Every year we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March and the achievements of women are shared throughout the month. As part of the LCR High Growth Programme, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the brilliant women in our region, and soak in their expertise.
The theme for International Women’s Day across the world is #EmbraceEquity, so we wanted to take that theme and hear from the most ambitious women in Liverpool City Region about their thoughts on harnessing growth ambition to power forward in business, making our economy a more equitable place.
Tracy Fishwick is Managing Director of Transform Lives Company and Board Director and co-founder of People’s Powerhouse CIC.
“Each of us has our own unique experience, personality, strengths, so giving tips is only a perspective and not a blueprint. I tend to steer clear of advising anyone, but here’s some stuff I’ve learnt. Harnessing my ambition was also a matter of necessity. I left a great job, great pay, wonderful team. But the culture became toxic. What next?”
“I would recommend anyone to work out their answers to these 4 principles, and if you can, with authenticity, you’re on to something, you won’t go far wrong if you can pull it off.
- That which you love – having already found my passion, supporting people into work, in a way that works for them not the system design we happen to have at the time…this was always going to be the ‘thing’ for me. If you’re going to work on something, make it something you love doing. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I despair, writing another funding application, proposal, bid, quantifying every penny, not to mention the knock-backs. But if I didn’t feel the love for it, I’d have stopped a long time ago. I also steer clear of anything that compromises my values, which can be tough when you might really need the income.
- That which you are good at – I knew I was good at it, I’d done every aspect of this work for 16 years, I know what it takes to build a good team, to bring partners together and I had a lot of experience to draw on. I knew a lot of people and they trusted me. I also know when I’ve attempted something I’m less good at or know less about, the stress and worry gets amplified. So, I say ‘stay in your own lane’ which means, learn to say no, nicely, or share and be partners with someone who’s better at it, find a way to bring them on board, or pass it on, that person might return the favour one day. Don’t be scattergun, or jump into an area of work you really only have limited experience to offer or attempt to fit round pegs in square holes, you’ll get found out!
- That which the world needs – being socially driven, this is a given for me. I know now I couldn’t work on something I didn’t see the point of, that didn’t have an impact on the world. Having a home and a job are two of the foundations of a good life for most, helping people who’ve given up believing is very rewarding. It also extends, for me, into the kinds of other businesses or funding I won’t partner with or be associated with. Your reputation matters and gets noted.
- That which you can be paid for – I learnt early on as a freelancer and then social entrepreneur that you can dream up any number of things you want to do, but if no-one wants to pay you for it, you haven’t got a business, so best to be focussed and honest with yourself. We do lots of things in the business that no one pays us for, by the way, but we make that conscious decision and do it anyway. What can you persuade someone else to hand over cash for? Can you be convincing (i.e. do you know what you’re doing and can you prove it)), and of course be reliable, likable, and make them feel great when they’re working with you.”
Lisa Pearson is Head of Marketing at Arriva Bus (UK).
“As uncomfortable as this might feel, you’re going to put yourself OUTSIDE of your comfort zone if you want to achieve success and benefit from being ambitious.
For example, if you know of someone who inspires you, professional or personally, and you recognise that person as being successful, then reach out to them and introduce yourself – ask for their advice.”
“You’re not only growing your network and making connections with new positively influencing people, you’re also strengthening your individual learning and development ‘armoury’.
Which leads me to my next tip – never stop testing yourself, reading for learning & immersing yourself in newness.
Ambitious people are curious, determined and open to trying (and learning from!) new experiences.”
Amy Yarker is Co-Founder of The Fermentation Station.
“For me it’s about having passion in what you do, your ambition and your drive, having faith in your concept.
So there will be times when you don’t feel your best or you are really feeling down on yourself and it’s about being able to pull on the faith, the self-belief, the drive in that ambition and pick yourself back up again.”
“My biggest tip for anyone is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Every day as a business owner and a founder of a business it’s hard, and especially right now in the economic circumstances you definitely feel the fear, but we are driven by what we do, we are passionate about it, so feel that fear, harness it, and do it anyway.
Happy International Women’s Day!”
Lorna Rogers is Assistant Director – Mayoral Programme Delivery at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
“My top five tips for harnessing ambition are;
- The starting point for this is self-belief, research has shown that women are too modest and we do not like to self-promote but we need to start doing this, we all have strengths, things we are good and areas we need to develop.”
- Finding your voice and sharing with the world what you can offer is really important, there are many different ways to do this now with social media, networking events and podcast etc but do build confidence in your story and let others know what your ambition is- they may be able to help you.
- Surround yourself with supporters, people who can coach and mentor you, build-up a support network , invest in these relationships, as they can be really important in opening up opportunities and providing advice. It also works both ways and you can help others , never pull the ladder up- always support others on their journey.
- Invest in yourself, I believe in lifelong learning and that does not always mean formal courses, it can be reading books, listening to podcasts, harnessing your skills, always seek out ways to learn and build on your strengths and develop yourself, the investment of time is important, learning and development is all part of the growth journey.
- Final tip is to reflect and plan, it is important to pause , and reflect on what you have learnt and where you are heading next, write a journal, set ambitious goals , review and adjust the plan if required.”
Natalie Denny is Director of Skywriters Ltd and Co-Founder of The Goddess Projects and The Period Project Merseyside
“Don’t limit your ambition.
Adopting a growth mindset will mean regardless of the outcome, you will always learn, develop and grow.
Research, plan, focus and go for it!”
Becki Wilson is MD & Creative Director at The Loft Agency
“If you’re anything like me, you’ll be guilty of getting in your own head, and talking yourself out of things that you really want to do (and deep down know you can be brilliant at).
We’re programmed with a genetic disposition for a negative bias. Meaning no matter how many truly awesome things we’ve done or achieved in the past, the stuff we focus our attention on today and lean towards, is the bad stuff. The time when it went wrong. The fail that we just can’t bring ourselves to overcome.”
“Or, we don’t feel qualified. “I don’t know enough about that”, “People won’t be interested in hearing from me, or my point of view”.
Or we just freeze. We work ourselves up into a frenzy, we panic and so don’t do the hard thing – whatever that is for each of us. Opting instead for what feels like the easy option of ignoring it, not saying yes and not showing up.
For me, my arch enemy has for a very long time, been public speaking. I’ve many stories of face plants, horror stories and reasons why I rationalise it just isn’t a good idea for me to do it! And why I’ll look really silly if I try.
But… I’m working on it. And you can work on your thing too.
The irony is, I’ve now started a public speaking club called The Keynote Club. What a ridiculous thing to do for someone who is terrified of speaking in public. What feels even more ironic is that I’ve just been asked to speak at an event – and get PAID for it!!
What’s your ‘thing?’ – you know, the thing holding you back?
Is it a promotion that you’d love to go for? Starting your own business? Asking for a payrise? Mastering a new skill? I love the phrase ‘be brave enough to suck at something new’.
Whatever your thing – Grab it, have a look at it. What one hard thing could you do today to move towards mastering it?
It WILL feel scary. 100%. But the growth lies on the other side of THAT. Say YES. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
I’d really love to know how you get on and what your ‘thing’ is, but more importantly – what are the steps you’re making into the fear?”
About LCR High Growth Programme
The Liverpool City Region High Growth Programme, coordinated by Growth Platform, is designed to support businesses in the City Region demonstrating high growth potential to innovate, adapt, and grow.
Part-funded by ERDF, the project works with business leaders to future-proof their business, identifying post pandemic opportunities to increase productivity and diversify with sustainability in mind.