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Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes, Anna Baréz-Brown & Caroline Whaley: Lessons from our female founders

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes, Anna Baréz-Brown & Caroline Whaley: Insights from our expert leaders and coaches.

In this blog we feature in another episode of the popular ‘The Mojo Podcast’, which is presented by our very own Shine Leader and Coach, Richard Stokes. It’s a special one because not only is it the 50th episode, but it’s with our two Co-Founders, Anna and Cal. Part of a series of interviews with founders, they explain what brought them together to create Shine For Women nine years ago, some lessons learnt for anyone starting out on their journey to founding a new business, and also their plans for the future.

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes, Anna Baréz-Brown & Caroline Whaley: Lessons from our female founders

Tips for other founders

The perfect partners are the same, but different

Anna and Cal (as with all of our leaders and coaches) are both from senior backgrounds within large and complex international organisations, and found themselves at a place in their lives where they wanted to put everything they’d learnt in place to make an impact on women. Neither of them wanted to do this alone, and they were very clear on what they were good at. So, in each other they found loads of shared values (which as Richard points out is something he sees with many of the successful guests in partnerships that he speaks to), but also different skillsets and networks. A perfect pairing! Being clear on your values is an integral part of any Shine For Women programme; when you know your values you can make decisions that leave you truly happy and fulfilled. 

Understand your core purpose and stay true to it

Cal talks about how passion has always been there throughout her career: it’s always been a non-negotiable to work in areas that she is strongly passionate about. However, as a Founder this goes up a level. Really getting to the bottom of what your purpose is is critical when starting out – it’s what drives you and steers the business in the right direction. 

Learn to let go in order to grow

As a Founder of a growing business, you will one day get to a pivotal moment where you realise you are replaceable! Understand this is about opportunity not angst – Richard explains you should ask yourself ‘If I am replaceable, what does this allow me to do?’ rather than ‘What do I need to fear?’.

Consciously take time to celebrate the wins

It’s been a rollercoaster at Shine for the last 9 years. We’ve gone from running small-scale events at Anna’s house in Dorset, to working with thousands of women within international FTSE 100 organisations. The impact on an individual and organisational level is fuel for us – but so is taking time to celebrate successes along the way. As a Founder make sure you build this into your culture, especially as you grow your team.

What’s next for Shine?

With team growth comes space for Founders. Anna and Cal explain that since bringing in a new leadership team at Shine, they’ve been able to start thinking about the next stage of growth for the business. This is all about scaling our impact, to reach women at all stages of their lives (we have always focused on mid-senior women, because this sees the highest concentration leaving their careers due to the endless juggle they face both personally and professionally). We exist within the corporate world because we believe that if we can help more women reach the top of business, that acts as an accelerator for change and true gender equality – far beyond the boardroom and into the world at large. 

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes, Anna Baréz-Brown & Caroline Whaley: Lessons from our female founders

Find out more about the work we do at Shine within organisations.

And you can listen to the full podcast episode here. If you enjoy discovering brave and fascinating people sharing personal stories of losing and finding their mojo, you can listen, subscribe and review all four series of Richard Stokes’ ‘The Mojo Podcast’, here.

Share this article with your colleagues and the people around you and encourage a healthy discussion. And for anything else, follow us on social media or get in touch via email but remember when women thrive, men thrive, business thrives.  

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