Caroline is the type of person who can brighten up any room she walks into. She made us smile and laugh throughout her speech, whilst highlighting so many valuable insights and words of advice for everyone in the room.
Caroline’s success can be pinned to many of her impressive character traits, with two in particular standing out to me: She is both extremely proactive and tremendously practical. Despite having a job offer at the prestigious McKinsey, she chose to start a business as soon as she graduated, which is now the well-known consulting and recruitment firm FreshMinds. She then went onto build the first company computer from scratch to save money… And if that’s not determination, I don’t know what is!
In light of this, it was no surprise that her top tips on the night were practical in nature, and can be applied to any woman in business irrelevant of their industry or field:
Always take the plunge: The problem with being taught to pass exams as a child and play by the rules is that we learn to conform and be uniform. Conversely, creating or building something new requires the opposite – you need to break the rules! So if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to be different… go for it!
Fake it until you make it: There’s a huge correlation between assumed competence and confidence so find a way to instil confidence in yourself, whether through friends, mentors or colleagues. It will make a big difference to the way you’re perceived.
Learn to sell: Being a good sales person is hugely valuable and often underestimated. It’s important to be able to sell yourself in business and dispel pre-conceived ideas or biases, so learn what others need and use this to frame what you are offering them.
Invest in networks: Quite simply, build and maintain as many relationships as possible and help others wherever you can because you never know when you might need a helping hand!
Stay close to the money: Make an effort to understand financial statements and the KPIs of your business. Most senior roles require financial literacy and it will give you greater understanding of what’s important to whatever business you’re a part of, in any function.
Stay true to yourself: Culture is crucial in any organisation. Ensure you’re part of supportive and diverse teams which facilitate creativity and new ideas, enabling both you and the organisation to grow.
Ask questions: Good leaders are curious about everything and ask everyone questions. Whilst it’s important to come to your own conclusions, you should do so in the knowledge that you have consulted as widely as possible.
Caroline’s latest venture is a tech start-up called Fluidly, which focuses on cashflow management for SMEs, and I have no doubt it will be just as successful as FreshMinds in the years to come. She calls this her ‘personal venture’ and admits that while it has a higher risk profile than her previous idea, she doesn’t tend to worry about what might go wrong. And once again Caroline proves that proactivity, with a healthy dose of knowledge and a willingness to break the rules paves the way for the creation of something special.
Eyedea would like to thank Caroline for an extremely warm and enlightening speech, and we wish you the best of luck with Fluidly going forward!
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