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Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes & Jen Smith: Lessons from a female founder 

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes & Jen Smith: Insights from our expert leaders and coaches 

In this blog, we feature Shine Leader and Coach Richard Stokes, the popular ‘The Mojo Podcast’ host. In this latest episode, he interviews Jen Smith and Sally Weavers, Co-Founders of the multi-award-winning communication consultancy Craft Media. Jen attended Open Shine back in 2016 and chatted with Richard about how coming out of her Shine experience, she decided to become a female founder and set up her own (incredibly human) business.

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes & Jen Smith: Lessons from a female founder

Crafting the business of the future 

Craft Media is a success story of two brilliant female founders: Jen Smith and Sally Weavers. Established four years ago this month, it’s a fantastic example of clarity, confidence and connection in action. 

In this interview with our very own Richard Stokes, Jen explains how the personal insights gained from her Shine experience, the people she’d met in her life up until that point, and the understanding of what she didn’t want from her career any longer, helped her to get her mojo back, and create a hugely successful and high growth business (that’s also genuinely lovely to work for and with). 

Never underestimate the confidence you gain from great allies 

Coming out of Shine in 2016, Jen soon faced a company merger and a period of feeling stuck. Around this time, a friend suggested she meet Sally – someone they thought Jen would get along with – and in 2017, over a cup of tea, Craft was born.  

Jen explains to Richard that she now realises that she had been building Craft for over ten years without knowing it. The business was born out of relationships through allies both Jen and Sally had been meeting over time. These were the people that had their backs and really championed Craft in the early days, giving Jen and Sally the confidence to succeed. They all pushed its growth and showed genuine interest and support – and continue to, to this day.  

Meeting over a cup of tea is now a conscious part of their new business strategy. 

Knowing your values enables you to make big decisions with clarity 

One of the Shine Tools that’s resonated with Jen the most is Values. When she first met Sally, it was very clear they shared a lot of personal values, and on reflection, they now see that the things that matter the most to them as individuals also matter the most to Craft: their personal brands became the Craft brand.  

They talk Richard through the ‘Crafty Code’, which defines each of the values that are lived every day in the business and help them to make big decisions with clarity.  

Honouring their values helps them trust and believe in the process, and so far, this has been when the magic happens. 

Deep connection to your team equals deep connection to the work 

Jen and Sally both explain to Richard that they realise they’re most successful when simply being ‘nice’ to others. It’s often seen as a weak and typically female trait, but they see the power in owning it.  

To their teams, they adopt a refreshing approach.  

They believe that this ensures they have profoundly connected and motivated teams and that their work is agile, creative, and diverse. 

Raise the floor as well as the ceiling 

Jen and Sally aspire to be a part of the solution – to help others find their mojo and play their own bigger game. They are consciously interested and interesting in everyone they meet. They celebrate other women in the industry (and often send out bottles of their own Crafty Gin as gifts).  

They are also keen to pay it forward and support rising stars in marketing and advertising – to create something whereby fresh new talent is supported and empowered to make their own impact on the industry.  

It is much needed. According to research from The Prince’s Trust  

Through Craft Media, Jen is a great example of someone that has experienced a Shine programme and gone on to play a bigger game. It’s a business built on values, powered by allies and deliberately designed to change the system.

Since its launch, Craft has worked with clients such as Nike Swim, ASOS and Which? as well as inside agencies such as Grey, Uncommon, Mindshare, Wavemaker and Vice. Discover more about Craft Media right here.

Thinking out loud with Richard Stokes & Jen Smith: Lessons from a female founder

You can listen to the full podcast episode here, and 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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