At Eyedea we have been thinking about evolution for a while. With our fifth anniversary approaching fast, we have been reflecting, pondering and wandering about how our careers have progressed from those early stages we were at when first Eyedea evenings took place, how our worries and questions have moved on and what our speakers are doing these days. It was therefore a call of destiny when Renee Elliott called us one afternoon and asked if she can come back to Eyedea to talk about her new venture. Given the calibre, the force of nature, the ambitiousness of our speakers it shouldn’t come to anyone as a surprise that these amazing women move on too and get to do even greater things in life.
Renee, the founder of Planet Organic, a once one store operation that now turns over 30 million per annum, is one of the most incredible people we have ever met. She is humble, open and always ready to help. Her new business is focusing on doing exactly that: BelugaBean is a new mentorship and coaching programme aimed at helping girls and women develop many essential life skills – from starting a business to learning about puberty and how to survive the teen years. Renee told us everything about how she turned vegetarian, how she moved to the UK because of a boy she met on a night bus (now her husband and father of three), and how she founded Planet Organic and went through hell to defend what was rightfully hers in court. You can read Renee’s story in our write up from the first event here, but we wanted to call out some specific advice she shared with us:
- When you are not sure if you should do something, try the “death bed question”: Will I regret not doing it if I think about it on my death bed? It will become clear to you very quickly how badly you want it.
- Don’t be afraid of unknowns. You can handle so much more than you think. The world will be the same no matter if you worry or not.
- The most important person in your life is you. Really take care of yourself, especially in difficult periods because no one else will: make sure to sleep enough, eat well and healthy. Perhaps Renee’s new book What to Eat and How to eat it could help with this!
- It’s all about attitude. Determination is key to entrepreneurship, but make sure to rest as well. You will be more productive if you do.
- “Tell me what is it that you to plan to do with the one precious life you have?” (Renee’s favourite quote, which happens to be by Winnie the Pooh)
Renee did not enter this journey alone. She partnered with an impressive man, Sam Wigman, who was also the first man to ever come to an Eyedea event. Reading Sam’s impressive biography, it quickly becomes clear why we had invited him too: a former sculptor turned mentor, part-time coach on Arianna Huffington’s Thrive programme, and long-time advocate for women, Sam was a perfect fit with our community.
He performed several self-awareness coaching exercises with us, teaching us that with greater awareness comes greater choice. If you learn to love self-awareness, you will gain freedom to act. We wouldn’t date to replicate his skilful questions in our amateur way, but two questions that we took away and keep on looking at regularly:
- What do I want to be in one year from now on?
- What qualities do I have to support / achieve this?
We were also very pleased to learn that just a couple of weeks after this event our member Daniella Peri, founder of the social impact start-up Your Happy Period, and her co-founder won a place on the BelugaBean Launch programme for the best pitch at The Female Founders Startup Challenge. In the true spirit of sisterhood, Eyedea is proud to be able to connect truly inspiring people.
Linda is a Strategy consultant by day and Eyedea committee member by night. She loves running, travelling and exploring different cultures through food.View all Linda Blank posts.