Our founder and Managing Director, Gill recently featured on the Leaders Council Podcast. She discussed topics including:
- Being a founder and entrepreneur
- Her personal journey and growth
- Navigating our business and team through unprecedented times
- Looking after own mental health as well as her team
- Where she draws her inspiration and motivation from
- And much more
We’ve shared the transcript of the conversation below for you:
Did you always know early on that being an entrepreneur would be the way for you?
Absolutely not, it was the furthest thing from my mind when I started. It really stemmed from wanting to change things up a bit after 20+ years of working at large organisations. Taking a hard look at my life and what I wanted. It almost just inspired a eureka moment of seeing if I could achieve a better work life balance.
You took some positives and negatives from establishing yourself in one of the big four firms and working in the top consultancy firms in the City (London). Do you think these experiences set you up well?
Yes definitely! I worked with senior management. I looked after teams and I got a sense of what it would be like before starting myself.
From an operational and leadership perspective, what was it like guiding your company through covid and all the related, immense challenges that came with that?
It was all about team cohesion and trying to maintain productivity and motivation. Especially during a time where none of us had direct experience of working in that way and running a business like that.
The power of communication, transparency, mutual trust and respect were the pillars I followed.
When it comes to mental health, how important is it to safeguard – not only that of your employees in leadership roles – but also that of yourself? Because when you’re in the thick of it with a crisis, when it comes to mental health especially, would you agree that protecting your own is important?
Incredibly important, yes! One of the messages that resonates loud and clear with me is: ‘if you don’t look after yourself, how can you look after those that you lead’. Be honest with yourself. I’ve developed a mechanism to identify when I’m not doing well. Then, how I can nip it in the bud and how I can get myself back on track. Back to where I want to be. It’s also important to develop an outlet.
Do you think we can draw any positives post covid?
We’ve come out with a more cohesive team, who feel respected, appreciated and listened to. Understanding that there’s no one size fits all. Respect people’s individuality. Try to account for the fact that how people feel at any given time will be different and varied. We can plan accordingly. Conversations need to be had and time needs to be given. That way we can try to understand exactly what’s going on with people. We can figure out where their heads are at and best support them. We’ve listened to the team every step of the way with coming back to the office environment. We’ve heard their thoughts and their concerns with returning to the office. Hopefully, this puts us in a stronger position going forward.
You’re at the top of the business, so others naturally will look to you for answers and for inspiration. Both in times of crisis and normal times. Where do you seek your own inspiration from. Where do you get your own motivation to get out of bed and go to work every day?
A number of ways really. I get my inspiration from everyday life and people I meet along the way. Fortunately in the role that I have I meet a lot of incredible people on a regular basis. Our clients have incredible stories to tell which provides an awful lot of inspiration. It creates a wish to emulate some of the really positive things they’ve been able to achieve.
What gets me out of bed in the morning? The prospect of creating an environment for the team and our clients that they appreciate. I’m taking the positive and negative learnings from my career to create the best place to work. I also intend for Everfair to be the most proactive and supportive place for our clients that we can be. And that’s really enough if I’m honest.
We’re never really a finished product are we, we’re always learning. For anyone wanting to start their own business, what advice would you give?
Every day needs to be a learning experience, you need to embrace that. You need to realise you will make mistakes and it’s ok. Those will become your great lessons. Appreciate the power of listening and seeking external support and advice. You will need other people around you, businesses are successfully built by teams, not just individuals. It’s about finding your support network and your team. Stay open minded.
Any other key things you’ve learned?
One of the first things I realised was that it’s actually important to learn and identify what I wasn’t good at, rather than what I was good at! Then, I can find people around me to fill those gaps and to learn from them. That’s what success looks like.
With regards to the future, what’s on the horizon?
The plan for Everfair Tax for the coming 12 months is to really focus on team development and team growth. We want to be making the best of the people we have. We want to really grow the skills of our team internally. We’re also going to be looking for graduates and school leavers to come and join the team. We’ll train them up and watch them grow and develop. We’re going to continue building our referral network and client base too.
There must be great satisfaction with driving a team forward?
That’s where my greatest satisfaction comes from. Watching people achieve what they’re capable of and knowing that I had a part to play in that.