Birdsoup is the culmination of a journey spanning 21 years. Two women and two paths converging over parallel careers and life experiences. It builds on the kernel of an idea that came into being in 2000…
It was in the early days of digital advertising that us birdsoup birds first met, and worked together as part of an all-female management team at AOL. Pretty radical, huh? Not only was this very unusual at the time, but for us, it proved to be a life-changing experience.
We experienced the power of collaboration like never before; it was strong, empowering and effective – we were an unstoppable force. We made a promise to ourselves then to create something together again in the future.
The years rolled on, and with them came new milestones; the arrival of children put a new spin on burning the candle at both ends, and the work / life ratio became not so much a balancing act, but a full-blown ruddy trapeze.
We also experienced the inevitable highs and lows of working in new roles for various organisations, which represented fresh challenges.
We felt our stock was low after having our children, something we believe many women still face, and were concerned that our careers were stagnating.
There seemed to be little room for growth and development – something we could never have imagined in those AOL days. We spent many hours trying to figure out what was going on, and putting the world to rights over a bottle of wine or three.
Our time wasn’t up; there was still fire in our bellies and we were confident we had more to give.
So what changed? We both gravitated towards new careers where essentially, we help others. We became people-focused and determined to do something positive. With a whole sackful of new skills and smarts, we knew instantly that the time was right for us to get the band back together again.
As Mums we ask ourselves the question: what will the world of work be like for our kids? Because of them, we have a vested interest in how to help to change it for the better.
Likes: a glass [or two] of wine, the sea, trying new stuff, good food, the dog, ‘nice’ stationery, shoes and online shopping.
Having spent many a happy year working for the likes of ITV, AOL, Dentsu Aegis and Omnicom Media Group on all things marketing and new business, I got married, had a child and everything changed…not for the better either.
I suddenly experienced career stagnation, stress and anxiety, imposter syndrome and low confidence. These apparently ‘normal’ life decisions felt like the end of my working life.
So I needed to refresh and refocus. Never one to take the easiest option, I ‘went back to school’ in 2009 and enrolled on the MSc in Organisational Behaviour and Career Coaching course at Birkbeck (London).
In between working and fuelled almost entirely by coffee and Ritz crackers, I completed the course in 2011 with Merit much to my family’s relief! Having researched the maternity transition for my course and the trajectory of women’s careers, I focused on just that.
For the past 10 years I have had pretty much my dream job: helping women get the most out of their lives and careers.
This has involved coaching mothers through maternity and beyond and working with women from all career sectors to help them plan and enjoy the careers they truly desire.
Likes: exercise endorphins, dancing, margaritas, talking, people, Nordic Noir, Crime Dramas and being cooked for. I am an optimistic Norwich City fan.
My career in media started out through a combination of luck and fiscal necessity, having worked at both media owners and agencies, I took the leap from Channel 4 to the brave new world of Digital working at both AOL and Google in senior management roles.
Having my son presented a level of career challenge that I hadn’t anticipated, I was used to navigating change and uncertainty, but despite working harder and certainly with more focus (ask any working Mum) I was viewed differently and it was assumed I was less ambitious. I hung in there, went “part-time” which was a bit like wearing an invisibility cloak and recognised eventually it was time for change.
Having benefitted hugely from formal coaching in my career, which helped me to make some big brave decisions, I decided that coaching and training was the direction that I wanted to follow.
I did my coaching training with the NeuroLeadership Institute. The insight into how our brains affect how we feel, how we think and how we behave at work was invaluable. Armed with that knowledge and 30 years of experience I help women discover their confidence, passion and potential in their careers I also train people in all aspects of communication, presenting, influencing and personal impact.