“Your destiny is down to you” – Elena Kale #TheWomanAlchemist  
Elena Kale
Published on March 5, 2018
published on March 5, 2018

Women Inspiring Women – Smash Your Ceiling

 

#TheWomanAlchemist #SmashThatCeiling interview series continues with another entrepreneur / female founder, #womeninspiringwomen giving an insight into successful female leaders/role model and their mindset – this time exploring the world of marketing – following up on the post on content marketing ( How do I get started with content marketing?).

 

ELENA KALE

 

Elena Kale is the Director & Founder of Inspired Marketing Media, delivering bespoke marketing services tailored to customer needs.

She is a Senior Leadership team/boardroom level sales, marketing, and events professional with more than 20 years of experience in developing strategy driving customer engagement and business profits across various diverse sectors and previously Divisional Director for the KCS Group and Group Commercial Manager at Snozone Ltd.

 

This interview is an extract from the book “STOP IT! It is all in your head” available now.

 

INTERVIEW WITH ELENA KALE

 

1. When you were a child, what was your dream job and why?

I wanted to be a fashion designer as a younger child; I always drew and was creative. As a teenager, I loved writing fiction and did an English degree until my A-level results said otherwise, and I selected business studies. It was the right decision, but I still feel there’s a book inside me, and I’ve written copy & content throughout my career.

 

SUCCESS IS PERCEPTUAL

 

2. Can you tell me when you started to consider yourself successful?

I’m my own worst critic, so I’m always driving myself to be better; however, during corporate life, I set up a group sales & events subsidiary division from scratch, which ended up being very successful and is still in operation today. It’s an achievement I’m proud of, but I could not have done it without some amazing people I worked with throughout the years.

Within the same company, I was also promoted to the executive leadership team in 2012, meaning I’d reached the highest point I could and was involved in shaping the strategy and direction of the business.

However, I’ve learned through being self-employed to celebrate the small successes and the larger ones, get referrals out of the blue, learn to network and speak publicly without feeling terrified, and rebuild my income back to corporate levels by getting out of my comfort zone.

 

FACING ADVERSITY

 

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’ve been alive long enough to know that life has its ups and its downs, some very extreme, but that nothing stays the same. You’re always moving forward, and when you go through a tough time, as long as you’re pro-active and working towards your goals, you will have a breakthrough. Sometimes life takes you to the wire before you get that break, but if you stay positive and visualise what you want if you have it already and keep working, it will come.

It’s also essential to ask for help when you need it. We cannot be great at everything, we all have our necessary skills, and you can waste more time trying to fix something than if you had asked an expert. Time is precious, it’s the one thing we can’t buy, but it does cost.

 

THE BEST THINGS

 

4. What are the best things about your job?

Working for yourself provides a tremendous amount of flexibility, so I’m more able to work around my children and other things I need to do in my personal life. It is pretty satisfying not having to ask permission to book a holiday on specific dates! I can also plan my week around key appointments or events, i.e. school sports days, and suit how I work. As I know my most productive times of the day, I focus on specific activities at those times. I can also choose to work over seven days if I want to do shorter weekdays – it’s good to take time off too, so I don’t do this every week.

But I also know that my “destiny” is down to me – if I want to make more money, I need to work harder and smarter. However, opportunities are all around us, and as I’m my boss, I’m free to pursue those that I feel would be the best for my business.

 

SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES

 

5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues”: what are your daily/weekly habits?

I have a planner/journal that I regularly use for business and personal meetings and things to do which has a week across both pages, so it’s easy to see what I’m doing! This helps me plan out set projects and retained hours by breaking down what work is needed to meet deadlines. Additionally, I look at it each night, so I pre-plan for the following day.

I use social media a lot, although I need to use it more for my business; I have a Hootsuite account, so that I will be going back to this to schedule posts a week ahead.

Also, I write to-do lists, although I try to keep them concisely to stop feeling overwhelmed. And I try to prioritise tasks when they fit into my productivity and way of working; for example, I’m better at tackling certain things in the morning, other more admin based items I may leave until the evenings or weekends.

BARRIERS TO LEADERSHIP, ACCORDING TO ELENA KALE

 

6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

In corporate life, it’s still a man’s world, and without sounding like a staunch feminist, until the pay gap is addressed correctly and fathers start taking extended paternity leave, the issue of motherhood will always affect our careers. Becoming a mum made me realise the qualities and lessons you learn whilst bringing up a mini-me makes parents better rather than worse employees – time & conflict management, negotiation skills, planning, and sheer resilience are critical within the business. Women bring a different perspective to the boardroom; yes, it can be a softer, more humanitarian approach – although no female board member got there without a backbone of steel – she gives balance. Men need to be taught as little boys that women are equals both at home and work, but this will take decades.

The rise in mumpreneurs and female business owners is no surprise as it gives us more flexibility and the chance to try and juggle more effectively. In our own business, we are the leaders, but our female lack of self-confidence can also hold us back – are we good enough, can we make it work? Ask a male entrepreneur, and he knows 100% yes, women in general, overanalysing and taking things personally, which ends up with anxiety and worrying about something that may never happen.

Until flexible working becomes normality – for everyone, not just parents – and respect that becoming a mum does not stop you from wanting a career or still being damn good at it – the rise of female leaders will be primarily through their entrepreneurial skills. But, we also need to learn to lift each other, not compete against each other.

 

WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN

7. What women inspire you and why?

My grandmother, who sadly passed away many years ago, opened a home furnishings shop on the day the second world war broke out, yet she still made it a great success during those years and beyond. She had a natural sales ability, which she passed to my mum; both easily connect(ed) with people on an emotional level who became customers almost without realising it!

Regardless of political beliefs, Margaret Thatcher was still the first female prime minister and negotiated hard in an even more male-dominated world than it is today.

One of my best friends worked tirelessly and against the odds to become a pilot over 24 years ago after being laughed at by the school’s careers adviser. She’s still flying today, now alongside more female pilots than when she trained, and every time I look inside a plane’s cockpit, I feel immensely proud of what she achieved.

8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?

Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach further out of your comfort zone. Also, worrying is like praying for something terrible to happen – we all worry at times, but it’s rarely as bad as you think it’s going to be. It just holds you back.

 

ELENA KALE AND MINDFULNESS

 

9. Your instant mindfulness fix…

Gratitude – it’s easy as a solopreneur to worry about growth or where the next piece of work is coming from, but it’s important to reflect on what you have achieved and be grateful for the small successes that lead to bigger ones. I also try to keep a positive outlook on life in general.

And I find beaches inspirational – I could sit on a beach and stare at the waves for hours, preferably somewhere hot! We all have a “happy place”, and sometimes just having an image of a beach in my office helps me to refocus and also helps with my creativity. It’s why I use images of beaches as part of my branding.

10. And finally, something frivolous: the best thing about being a woman…

The fact that we can dress far more creatively and flamboyantly than men; nails, makeup, hair, colour – need I say more!

Women tend to be more intuitive, and I love that if you get a bunch of women together, they can very quickly bond and forge long-lasting connections.

Whilst childbirth itself is hideous, having two girls of my own made me respect what women’s bodies are capable of and the fantastic way that mother nature works – it’s not called “Mother” nature for nothing.

 

Top Takeaways from Elena Kale

  • Your destiny is down to you.
  • Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone.
  • Opportunities are all around us: pursue those that feel best for you.
  • Prioritise tasks around your productivity and way of working.
  • Find your “happy place” and keep images to remind you and refocus.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert

 

Hi there, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please do provide me with feedback.

I want to hear ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. If you disagree with me or want to provide a different perspective, leave a comment. Tell me what’s on your mind.

Do remember though to be respectful and kind – we can agree to disagree, no need to be nasty. Thank you.

 

Laura xxx

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in my posts are ‘affiliate links‘. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, for example as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and absolutely would recommend to my readers.

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