Tamara has 15+ years of experience as an entrepreneurial leader, advising countries, cities and companies of all sizes – from multinationals to SMEs, as well as building and growing ventures from scratch. She is currently using these skills day-to-day as a startup founder and as a Non Exec Director.
Tamara is an experienced public speaker including on on startups and scaleups, building regional tech ecosystems and digital health entrepreneurship. Examples include at TedXNHS, the G8 Innovation Conference, MIT, and the World Bank. She received an MBE for services to Technology and Entrepreneurship in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given
One of the things that I’ve found a necessary muscle to build over time is being able to put in perspective things that go wrong. Putting energy and time worrying into things vs learning to fix and move on without giving it another thought. If you put energy into all the things that go wrong, there’ll be no energy left for the things that matter, and you can get quite knocked of course. (I have a few things I say to myself in these times, like “if I look back on this in 10 years time, will it be a significant memory vs everything else?” and one of my favourite quotes is, “today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday and all is well”).
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given
“You need to be more assertive”. In this context, assertive meant louder, more aggressive and outspoken, and more hard-nosed. Ahh this drives me mad now and I now know full well, from my own experiences and from seeing enough role models, that there are so many styles of effective leaders, many of whom are leading the world as . I loved reading Jacinda Ardern say ” I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.” I think there is a great premium on being able to lead with feeling. But 10 years ago I took this feedback to heart and it was confusing and tiring trying to be inauthentic to fit a mold.
3. What would you tell your younger self?
It is never too early to start building an extended network. Make the most of all the opportunities that arise to meet amazing people, push through the discomfort of talking with strangers and invest in the relationships with ones you click with. As an introvert, a small inner circle is my comfort zone, but it took me till my thirties (and after probably a lot of missed opportunities) to realise a wide, diverse second and third circle is enriching, rewarding, eye-opening and fun.
4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
Only a cliché – that in terms of tech there is so much left to tackle that working in it right now feels like still being in the early days. I’m not even talking about complex or deep tech – just everyday parts of life that are ripe for being revolutionised – made better or more efficient.
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Other Founders, past and present. I love startup/scaleup storytelling, particularly where a profit/purpose mission has come to fruition, and/or where the journey has been long and winding (i.e., real life) and the Founder’s story is one of perseverance and guts. On this, my favourite part of Shoe Dog was how a new chapter could start ‘four years later’ and you realise just how long it takes to create a legacy and how the number of bumps in the road and times of being close to the line outweigh the number of glossy press articles and awards.