Heels of Steel

Vanessa’s debut book, Heels of Steel was launched in October 2013. 

Heels of Steel tracks the trials and tribulations of one of “the most networked women in the UK” and how she left London’s east end, aged 15 to find her fortune in London’s financial district.  Despite her doubters and purely through hard work, grit and determination she manages to not only work her way up to what is commonly known as C-suite, but to build two successful businesses alongside her highly pressured corporate career.

Having achieved everything she thought she’d ever wanted, Vanessa quickly learnt that success often comes at a great deal of personal cost and compromise. The constant battling and accomplishment for the ultimate grand prize eventually took its toll and drastically altered her definition of ‘success’, encouraging a life-changing move in a new direction.

From periods of glittering success to near total derailment due to an unrelenting passion for her career, Heels of Steel unveils the truth behind a woman’s climb to success in the male dominated world of the City. You are invited to follow her journey as she scales (and slips up and down) the corporate ladder, digging her heels in as to avoid being absorbed by the politics and alpha male behaviour still prevalent in so many corporate environments.

Vanessa Vallely - Book signing at Waterstones London 2013

A mid-career realisation about Vanessa’s deep-rooted need to unveil and be proud of her femininity, helped her to discover things she never knew, and introduced much-needed support that had been glaringly missing throughout her career.

The book provides an honest and transparent insight into the world of corporate women and addresses the challenges facing every woman throughout their career journey and tackles our never-ending search for balance.

Heels of Steel is packed to the brim with tips, advice and practical steps based on real life experiences, this autobiographical story is also a practical guide that will fast become a must-read for women seeking to not only survive the corporate jungle, but stand some chance of thriving in it!



Heels of Steel is available in all good book shops or via Amazon

What people are saying..

  • Big THANK YOU for today! We’ve already receiving a lot of positive feedback from various countries and offices around Europe – everybody loved your speech (and you)

    Business Development, Manager, Mastercard
  • I just wanted to pass on my thanks again for a fantastic event, I have had non-stop feedback from around the business about what a great panel discussion it was. Vanessa, you were absolutely awesome. Your stories and advice were not only incredibly inspiring and uplifting, but very relatable and funny too!

    Jacqueline Gold CBE
    CEO, Anne Summers
  • Vanessa was our guest speaker at this year’s Founder’s Day. She pitched her talk so brilliantly that she grabbed the attention of all the pupils, who ranged in age from 11 to 18. She was honest and direct, and her talk was both practical and reflective. She made her address so lively and interesting that the girls kept her here for an extra hour, firing questions at her! She was really inspirational.

    Mrs Jo Heywood
    Headmistress, Heathfield School
  • On behalf of the Connect Women team , I would like to thank you for being our guest speaker yesterday. The feedback I received from the delegates that attended was very positive and I owe that to your engaging and entertaining discussion. I look forward to seeing you again at future networking events.

    Abi Banjoko
  • I have been lucky enough to attend a couple of Vanessa’s workshops and she continues to inspire. Her approach provokes you to assess who you are and how you perceive yourself, helping you to find confidence both personally and professionally. She is extremely personable and an asset to any event she attends by creating a safe environment for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions

    Head of Middle Office, HSBC
  • Thank you for speaking at our Women in Technology Recruiting Event last Thursday. Your keynote speech was completely on point and complemented our event perfectly. Many attendees commented on how authentic it was having you endorse MS and helped them in in the right mind set for the evening with your tips and guidance

    Katherine Loe
    Vice President, Morgan Stanley
  • A huge thank you on behalf of the London Women’s Network for your session yesterday – we were delighted with the turn-out and the early feedback has been unanimously positive

    Vice President, Commerzbank
  • Thank you from BEIS and the women who came to hear you speak on Tuesday. You were amazing and I am so pleased you devoted so much time to us – the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive

    Head of Professional & Business Services Future Policy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • The feedback has been amazing, and I genuinely have received so much praise for how you delivered a topic that so many people in the room find “awkward” and “unnatural”. The energy was great and what was particularly heartening to see was how it all came to fruition during the drinks reception at the end of the day 😊-

    Human Capital and Diversity, Accenture
  • I just wanted to personally thank you following your visit to the Bradford site last week. The feedback received was fantastic from attendees, colleagues left the session feeling inspired , valued and highly motivated. From a personal perspective I could relate to so much, you certainly gave me a fresh perspective and the inspiration to take responsibility for my next steps

    Head of Customer Experience, Santander
  • The Power of Mentoring session was great – the perfect balance between being interactive and informative. Vanessa was a really engaging facilitator, very passionate and knowledgeable on the topic of Mentoring. The workbook we used in the session was a really useful tool and helped provide focus for the skills I want to develop and identify a suitable mentor. Coupled with role play to practice approaching said mentor, I feel equipped to reach out with confidence

    Royal Bank of Scotland