What kind of work do you do/business do you run?
I run a personal development company with an emphasis on unlocking, creating, and maintaining good mental health.
I work with vegan professionals and entrepreneurs to help them become more productive and confident and make positive changes to inspire growth and success.
What do you love about it?
I am a huge ambassador of personal growth. Investing in ourselves means that we get to build up from a strong foundation, where we can embrace our strengths and challenge our weaknesses in order for us to truly grow and flourish.
So, what I love is taking people from feeling afraid of what could go wrong, procrastinating and repeating the same mistakes over and over again to thinking about what could go right.
Watching them become motivated and taking action to make the changes they need to – it really is a beautiful thing.
I also love that my wok helps the growth of the vegan sector, making it perfectly aligned with my values.
What’s your ‘why’ in life? What drives you?
Over the course of my life my ‘why’ has changed a few times, and although it’s taken a while, heading in to my 40s this year with two young children I feel I have finally found my calling.
I watched in awe when the Greta Thunberg spoke at the UN Climate change conference in 2018. She sparked amazing discussions with my two young children about how we could save the planet, then just under a year later (literally overnight) we turned vegan.
It was at this point where I knew I had to help in whatever way I could and that is when my business Full Focus Clinic was created.
This my way of helping to save the animals, the planet and ourselves by helping support those who are growing and contributing to global sustainability, supporting the present and our future generations.
Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?
I can’t think of anything better than to be associated with likeminded strong women across the globe.
As I started the business just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the accessibility to people and networking went out the window.
In some way I feel as though it has been a blessing to be able to connect with such amazing people, all with a similar end vision.
I feel very lucky to have found the group and proud to be a part of it.
What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?
Ten years before I started Full Focus Clinic, I started another buying in to a franchise as the role of a franchisor. I grew it from nothing to 14 businesses with 22 women driving it.
During this time, I was also taken on as an international trainer as part of the head office team and was asked to fill the role of franchise manager, supporting the 60 plus franchisors in the UK and internationally including Italy and the UAE. I even managed to have another baby in that time too.
After 10 years I sold the business and during that period I learned so much and grew in confidence and ability. It was such an amazing experience, and I am proud of myself for my achievements.
How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?
I remember so clearly changing to a new school when I was only 6 years old and being sat down in silence on my first day with a math’s test (wonderful start!).
I had no idea how to solve even one of the questions, and with my head in my hands by the time the test finished my paper was just a dripping mess, soaked with all of my tears.
I ran out of the classroom with my teacher not far behind me. When I told her why I was so upset, she gave me a big hug and told me that I didn’t fail; she said that there was no such thing as failure, only a place to step up from.
Although I have obviously had my ups and downs, successes and failures in work, life and relationships, I have always kept this golden nugget of information – and although it didn’t drive me to a career in finance at all – it is definitely been a force for good and one that I say to myself regularly.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
“You’re doing a great job – keep doing it!”
There are so many things that you could say, words of wisdom are easy with hindsight, and I remember people saying “If I knew then what I know now” back when I was 16, and I remember rolling my eyes at them.
But you can’t grow or learn without living life and experiencing everything from the good times to the bad, and the consequences of your actions. All of these have made me who I am and I wouldn’t change that.
Having worked with a lot of young people in schools and colleges over the last few years though – the one piece of advice I try to give to every 16-year-old now is… “other people’s opinions do not define your reality.” … Although I think that many people would benefit from this, not just 16-year-olds.
Which women inspire you and why?
There have been many through my life. It all started with Madonna though as a child, a tough and ambitious woman who wasn’t afraid of anything, as well as teaching me some epic dance moves from my living room!
Princess Diana was a big influence, all of her charity work and such a big part in teaching us that everyone in society has a voice.
Michele Obama is amazing! I love her work inspiring young girls to go out there and be whatever they want to be, what a great role model.
Jacinda Ardern – showing the world that you can have a high-powered position and parent at the same time and do it better than ever!
Greta Thunberg – for inspiring me and my children to not only think about climate change and what we need to do to take action but also to show the future generations that they can make a difference no matter how young they are.
Change starts now.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?
Growing my previous business brought with it many good and challenging situations, but the biggest obstacle by far was a few recruiting mistakes that I made along the way.
It was a steep learning curve when I took on three of these mistakes at the same time. Looking back on my time I can’t see that I would have made any different decisions given the information that I had – but the impact that they had on the brand as well as me financially was a complete nightmare.
Not only was the reputation of the business at stake but as the franchisees were self-employed it wasn’t as cut and dried to simply put a stop to their businesses and start to repair them.
It took a good year to get all of them either closed with cover going in to rebuild the brand, or someone entirely taking over.
Needless to say, that was a very long and tough year and one that I learned a lot from. I can’t say that recruitment mistakes won’t happen again, but I certainly feel my resilience is pretty solid having bounced back from that and I carry that with me to this day.
What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?
I have always been the friend that people go to for a chat if they need to talk to someone, and always enjoyed being that person too.
So, I would say that my super-power is listening. I take a genuine interest in people – I love to hear about different lives and stories and have always been fascinated by how many people don’t listen but just wait for their turn to speak.
I’ve found that if you really take that time to actively listen, that’s where you gain trust and people feel they can truly speak about what is on their mind. It is the key part in communication to fully understand what is being said… we learn much when we listen.
What brings you joy?
My kitchen table brings me joy. It’s the center piece of my home. Its where we laugh, chat, eat and where we ignore the busy schedules and screens and just be.
We sit down every morning and evening to eat together as a family and when we can it’s a place for friends to gather with coffee and cake to set the world to rights.
How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
Success to me is being able to live comfortably without sacrificing the things that you love. There is always the next thing to hanker for: I would love a bigger house, a few more holidays a year and a second home in Greece would be quite nice now we’re talking.
But right now, I get to run each morning, eat breakfast with my kids before I take them to school and spend the evenings and weekends laughing and enjoying life.
I have no doubt that this will change as they grow and want to spend less time at home, but for now this is my measure, so I must have already made it. The material things are just added extras.
What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?
My vision is for my business to be supporting as many vegans as possible in their crusade to change the world.
It is such a great time for the vegan industry – the rise of vegan and plant-based living is so exciting to be a part of and I would like as close to the heart of that I as possibly can be.
I am in the middle of writing more online courses as well as starting live masterclass sessions for people to learn how to get the most from who they are and help more vegans become forces to be reckoned with.
And you never know… maybe get that second home in Greece.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I broke through a lot of comfort zones when working for a marketing company in London when I was younger. We all used to dare each other to do crazy things.
One day I lost a bet, and our offices were on one of the busiest roads in London, just steps from Kings Cross. My task was to stand at the traffic lights and when the light clicked Red, dance the YMCA in front of all of the cars until they turned green.
All of my colleagues were watching from the sixth-floor window of the office we worked in cheering me on. And to tell the truth… I secretly loved it!