone who told me that advice is overrated! It made me laugh and encouraged me to think for myself.
2. What would you tell your younger self?
I wish someone had told me to worry less early on – every moment I worried about what might go wrong was a moment I could’ve spent making the right things happen.
3. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
The shift in focus towards Tech for Good and using Tech to solve the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Companies such as Oxford Nanopore, developing portable affordable personal DNA sequencing or companies like First Light Fusion and Ceres Power, developing cleaner energy at scale.
At a time of uncertainty and flux, the UK is poised to lead the world in applying technology for strategic social ends. Our nation’s social safety net, coupled with a lively non-profit sector and bustling tech ecosystem, allow for a concentration of energy and talent that’s second-to-none. We have all the foundational pillars we need to be the global hub for tech-for-good; now we need to keep up the momentum and make sure we nurture these businesses as they expand their horizons beyond our shores.
4. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My grandmas who both worked very hard to give their children an education. One worked in a post office; the other was a dinner lady. My Mum, who has great common sense, an inspirational work ethic, and a true moral compass and empathy – the entrepreneur’s secret weapon. My daughters; Lola Rose who is full of grace, poise and generous spirit and wise beyond her years and Sunday – a madcap beam of sunshine that makes us all laugh.