We spoke to the founder of The SheEO Alliance, read more to find out her thoughts on women & the working world.
Hi Esther, tell us a bit about your current role.
I am the founder of The SheEO Alliance which is a network for Female Entrepreneurs in the U.K. Personal development is key to balancing your personal life with business and also being self-aware and many more. So, I help female entrepreneurs understand their worth and become self-confident to believe they can achieve their objectives.
What barriers have you faced in your life?
As a 19-year-old young female black entrepreneur, the sentence I hear all the time is “I don’t mean to patronise you”. With my age, ethnicity and gender it just means I have to work ten times harder to bring results.
What motivated you to keep going?
Being surrounded by friends who work in a fast paced environment definitely helps, it’s important to find inspiration to keep you going. I know my WHY. The goal is now bigger than just me. I have the gift of creativity and a voice that can mobilise a nation. My WHY is greater than I. You also need a support hub. A small group of friends who will always have your back.
Who are your inspirations?
There are three female Millennials that have inspired me from age 17 - Hayley Mulenda, Nissan Tee and Chante Joseph. They are all unique individuals and prove that barriers can be broken. I am inspired by Susan Hallam MBE for building a digital empire. I am inspired by Michelle Obama, Opera Winfrey and so many more other female leaders.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Read your bible and pray every day
Don’t forget your WHY. You started your journey for a reason and it is very easy to get lost in the process.
PLAN- planning helps you direct the process to your own terms and move to higher grounds.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
Being young and in the early stages of my journey, it has been very easy to connect with male and female entrepreneurs who are more experienced. Children are the future and some adults realise that. So I have received advice and support from various people along my journey which I am so grateful for. I spent 2 years focusing on my personal development which is an ongoing process. The amazing thing is I have time to make mistakes and correct them.
Why is #YesSheCan important to you?
Us females need to empower each other instead of bringing each other down. We can do it. Anything is possible if you place your mind to it.
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own .” Bruce Lee
Life isn’t about finding yourself but about creating yourself.
Do you think government quotas are a good thing around diversity?
As a young black woman, the more ways for inclusion the better for us all. Being united and learning from each other’s cultures in a diverse society is so key for social cohesion.
Does diversity really help organisations?
Yes, it does. Collaboration is the best way to spark innovation. An organisation will be leaving a lot of money on the table if they don’t invest in the leadership and development of employees from all backgrounds.
What are your proudest achievements?
I have had many proud moments from achieving 15+ medals in athletics to becoming a director at just 17 and more. However, I’d say that my proudest achievement is not physical but innate. The feeling of hope and progress that some young females get when they attend my seminars. They go from a place of self-doubt to believing in themselves and their abilities. This reminds me that my destiny is no longer only about me by the number of people I can help along the way.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Planning and organisation. As a student, entrepreneur and a daughter I take on many hats I’m sure many females can relate. I plan my money ahead and always check I am achieving my weekly objectives. I know how much I can get done in a day to avoid unrealistic targets.
How did you get to the position you are now?
Being determined is one thing but you need to be able to persevere and be able to pick yourself back up when you fall.
How do you ensure that you are an inspiring leader?
I never stop learning. Knowledge is power. My goal is to be the best version of myself and help other female entrepreneurs do the same. I can only achieve this with wisdom and strategy.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
I would tell my 16-year-old self to focus, keep moving because you are destined for greatness. As a 16-year-old, I remember having low self-esteem, always filled with self-doubt in myself and my ambitions.
As well as Esther, we have many inspiring women who are also bringing us amazing content. You can find more here, also check out our jobs here.