In this blog, we speak with BBC- The Apprentice winner, Carina Lepore, CEO and Founder of Dough Bakehouse!
What made you choose this career/industry?
I have always wanted to be my own boss and had my first business at 18. I’ve always dreamt of having a coffee shop, so when the opportunity arose with my father’s bakery burning down I decided we could successfully merge the two passions and open Dough Bakehouse.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
I faced many hurdles and challenges along my journey as most entrepreneurs will relate, however, I always like to bounce back and go again. Striving to succeed is my focus.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
I am extremely passionate about delivering excellent customer service to all my customers. I focus on embedding these skills into my team.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
I have always been a hard-working individual who is full of passion and determination - my father and my son are massive drivers for me. My father has always pushed me to strive for more, he is so hardworking himself all I know is hard work and graft.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
I meet a lot of male CEOs and different suppliers- I use different people in the industry - I think it’s great I break the mold a bit. Baking world is full of older men- which is fine, however, me and my brand are a breath of fresh air for the industry.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
I have a few things I’m very proud of, raising my amazing son he is just the best boy ever, clever, bright, caring! Also winning the apprentice! I’ve watched all the previous series so to win and have Lord Sugar as a business partner is truly incredible.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
When I’m not working I like to spend time with my son, our most recent fun thing to do is take a weekend trip to explore somewhere new- we're off to Centre Parcs soon!
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
I am a massive believer in the law of attraction, I have a vision board, I try to live by the mantra that your energy doesn’t lie and if I strive and work hard and focus on my dreams and goals why won’t they come true?
Thoughts become things, positivity breeds positivity.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
-Believe in your dreams, get a Vision board, and go after your goals!
-Work hard -dreams can't come true without a push and a lot of hard work and determination.
-Take every opportunity that comes your way even if it’s not something that you’re used too or it's out of your comfort zone. You will either succeed and progress or not- but you would have learnt from the experience.
Believe in your dreams, get a Vision board, and go after your goals!
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
The executive producer told me before I entered The Apprentice house- to just be yourself, I took this onboard and being myself led me to go on and win the show!
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
I feel my role model to how I deal with life and its challenges is my mum. She’s my rock, always gives me the best advice and always knows best! Lol! In business and my career, I had a very inspirational female store manager who featured in my final 5 episode of The Apprentice!
What are your key motivators?
My family are key motivators in my life, I like to ensure I’m showing my younger sister that anything is possible in life and business. I like to teach her to be a strong motivated independent woman who, like me, strives for her goals and aspirations.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Network and seek advice to build knowledge in your field. Motivate and self empower. Believe in your strengths.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
What’s key for me is not only to empower myself but also to be a great leader and motivator for my team. I feel without a strong, motivated and passionate team it would be hard and near impossible to achieve greatness.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
I have been doing talks in schools recently to young business students. I find myself repeatedly saying 'if I had this knowledge and advice when I was 16 who knows what other great achievements I would have accomplished.' Read more books.
Knowledge is key! Push through the stereotypes and don’t conform to society.