Women Inspiring Women – Smash that ceiling!!!
Interview with Karen Green part of the series #Smashthatceiling #womeninspiringwomen, my attempt to provide other women with visible leadership role models, and this week is the turn of Karen Green, a food mentor, business mentor, speaker, regular guest lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and author ( her book out NOW – Recipe for Success – is aimed at food preeners and MDs of SME food manufacturing businesses wanting to improve their business and grow it to the next level and covers brand development, marketing, negotiation and so on ).
This interview is an extract from the book “STOP IT! It is all in your head” available now.
I didn’t think I could meet someone as passionate about food and helping businesses as I am, but I did; she is a foodie ( she is a judge for the Great Taste and Quality Food Awards)” and a woman who has turned her passion into a business, an entrepreneur – my idea of #thewomanalchemist indeed.
INTERVIEW WITH KAREN GREEN
1. When you were a child, what was your dream job and why?
I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Instead, my father wanted me to be a bilingual secretary. Still, I wanted something more glamorous – my daughter is now at medical school as I found the science A levels too challenging, so I went a business route instead.
2. Can you tell me when you started to consider yourself successful?
My line manager told me at Boots that I was rubbish and wouldn’t amount to anything (I still have the appraisal), and then I was given a new manager, and she mentored and developed me. I was promoted to the buyer for Vitamins which was the most coveted buyers job in Boots, and I felt very proud and successful, and after that, I flew.
3. I’m sure you have faced adversity like every business/business person: how do you motivate yourself and force yourself through the worst times?
I have studied mental toughness and, through that process, have learned many techniques for keeping going. My top 3 would be:
- A great supportive network of friends and business mentors who keep me on the right road
- My achievements log – every so often, I record what I have done that I am proud of to take a quick read when it becomes a bit challenging.
- Visualisation and meditation techniques – I have learned a few simple tricks for solving the immediate stresses, e.g. pre essential client meetings, etc.
4. What are the best things about your job?
I work with various clients now on short and long term projects. The best thing is getting a new product launched on the shelf -whether a small startup brand or and own label product that may have been two years in the making.
I also love mentoring people and seeing them grow from a personal point of view.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES
5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues”: what are your daily/weekly habits?
- Sleep – I am early to bed, early to rise, so try and keep to this routine and get as much sleep as possible.
- Exercise – I get my best work done in the first hour of the day and then do some exercise – either running or yoga. I live part of the time in France and need to get out early before it gets scorching.
- Eating well – I love food and ensure that I get a great balanced diet – I cannot function without regular meals!
- Personal development – I am ALWAYS learning – at the moment, I am launching my book “Recipe for success”, and so am learning about publishing, social media, and book promotion techniques.
6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
One of the most significant issues for women is childcare – when a woman has the first baby, she can go back to work, and childcare costs are less than her salary. If she has a second baby, that cost/benefit equation becomes more complicated. Some successful women have a husband who takes the strain, but I think the interruption to a working career can be detrimental.
However, I have not found this to be a challenge, but I only took four months for each of my children.
Other than the apparent male domination at the top and glass ceiling, the additional barrier is female heads. Termed the imposter syndrome, so many successful women I know deep down don’t believe they should be there and don’t necessarily have the chutzpah to go for the big jobs. I am sure some research shows that if women read a job ad, they will apply if they have all the requirements and men if they have a third (or some such figure!).
WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN
7. What women inspire you and why?
Emma Jones at Enterprise nation is a powerful character who does an excellent job for startups – she has been very helpful to me and is the best networker I know.
My mum was a stay-at-home mum until my dad died when I was 21; she got involved in saving Greenham common from being built on and ensured it went back to familiar land when the Americans left. In recognition of her work, Newbury designated a field and called it Audrey’s meadow. Inspirational late developer!
8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?
- Enjoy life, and don’t be in such a rush!!
- Believe in yourself; you are way better than you think
- Follow your dreams, and don’t let others talk you out of it
9. Your instant mindfulness fix…
Concentrating on breathing – listening and feeling each breath coming in and out – easy to do anywhere and calming in about 2 minutes!
10. And finally, something frivolous: the best thing about being a woman…
Being able to flirt your way out of things!!
Top Takeaways from Karen Green
- Believe in yourself – You are way better than you think!
- Keep an achievement log for when things get tough.
- Keep a supportive network of friends and business mentors to keep you on track.
- Invest in your personal development – ALWAYS learn
- Enjoy life – Don’t be in such a rush!
If you aim to make your career in food, either corporate or found your own business, Karen is the perfect go-to mentor/role model.
See you next week with the following interview x