Inspirational Women in Business Series

We are pleased to announce this week’s Inspirational Women in Business series is featuring the incredible Sam Smith, Group CEO at finnCap. She established her firm in 2007 having orchestrated the buy-out of a small broking subsidiary of a private client stockbroking firm - today finnCap is ranked No1 Nominated Adviser and Broker to AIM companies. Sam is passionate about ensuring that girls and women see only opportunities rather than barriers to success in whatever industry they want to be in. Outside her duties as the CEO, Sam is actively involved in various mentoring projects and organizations such as Pinky Lilani’s “Women of the Future” awards, of which Sam is a former winner.

Sam is also a patron for the Modern Muse project, aimed at millions of young girls throughout the UK to encourage and inspire them to look at business careers and entrepreneurship as a way to achieve their dreams.

Sam Smith - Group CEO & Founder of finnCap

Sam Smith - Group CEO & Founder of finnCap

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

It is so hard to pick just one as I have had so many good bits of advice, but my key moment was speaking to a CEO of a very large company on our space who told me my own target I put on the business at the start, was now holding me back and I needed to think much bigger.  I realised I could take the business much further than my original target and the following day I started to see things differently.


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

Don’t be so open!! Communication is key for me and being open builds trust.


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Listen to people and get as many ideas as possible, be openminded but trust your gut over everything else and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

We are defining a new culture in the finance world and that is so exciting. Trust and integrity need to be put back into business and in particular, financial services. Culture is crucial to this.

 
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I find my biggest inspiration comes from our ‘nurturing ambition’ project, where we are trying to get entrepreneurship into as many primary schools in the UK. When I see the results of this and the difference learning about entrepreneurship and life skills can make to a single child who otherwise might have not been doing so well at school and realising there is another option out there, it is extremely rewarding and very exciting to think what they then will be able to achieve.

Inspirational Women in Business Series

This week’s Inspirational Women in Business series features Pip Jamieson, Founder & CEO of the ‘No-Collar’ network, The Dots. Pip has been named as one of The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Disruptive Entrepreneurs and is dedicated to building diverse teams; with 68% of The Dots community being female. Previously, Pip launched The Loop in Australia, a visual networking platform, created out of frustration that whilst working at MTV she struggled to find new talent.

Pip Jamieson - Founder & CEO of The Dots

Pip Jamieson - Founder & CEO of The Dots

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Be a cheerleader, the world has enough critics! 


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as bad advice –it’s just different perspectives on things, which is always useful when thinking things through. You should take, leave or iterate on advice – never take it as gospel. 


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Dyslexia is your superpower! 


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

The ‘tech for good’ movement. 


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My dad! Uniquely for the time, he didn’t bring me up as a girl or a boy, but simply as a person – allowing me to flourish into exactly the type of person I was meant to be. Here’s to all the Dads raising their daughters in a similar way – this is how things can really change. 

Inspirational Women in Business Series

We are delighted to announce this week’s Inspirational Woman in Business: Nutmeg’s Chief Customer Officer, Lisa Rodwell. Nutmeg is one of the first digital wealth management apps, which has raised $147.9m in funding since 2012. Previously Lisa has worked in some of the most exciting start-ups, including Moo, the disruptive global printing business, where she was their Chief Revenue Officer and Wool and the Gang where she was the Chief Executive Officer. Lisa also sits on the board of Pact Coffee and is a Venture Partner with MMC Ventures.

Lisa Rodwell – Chief Customer Officer of Nutmeg

Lisa Rodwell – Chief Customer Officer of Nutmeg

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Apply for those roles that seem like a stretch.

Seize those opportunities that scare you.

Just go for it!

 
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

I do remember my parents being really worried about  the fact I wanted to quit my job without another one waiting in the wings. I’ve done that 3 times and landed on my feet each time in  better more fulfilling roles.


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Start your own business. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I have never started my own thing. I’ve worked with founders to build their businesses, but never my own. I don’t think I imagined I could have started my own business when I was 25. I think it’s much more accessible and acceptable today to be an entrepreneur than it was when I was starting out. Plus, there’s less to lose at 25 when you have fewer commitments.


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

Wealth management has always been something that seems so exclusive and male. Since Nutmeg and other tech-driven providers came along, it has been changing, making it more transparent and accessible. In particular, I am excited about making our industry more friendly and welcoming to women as they need to be considering investing even more given the massive pension gap that exists.


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Tech entrepreneurs. I love their big audacious goals and dreams. I love that they keep going even when the going gets really tough. I love how our lives have evolved thanks to some tenacious tech entrepreneurs.

INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN IN BUSINESS SERIES

Beano Studio’s CEO, Emma Scott features on our Inspirational Women in Business post this week. D.C Thomson’s media network, Beano Studio’s is known for their kids’ digital network, TV and film as well as the legendary comic and annual; beano.com is the UK’s fastest growing kids’ entertainment site. Emma launched Freeview in the early 00s whilst working as the Chief of Staff for Director-General of BBC. She also created, launched and led Freesat, the free satellite TV-On Demand service.


Emma Scott.jpg

 

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Always be yourself at work – it’s hard work being an actor all day. 


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

“If you’re done with having kids, I’ll give you a bigger job.”  


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Don't feel like an imposter, know your contributions are valued.


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

Everything.  Being able to quickly adapt when opportunities present and stopping when they go away - the Beano Studios team do both exceptionally well.


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Mary Poppins - a true creative leader who cares.  And, spit, spot, she certainly gets important stuff done!

 

Inspirational Women in Business Series

This week we are featuring Estelle Lloyd, Founder and Chief Operations Officer of the exciting learning platform, Azoomee. Founded in 2014, the business has raised $6.8m and provides a safe entertainment service for kids. Estelle is also Advisor for Skwibble!, the Baby Blogging Network, and has previously founded another start up, VB/Research, which she scaled and sold to Centaur Media in 2011.

Estelle Lloyd.jpg

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

My career and personal development has always grown by knocking on cold doors. I write cold emails to people I want to engage with irrespective of their seniority. An early mentor once said, "What's the worst thing that can happen?". The response was pretty obvious, that someone might not respond or say no. 


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

I once sought advice from someone in my close network about starting my own business. A successful investor, he had funded and mentored several start-ups. When I finished pitching my idea, he asked why I wanted to do this when I could get married to a rich man and have lots of children. I'm not kidding! 


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

I grew up in France; spent my 20s and the early part of my 30s in New York and then moved to London where I've lived for the past 10 years. When I was younger, I had low self-confidence and was always desperate to blend in. It's only later that I realised the power of being different if you learn to embrace your difference and turn it into your own brand. So, my advice to my younger self would be that very famous Oscar Wilde quote "Be yourself, everybody else is already taken"


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

I'm excited about scaling my business to positively impact things that I care about. Two-thirds of today’s kids will grow up to work in a job that hasn’t even been invented. And there’s a range of skills they won’t learn properly in school like coding, computational thinking, robotics, logic & problem solving, literacy skills or making rockets out of cardboard boxes. Azoomee is a multimedia platform that offers positive screen time and learning opportunities on 21st-century skills. All our games and videos are carefully handpicked to create authentic learning experiences that engage, entertain and educate! 


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My team - for always believing in the mission and everyone involved in the tech for good movement. 

Inspirational Women in Business Series

This week, Holland Barrett’s International Managing Director, Echo Lu, who has full P&L for 17 international markets across EMEA. She also sits as Non-Executive Director for Coats Group (FTSE250) and was previously the MD for Homebase as well as holding several senior positions at Tesco including the COO of China.

Echo Lu – Managing Director, International at Holland & Barrett

Echo Lu – Managing Director, International at Holland & Barrett

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

We are not who we think we are. What we think is who we are.


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given -

Go down the path of least resistance! That’s how most people who live unfulfilling and unsatisfactory lives make decisions.


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

The words that matters most are the words you say to yourself.


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

There is a huge amount of innovation in health and wellness, enabled by technology and R&D. From understanding of our own DNA and gut health, to inside beauty out and sleep optimisation, there is always something interesting and exciting going on, which presents great growth opportunities!


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My husband, who really helps me understand what the most important things in life are. He is the most kind and selfless person I know and makes me a better person.

Inspirational Women in Business Series

We are delighted to announce this week’s Inspirational Woman in Business: Founder and CEO of Koru Kids, Rachel Carrell. Koru Kids is a childcare technology platform which connects families with nannies and childcare services and just last year, Rachel inspired many of us in raising £3.5m whilst being heavily pregnant. She won the Best Business Woman in Technology award in 2017, and continues to champion women in business, as well as being an angel investor in a number of exciting start-ups.

Rachel Carrell – Founder & CEO of Koru Kids

Rachel Carrell – Founder & CEO of Koru Kids

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

A piece of advice I loved, and find myself repeating to others, is: 'Don't lose twice'. What it means is, if something goes against you, don't get sucked into a negative vibe that means you continue to lose when you don't need to. Like if someone pushes you rudely on your way to a meeting, don't get so annoyed and distracted that you lose the ten minutes of prep time you need to get in the right headspace for the meeting. Or if someone wastes 30 minutes of your time keeping you waiting, don't be so grumpy when they finally turn up that you then don't achieve whatever you came to do. Or if you are forced to concede something in a negotiation, don't do it with bad grace. Lose once, not twice. Start-ups face so many setbacks and false starts, you can't fixate on things that go wrong. It's saying, 'get over it', basically. 


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given -

Right at the very start of Koru Kids, someone experienced in start-ups told me very seriously that I should start off by making a chat bot, as if the main problem to solve in childcare was that it was annoying to type in a form. Unfortunately, the problems in childcare are far deeper and more complicated than this, and we did not make a chat bot. 


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Study computer science at university. I actually did start off at university studying computer science, doing one paper extramurally when I was in high school, but for some reason, even though I really enjoyed it, I went on to do an arts degree.  


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

I am so excited about the potential of tech to transform the way parents experience childcare. Childcare is in the dark ages in terms of how families access it. It's incredibly expensive, it's very hard to find good quality, it's not resilient - you're one phone call away from disaster. We're trying to change all that. A proper managed system, built on modern technology, can totally change the lives of families.


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Inspirational Women in Business Series

Jess Butcher MBE gave us her insights as an inspirational woman this week, having won several awards including Fortune Magazine’s ‘Top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs’, she co-founded Blippar, the augmented reality and A.I technology business, and Tick.Done., as well as investing in a number of businesses. Her latest venture, Tick. Done. is a micro-video platform designed to build a mass community uploading and sharing ‘how to’ videos, hoping to empower new skills to a billion people and avoid the increasingly egocentric internet values. It was announced on Monday that Seedcamp will be leading Tick.Done.’s pre-seed round of over half a million pounds.

Jessica Butcher MBE – Co-Founder of Tick.Done.

Jessica Butcher MBE – Co-Founder of Tick.Done.

1.       Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Work Karma. Giving your time, advice and sharing experiences with others (no matter how inexperienced you may perceive yourself to be), builds your network and always pays off and comes full circle. You also learn more about yourself and can take stock of learnings/achievements to climb your own ladder that much faster. Your network is your greatest asset - invest in it. 

 2.       Worst piece of advice you’ve been given -

I find the narrative of discrimination/disadvantage about being a woman within the fields of tech/entrepreneurship unhelpful. I’ve never personally found it so and I believe it encourages many women to see it in places where that might not actually be the case and removes the onus for self-analysis/self-accountability - plus actually undermines confidence. Our gender/identity labels (and those factors outside of our control) are the least interesting things about any of us. We are all individuals and have more in common with those with whom we share values than with those with whom we might share chromosomes. To my mind, lack of diversity around upbringing, education, social class, and ideology are much more worrying in today's society but they are of course harder boxes to tick.  

 3.       What would you tell your younger self?

Care less about what other people think of you. Just stay kind, focussed, open-minded and do your thing. 

 4.       What excites you most about the future of your industry?

That there's a new movement towards more responsible tech with social purpose, rather than tech for tech's sake. I think the next generation of great tech businesses will much more thoughtful in their approach and the ramifications of what they're building. Tech has brought so much good to the world already - but also inadvertent, unwanted negative by-products. I believe tech can also be the answer (and it's what we're trying to build with Tick.Done.:  A better, kinder, quicker web that is less obsessed with 'self' and that drives us to do more together, in-person, offline).

 5.       Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Always those with a healthy perspective on life, who don't over-obsess about work over family/ friends/ experiences/ health. Those who look up and out, listen to and observe the world around them and just 'do', with humour. Life is too short to be spent internalising every experience. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends like that, and unfortunate to have lost a few too. They inspire and guide me daily.  

Inspirational Women in Business Series

This week, we hear from Claire Miles, the Managing Director of Centrica’s hyper growth consumer technology business – Connected Home, famous for their range of HIVE products. Having previously spent 11 years in financial services, with businesses such as GE and Santander; Claire joined British Gas in 2010 and became the MD for Connected Home just over a year ago. In November 2018, Connected Home announced they had signed up nearly 300k new customers and sold circa 750k devices since Claire had joined the business.

Claire Miles – Managing Director, Connected Home

Claire Miles – Managing Director, Connected Home

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Always take a role that makes you feel seriously outside your comfort zone.


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

Accept that you won’t be able to have it all.... family, career and lifestyle.


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Buy a house as soon as you can.


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

The applications of artificial intelligence and Connected technology for looking after our loved ones, helping Carers and transforming the lives of the elderly and vulnerable.


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I’ve always admired Jeff Bezos...for his customer obsession, the way he has used data to create the largest shop on earth and because he believes he can build space hotels. That’s ambition!

Inspirational Women in Business Series

Excited to announce this week’s inspirational woman in business is Jacqueline de Rojas CBE. Not only is Jacqueline the President of techUK, but also the President of Digital Leaders, as well as holding three NED roles with Rightmove, Costain and ao.com. She was awarded a CBE for Services to international Trade in Technology last year, and has previously been voted the Most Influential Woman in IT.

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE – President - techUK

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE – President - techUK

1.       What excites you most about the future of your industry?

That diversity has found its voice. And in so many different ways: Industry leaders have understood that if machines powered by algorithms are going to be making decisions about whether you get a place at university or that job interview, or your application for a loan is accepted, they need to have diverse teams designing, testing and implementing the technology. In a world where machine dependency is increasing, soft skills matter more. In cyber we know that neuro diversity can help to see trends and patterns across vast amounts of data and help keep the nation safe. Authors like Caroline Criado-Perez in her new book, invisible women lay bare the in-built bias in our world built for men with examples like your phone is too big for your hand...given that we take 2.3 times longer to pee, isn’t it odd that women always have to queue? So, I am excited that the conversation is finally on the table and that it is becoming socially unacceptable not to embrace diversity - not just because it is the right thing to do but because it creates better business outcomes.

2.       Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I believe that we are all role models whether we choose to be or not. Our behaviour (Good or bad) is watched and emulated - you only have to mutter a single swear word under your breath in front of a small child to realise how that works! So, my inspiration comes from so many places: Our daughter, Stephanie, inspires me endlessly with her resilience and her values, our sons who are just so smart and loving. Of course, I am inspired by incredible humans who have become the best versions of themselves and demonstrate humbling generosity of spirit: Michelle Obama is one of them for sure, as is Malala and my very creative and accomplished husband, Roger. But I also take strength and learning from role models in my life who have not always been positive or supportive. I choose to forgive and to find positive intention - Ultimately, I believe there is always a miracle if you look hard enough. 

3.       Best piece of advice you’ve been given –

In a debate the Dalai Lama led about change, he reminded us that the cavalry’s not coming. If you want change start with yourself. His words: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room!”

4.       Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

“Eat everything on your plate....” #Cursed! #Parents!

5.       What would you tell your younger self? 

That you do not have to be a man to make it. The technology industry that I entered 30 years ago was so male dominated that they told me they ‘simply didn’t put women on the leadership team’. So, I spent my early career emulating what the men did, being a scary boss lady, metaphorically ‘eating razor-blades’ for breakfast and being a terrifying alpha female. And to be honest it worked to a certain level! I was successful but I was not fulfilled. It took me ten years to realise that I was always going to be disappointed, always going to be an angry feminist banging my head against the glass ceiling and raging against the machine.  Not because I was a woman in a man’s world but that I was a woman trying to be a man in a man’s world. My own self-limiting belief was that you had to be a man to make it. And that is simply not true... SO, I would tell my younger self to find your values, honour your authentic-self. Realise that nobody else but you can make the shift from a mindset of not worthy to worth it, from management to leadership and from being the kind of woman that makes other women want to up their game. 

Inspirational Women in Business Series

Our next inspirational woman in business to feature is MADE.COM’s Chief Commercial Officer, Annabel Jack. She works with her teams based in London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam to create a great customer experience to MADE’s UK and European customer base, to achieve high growth sales targets. She has previously held roles within mydeco.com and Freshminds, and she is also a key part of Founders Forum, a community of digital entrepreneurs and innovators in tech.

Annabel Jack – Chief Commercial Officer at MADE.COM

Annabel Jack – Chief Commercial Officer at MADE.COM

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.


2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an architect. I was lucky enough to do some awesome work placements. I was advised by a couple of the people I shadowed that it’s not a suitable career for women if you want your own family in the future. This was the mid-nineties. 


3. What would you tell your younger self? 

I tell my teenage children constantly to take advantage of all that their education offers, and to embrace extra-curricular opportunities that provide life skills such as public speaking, debating etc.


4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

Made.com and our industry is focused on constantly providing a better customer experience. If you think about how much better the “shopping” experience has come in the last ten years, I think the next decade will be even better. Many different things will drive this. 


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Depends what for. If it’s work-focused, then I have an army of awesome mentors I’m grateful for their continued wisdom. But life in general, and pertinent to my situation today, it would be my awesome girlfriends that juggle so much, so well, to enable their families to thrive.

Inspirational Women in Business Series

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we’re launching our series of Inspiration Women in Business across the US and UK. These women have been disrupting and leading their various businesses and industries and we believe through role models like them, we can inspire a new generation, championing gender equality. Each week we will feature an impressive figure and ask them 5 simple questions, giving insight into these key women – our very own weekly #WCW.

This week we begin with Alexandra Depledge, currently the Founder & CEO of Resi, the start up disrupting the architecture industry. She is also well known for her online marketplace, Hassle.com, which connects cleaners to people. Built with Jules Coleman, they successfully sold the company in 2015. Alex also received an MBE in 2016 for services to the sharing economy.

Alex Depledge MBE – Founder & CEO of Resi and Hassle

Alex Depledge MBE – Founder & CEO of Resi and Hassle

1. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

Resi is redefining the workplace while redefining home creation using an ethical, profitable and sustainable business model.
2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

The Economist!

3. Best piece of advice you’ve been given -

You cannot change people’s behaviour towards you, only your behaviour to them.
4. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given –

The first to market wins. Bullshit. It’s those that execute the best regardless of when they enter. Very few businesses have natural network effects; you have to create them.

5. What would you tell your younger self?

Embrace your difference, it will become your brand.

Gordon & Eden’s C-Level Women’s Networking Event

Last Thursday, we hosted an event at the AllBright to bring Female leaders across the start-up, scale up and corporate digital landscape together. Olivia Wayne interviewed the founders of the AllBright, Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones and we heard about their successes and how they have overcome challenges along the way.

Please see our pictures from the event below.

Gordon & Eden - Winners: Lessons in Leadership Event

We recently hosted an event that brought together key figures from the Tech industry to debate what it takes to win.  Panelists included: 

  • Monzo Co-Founder Tom Blomfield
  • Anne Marie Huby, co-founder & Managing Director, Justgiving 
  • Chieu Cao, Co-founder, Perkbox
  • Maria Scott, CEO & co-founder, TAINA Technology Ltd
  • Hamish Grierson, CEO & co-founder, Thriva 
  • Tom Blomfield, CEO, Monzo
  • Matt Elek, CEO EMEA, Vice Media
  • Ishaan Malhi, Co-founder, Trussle
  • Pip Jamieson, Founder & CEO, The Dots
  • Alliott Cole, CEO, Octopus Ventures
  • Sitar Teli, Managing Partner, Connect Ventures
  • Alastair Campbell, Author - "Winners: And How They Succeed" and former Labour Communications Director

Please see photos from the event below.