In the world of business, there are those who simply navigate its threads, and then there are visionaries who skilfully weave their own patterns, leaving an indelible mark. Today, we bring you the remarkable Aileen Boyle, Founder & Chief, Fortro and our Member of the Month.
As we delve into her journey, you’ll find that Aileen’s story is a symphony of innovation, determination, and a relentless commitment to redefining the norms. Her unique approach to business is not about outshining others but about creating opportunities that elevate everyone. It’s an approach that has not only defined her path but has also set the tone for the entrepreneurial haven she’s crafted through Fortro.
So, brace yourself for a captivating glimpse into the mind and experiences of a true trailblazer. Aileen’s story is not just about business; it’s a testament to the power of passion and innovation in the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? What inspired you to start your journey in the business world?
My first business came about while the company I was working for was undergoing Investors in People. The guy doing the certification, Pete Rogan, was so dynamic and inspiring that I decided I wanted to run my own business. So, I left my safe full-time role and set up the first events management company to use the consultancy business model and be a plug-in resource to businesses. It was over 20 years ago and ran for four years until I had my daughter. Not bad since I hadn’t really done any market research. My second business came about in direct response to a need in the market for innovators and entrepreneurs to articulate their ideas into profitable ventures. Four months later, we were in the middle of one of the worst economic crises, and I spent all my time helping business owners rethink their entire business from the ground up.
2. What led you to join the Women’s Business Club, and how long have you been a member?
I’d been invited along to the launch of the WBC in Edinburgh and met Sarah Eddie. She was so passionate about the values behind BC I couldn’t help but feel I had found a kindred spirit. So, I joined WBC, made some connections, and now I am edesigning and running a workshop at both the Edinburgh and Cheltenham Conferences.
3. Can you describe your current role or business venture?
I specialise in working with visionary business owners, predominantly women-led, predominantly in the tech, professional, and creative sectors, transforming their value propositions into relevant, flexible, sellable offers that get them on the growth trajectory needed to achieve their overall goal. I love it!
4. Could you share some key milestones or turning points in your business journey so far?
For me, it has been achieving success despite the economic landscape. My current business achieved six-figure revenues this year despite the current economic climate, and the sense of achievement was a total rush. And I think it is because I take a “create, don’t compete” approach to commerce.
5. Were there any specific moments or experiences that shaped your approach to business and leadership?
I realised early on in my career I was a heart-driven, gut instinct kind of businesswoman, and there have been three key moments. The first when I decided I wanted my first-ever role to be abroad, and I pursued opportunities relentlessly until I found the right one – an Account Instructor in Seychelles Polytechnic. I was 22. The second was leaving my role to start my first business and realising fear was a mindset. The third was completing a catalyst program through Babson College, and it literally changed my business life and provided the foundations that my business is built on today.
6. Who or what inspires you as a businesswoman? Are there any role models you look up to?
So many named and anonymous people are out there, achieving the most amazing things. I am inspired by courage in the face of those wanting to block you, by those who advocate for themselves and others, and by those who are prepared to be the change they want to see.
7. How has being a member of the Women’s Business Club benefited you and your business aspirations? Have you had any particularly memorable experiences or connections within the club that have made a positive impact?
I want to send a shout out to Sarah Eddie – she is a force to be reckoned with and has been by my side as a business leader since I joined WBC. So, thank you, Sarah.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you were just starting out, what would it be?
I would say, “I know you know what the opportunities are, I know you know how to build on them, but maybe take more time to back up your gut instinct with data!” I would also say, “you have more than earned a seat at any table, so go ahead and advocate for yourself. Get in there!”
9. What steps do you think can be taken to encourage more women to enter and thrive in traditionally male-dominated industries?
It has to start with leadership development – get buy-in from leadership by explaining the benefits of encouraging more women to be applicants for open senior positions. Funding needs to be more accessible, and the language around it needs to be adapted. Women should also be confident in their decisions, create a network of strong women around them, and truly know and embrace their worth.
Aileen Boyle’s journey in the business world is a testament to the power of determination and innovation. Her success story, which spans over two decades, exemplifies the impact of backing one’s instincts, advocating for oneself, and supporting fellow women in their pursuits. As a member of the Women’s Business Club, she continues to inspire and empower others on their own entrepreneurial journeys, making her a remarkable choice as our Member of the Month.
Ready to explore endless possibilities, gain support from a dynamic community, and chart your path to success? Consider becoming a member today and let your journey begin with us at the Women’s Business Club.