updated 11/05/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/05/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST
Lorna Duncan, an international consultant in electronics sales at 23, finds herself disembarking at airports on four continents to the same reaction: "You can almost hear some executives wondering how the hell can a girl so young be traveling around the world by herself, come to a country she's never visited before, and advise us how to sell?" Easily enough, it turns out. The lissome Londoner increased the new product sales of Britain's Sinclair Equipment International almost 400 percent before she went into business for herself last June. The debutante daughter of a retired tea broker in India, Duncan joined Sinclair at 17 as a secretary and was a sales executive within six months. Then after winning an award from London's Westminster Chamber of Commerce for outstanding services to exports, Lorna decided, "I had learned as much as I could," and besides, she admits, "I basically wanted to be my own boss." Sometimes, over the years, she has found male clients interested in more than her calculators and computer chips, and Lorna reports, "I try to say in a fairly polite manner that activities on a personal basis would only harm our future business relations." Otherwise, says Duncan: "All you need is ambition and luck. I haven't got any academic qualifications—I don't think I could make a circuit drawing—but I know how to sell."