What were your early ambitions and passions?
I wanted to be a fashion designer, at school I was really creative, I enjoyed art and fashion. After studying for my A-Levels in Art and English Literature, more study wasn’t a luxury my family could afford, so I had to get a job. I worked in retail quickly getting promoted, but realising that it wasn’t for me, unless I was perhaps styling the window display. I then took on admin roles and studied in the evening for a business degree at the same time. It was then that I developed a real interest in marketing; it combined my creativity with my organisational skills. It was much later when in a senior marketing role that a colleague came into my office and asked me where I was taking my career next, she suggested that I train people to become marketers, at the time this didn’t appeal to me, she said that she had recognised the skills of a coach: helping others come up with their own answers, helping them stay motivated, providing a thinking space. It often takes someone else to recognise our best and unique qualities.
Why was this important to you? What sacrifices did you make?
I think when you find the work you are meant to do, when you don’t think of it as a job but a way of life, when you never say ‘I don’t want to go to work today’, you’re are doing the right thing. That’s where I am at. Having a really sound underpinning of knowledge is important to me, so I have studied a lot and that’s meant being away from home, when my daughter was quite little, but I was convinced it would be worth it. Since leaving school I have always studied alongside a full time role, it’s meant that social and family life have sometimes been secondary for those periods. I have also worked long into the night to deliver what I say I will for work and this has meant the laptop on in bed and not switching off from work.
How did you go about this and put your plan into action?
I went part time in my role while I built my client base, I had a target to earn more working less, within a year I was completely freelance and earning more, but probably haven’t worked less because there is always something to do when running your own business.
What does your role entail? Describe your duties/responsibilities?
My role is so varied; I create the strategy and work to make it happen. That involves networking, collaborating, building relationships and nurturing existing clients. I also deliver inspiring training and life changing one to one coaching, which I love, but I also really enjoy being able to give others work. Ultimately I have responsibility for everything, but I do have social media, admin, book keeping and accounting staff. I also have three Associates working with me who help with proposals and some of the delivery depending on the project.
Describe any challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
The challenge in business comes when you can’t do everything yourself and your realise that you will drop the ball on projects if you don’t get some help. Getting the right people, employing them in a way that suits the business that they are also happy with is a challenge. Remembering that you might have to go through some short term pain to benefit from long term gain is how I look at it, it is really worth it when you have the right people on board, because she can’t do it all, and even if you do, you won’t do it all well.
The other big challenge has been around being a working mum and feeling guilt about not being at the playground gates to pick up my daughter from school. I have come to terms with this by being honest with myself, I am not stay at home mum material, a lot of what makes me happy comes from work, so I have decided that it’s about quality, when we have a day out the iPhone is off. I aim to be truly present when I am there.“Remembering that you might have to go through some short term pain to benefit from long term gain.” Tweet This!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I enjoy meeting new people every day, I enjoy that it’s unpredictability, I enjoy the fact that I can decide what I do each day. I really enjoy one to one coaching, delivering coaching and leadership programmes and seeing individuals’ perspectives change and their goals achieved and knowing that I had a small hand in that. I also enjoy the mentoring I do for the Cherie Blair Foundation, mentoring women in developing countries, which is really satisfying. I love that the only limits are my imagination. I suppose all of this boils down to knowing that I am making a positive difference in the lives of others.
What is your long-term, career vision?
To make a positive difference on a larger scale, to remove the stigma around women’s success.
Our mission is to:
* Challenge leaders to make a positive difference
* Motivate women to live their best life
* Inspire authentic leadership
We want to grow the team internationally and for me to be an Ambassador for what we do. My book Rocking Your Role, which is a how to guide to success for female breadwinners is a vehicle for this. I wrote it because I am the main earner in my family and after researching I found that a fifth of women in the UK earn more than their partner or spouse, if we add into that single and divorced women, the number goes up to 50% of women being responsible for bringing home the bacon. I want to support women worldwide to find ways to make their life work and celebrate their success together. I believe that if women are happy so is society!
Give 5 tips for success?
1. Value what you do, if you don’t others won’t – and that means you promoting yourself and being willing to charge.
2. Be comfortable in your skin and embrace your uniqueness – don’t try and fit in, be proud to stand out, you’ll be more memorable.
3. Don’t try and do it all, get help and support – you need to create mental and physical space to grow and develop, you can’t do that if you’re doing it all.
4. Look after yourself – you can’t perform at your best when running on empty – it’s a selfish act not to look after yourself, everyone around you will suffer if you don’t.
5. Keep learning, never think that you know it all, there is always more.
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