Obtain the career and life you want? Alice Olins is your woman. She's the founder of Step Up Club - a platform that makes business and career advice accessible to more women.
Having built her career at The Times, Marie Claire and Red magazine Alice found her vocation in her mid 30s and launched Step Up Club. She's now empowering women reach their potential - making her a true champion in our eyes.
Let's see what she makes of our 10 questions...
How do you usually start your day?
Well I have a tiny baby who is still sleeping next to me, so I'd say a little cry or whine from him is my first sound of the day. After making sure he is happy, and fielding the usual slew of questions from my older daughters, I jump in the shower for some peace and quiet. I plan what I want to wear, and then I always do my make-up, put something nice in my hair and get mentally prepared before going downstairs to deal with the mayhem. Planning and feeling the part, are key to me managing my busy life.
What was the catalyst for starting Step Up Club?
Like so many of the women that I support through Step Up, I reached a crossroads in my career in my mid-thirties. Journalism didn't suit my lifestyle or values the way that it had and I felt restless - in need of a change. A series of fortutious meetings and ideas later, and I was co-writing a book on women's career development and the rest is kind of history. What I realise now, with the launch of my online membership club is that I've been able to weave my favourite journalistic elements back into my business now too; editing copy, commissioning experts, creating a brand that women engage in, it's all drawing down on my experience but also pushing it in a new, relevant direction.
How do you manage your work life balance?
Well, I have just had my third child so things are mental - that's the short answer. In truth, I make it work because I love what I do, and I am not too proud to ask for help. With my first two, who are now nearly 6 and 8 years old, I took my full maternity leave and relished in every baby related event. Today though, I feel differently; no less attached to my son, but also ready to approach motherhood from a new place. My works helps keep me sane and feeling like me, so I rely on a nanny, some grandparent help and I make sure, for now at least, that I can do the bulk of my work from home. This allows me to feel very present but also carve out time for Step Up. It's manic, I'm tired, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
The best thing about my job is…
the feedback I get from women who have used Step Up and all of its resources, community and guidance to find their new path, or meaningfully engage back in their current roles. Women tend to get a bit forgotten in the melee of life and work; we generally put others' needs before our own, and fail to spend time developing ourselves. When I can help women see this, and then build on it too with relevant new knowledge, coaching calls and workshops, brilliant things happen across their personal and professional lives.
The most difficult aspect of my job is…
The juggle and the grind of building a business from scratch. Everything looks easy and glamourous from the outside looking in, the truth though is that running a small business is draining in many senses of the word. I don't think that will ever change, but I'm looking forward to the day that I can outsource more of the day to day running of things.
The woman who has inspired you most...
My grandmother. Ironically she didn't work, nevertheless her enthusiasm for life, her style and her ability to host what felt like hundreds of guests at the drop of a hat made her a formidable woman. She was absolutely the matriach of the family and she showed me the importance of staying close to those that you love. For all the work that I do, this is what I hold most dear when it comes to my life values.
I'm happiest when...
My three children are snuggled up with me on the bed and we're reading the Famous Five. Failing that, drinking gin and tonics with my best girlfriends and laughing with my husband.
What was your first handbag purchase?
A tiny Louis Vuitton clutch bag that I wore to death, spilt the handle of and generally bashed about from my late teens to my early twenties. I still have it and must get it repaired ready for when my daughters start asking for hand-me-downs. That bag has seen plenty of great nights out, if bags could talk....
What's in your handbag?
Well at the moment, I'm using a very chic Tiba and Marl black leather rucksack that is a changing bag in disguise. When I go out alone though, it's mainly my phone, a small diary (I still write down my engagement long hand), a Beauty Pie lipstick and a huge jangle of keys.
Tote or Cross body?
Tote if I want to feel chic, cross body for everyday.