Women Inspiring Women ~ Meet Emma Warren

#IWD2021 - International Womens' Day March 8th 2021 - The campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge

For this years campaign I have chosen to support and champion fellow Business Women, and have dedicated the month of March to promote and share their journey and challenges in business.

From challenge comes change.

I am delighted to share with you my inspiring interview with Portfolio Entrepreneur Emma Warren.

Meet Emma.

I’m Emma Warren, I’m based in the Somerset countryside and I’m an entrepreneur with a portfolio of businesses in different sectors, but the thing that they all have in common is that they deliver great customer experiences.  I love collaborating with others and finding innovative ways of developing businesses.  I’m also a Mum to two teenagers and a big believer in doing what you love with people you like to be around 

1. What inspired you to start your own business or choose your career path?

I qualified as a management accountant and was a board director in a manufacturing company before I was 30 and part of a management buyout team shortly after, then we sold the business to a big American group.  I hit all the targets I set myself, but having owned the business, I realised that I wanted more than a corporate career.  This coincided with having my second son so I stepped out and set up my own business.  I wanted to be a non-executive director, so I started Portfolio Directors, helping entrepreneurs to grow their business. I love seeing the innovative paths that businesses can take and am very lucky to work with great people who inspire me every day.

2. What have been the biggest challenges you have had to face as a Woman in Business and how have you overcome them?

In my early career working in manufacturing, I was generally the only woman on the management team, as well as being a lot younger than the others. I have faced a lot of challenges and had to prove myself, especially in the early days, sometimes blatantly more than other people – but I’ve never been the only person doing that.  Very few people walk into a board position without having to be the best at what they do and prove themselves worthy of the job.  I learnt really early on to only worry about what I could control; that if you stand up, some people won’t like it but it didn’t matter and that if I did the best I possibly could and wasn’t chosen it was their loss, not mine. 

 3. Many women are feeling overwhelmed at juggling their professional and personal life, do you have any tips to share to restore the balance?

Absolutely, I live my life by one main rule – you cannot and should not expect to be able to do it all.  I think that women especially feel that they should be able to do it all and there is no need to.  Take all the help that is offered, get the cleaner in, find other ways to take the pressure off if it’s an extremely busy time – oh and children are way more resilient that you think!

4. What has been your greatest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?

Oh good question, I’ve always tried to learn from mistakes I’ve made and decisions I could have made better – it sometimes takes a while to see the learning but it’s generally there once the dust settles.  But overall, one thing I wish I’d done a lot earlier was listen to gut feel, generally if a situation feels wrong, it is, but in my early career it was too easy to make the mistake of being swayed by the opinion of others and override intuition.  

5. What is the most valuable piece of business advice anyone has given you?

I have been extremely lucky to have worked for some really great leaders, who took a chance on me when I was young and gave me advice that stayed with me throughout my career, so I have quite a few inherited mantras!  

I think my favourite one is that to be a leader, there’s always going to be a time when you’re just going to need to take the brave step on your own.