What a terrific quote! It was (one of) my favourite sayings of dynamic business woman Phillipa Geard, CEO, founder and inspiration behind the multi award- winning company RecruitMyMom. Phillipa was talking at the request of Sue Cowen of Clear Coaching, a dynamo in her own right who is passionate about the work she does as a Life Coach, Debt Councillor and helping Women in Work.
I quickly took out my notebook and started writing – her inspiring words were too valuable to forget in the chaos of parenting, managing careers, supporting family, friends and finding your place as a woman in the world.
She spoke of her education in business science and her employment history in the big corporate world of marketing both overseas and then back in South Africa.
And then with the birth of her children ‘SOMETHING CHANGED’ were her words.
I could relate. Most women can. So, HOW THEN – the million- dollar question I continue to look for the answer to – DO YOU DO IT ALL? How do you mother AND combine a successful life as valuable woman of industry?
You create a niche company aimed specifically at all the highly skilled, valuable, committed and dedicated moms who want to find their own way of combining work and motherhood: a company which helps women to find part time or flexible time work and companies who cannot afford NOT to have these women in their business.
Phillipa set out some life lessons she learnt along the way. RecruitMyMom has, in just a few years, scooped up all sorts of awards in filling the gap for women who ‘WANT TO HAVE IT ALL’ or in fact in most cases, don’t have a choice to supplement family income.
For anyone starting a new business or wondering how she managed to accomplish this, or just navigate life in general, these gems were priceless.
1. ETHICAL leadership – is the only way to lead. It’s a non-negotiable and it creates trust.
2. Create a VALUE -BASED business. Better still, get your staff to participate in the process of creating shared values. It’s empowering for them and builds a solid base.
3. CARE: learn to listen and engage with people in a positive, meaningful way. Avoid the negative noise (there are nasties out there!) but turn it around and find the good.
4. Staff: they are your best assets. Treat them as such.
5. NEVER give up: cultivate your passion and make a change for women who are inherently skilled, loyal and productive.
6. Don’t see obstacles: pioneering is scary but STICK TO YOUR VISION!
7. Ask for HELP. Be humble, ask for other’s opinions.
8. Value RELATIONSHIPS: people interactions are vital, and networking is invaluable. Women need to get better at this.
9. CHANGE is constant! Be mindful, keep up and remind your children of this too.
10. There is no right way – only YOUR way.
This is not a usual bit of writing for me, but I couldn’t help myself. Phillipa was part of my tribe and I LOVE finding my tribe of women. Women who understand the need to support other women.
She also confessed that before deciding to have children, she’d never felt broody, changed a nappy or babysat. But once they arrived she knew instinctively that she WANTED to be THERE for her children AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
(At this point I wanted to jump up and hug her. It was quite close to the beginning of the talk and it would have looked odd so I just continued writing with a lump in my throat and a thump in my heart.)
But she had also been told to be aware that not all women would want to see her succeed and this was an interesting thread amongst the discussion of women in the room. Forget patterns of patriarchy! Sometimes it’s the women who will be become your greatest competition.
So, how do I end this piece off? No idea.
I ONLY know MY WAY.
#womeninwork #womensupportingwomen #findyourtribe
Til next time!