The Most Influential Women to Watch in 2019


Insights Success has to Introduce the list of The Most Influential Women to Watch in 2019.




The Most



to Watch in 2019



If there’s anything that gives me the credibility to

write for and about women, it is the exponential

amount of inspiration I receive from them on a

daily basis. I’ve been acquainted to, worked with,

been friends with and shared ambitions with a

considerable amount of women. Women who’ve

striven to make ends meet, women who’ve built their

dreams brick by brick, women who’ve always taken

the game to the next level, and women who’re

unhesitant to pull up their sleeves, tie up their hair and

say, “Let’s do this!” I’ve had the privilege of crossing

roads with all such significant women.

However, one thing that has both intrigued and

fascinated me every single time is that they never give

up. The level of determination, the unwavering

passion towards their professions, and the

unfathomable dedication they show to anything they

have at hand, is impeccable.

Robotics: Simplifying and

Safeguarding the Human Life




The most evident example to explain my sudden burst

of excitement and the relevance of the aforementioned

aspects is that of the women featured in this edition.

To read their stories, to understand their dreams and

ambitions, to acknowledge their contributions and to

exhibit all of this has been nothing short of an honor

for us at Insights Success.

Amongst this list of The Most Influential Women to

Watch in 2019, Jenny Lin, the COO of CMIC, Inc.

features as our cover story. With approximately 25

years of professional experience in executive/lab

management, bioanalytical and analytical laboratory operations in support of drug research and discovery,

pre-clinical and clinical drug development and a plethora of other spheres of expertise, Jenny has acquired a

place in the list of exceptional women who’re making a difference in the business world.

Jenny has been a selected member for Global Bioanalysis Consortium (GBC), making recommendations for

global Bioanalysis harmonization. She serves as an editorial board member for peer reviewed journal and chair

for international conference. She has authored and co-authored more than 30 publications, white papers and

presentations. She is also the inventor of 7 issued US patents.

Jenny earned her BS in Analytical Chemistry at Peking University and her MS in Medicinal Chemistry at

University of Connecticut. Jenny is a member of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS),

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), American Chemical Society (ACS), National

Association of Professional Woman (NAPW) and Global CRO Council (GCC).

The edition also features other influential and inspirational women who’ve contributed to the world and strive

every day to make it a better place.

Also, make sure to scroll through the CXO standpoints of some of the leading industry experts to have a brief

taste of the sector. Bon Appetite!

Abhishaj Sajeev

Abhishaj Sajeev














Cover Story














































Editor-in-Chief Pooja M. Bansal

Senior Editor

Managing Editor

Anish Miller

Abhishaj Sajeev

Executive Editor Stella Andrew

Contributing Editors Upama, Ryan

Visualiser David King

Art & Design Head Amol Kamble

Art & Design Assistant Mayur Koli

Co-designer Paul Belin

Art & Picture Editor Sapana Shinde

Business Development Manager

Marketing Manager

Business Development Executive

Sales Executives

Jennifer Winget

Mary D’souza

Joseph, Sherin

Kevin, Alice, Vrushali

Technical Head Jacob Smile

Assistant Technical Head Pratiksha Patil

Technical Consultants Amar, David, Robert

Digital Marketing Manager

Assistant Digital Marketing Manager

SME-SMO Executives

Alina Sege

Prashant Chevale

Gemson, Uma

Research Analyst Eric Smith

Circulation Manager


June, 2019

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Jenny Lin

COO & Board Director

Cover Story

ision, Courage, Integrity, Focus, and Humility are

Vthe founding stones of a business leader. These are

the words of someone who falls in line with what

we at Insights Success would undoubtedly designate as a

visionary. This is Jenny Lin, the Chief Operating Officer

and Board Director at CMIC, Inc. With approximately 25

years of professional experience in executive/lab

management, bioanalytical and analytical laboratory

operations in support of drug research and discovery,

pre-clinical and clinical drug development and a plethora of

other spheres of expertise, Jenny has acquired a place in the

list of exceptional women who’re making a difference in

the business world.

Jenny has been a selected member for Global Bioanalysis

Consortium (GBC), making recommendations for global

Bioanalysis harmonization. She serves as an editorial board

member for peer reviewed journal and chair for

international conference. She has authored and co-authored

more than 30 publications, white papers and presentations.

She is also the inventor of 7 issued US patents.

Jenny earned her BS in Analytical Chemistry at Peking

University and her MS in Medicinal Chemistry at

University of Connecticut. Jenny is a member of the

American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS),

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists

(AAPS), American Chemical Society (ACS), National

Association of Professional Woman (NAPW) and Global

CRO Council (GCC).

Ascending Zeniths of Success

When asked about her opinion on how the changes in

technology utilization, volatility of the market and talent

recognition, affect the overall development of any

business/organization Jenny asserts that, as ever rapid

technology innovation and as a service provider, a CRO

(Contract Research Organization) must be responsive and

‘ride ahead of the curve.’ For decades,

analytical/Bioanalytical testing has played a critical role at

multiple stages of drug development.

Pharmaceutical companies have to perform a

comprehensive battery of tests to ensure product quality,

safety, efficacy, purity and stability through qualitative and

quantitative characterization of their compounds. These

insights are vital in shaping and facilitating the long journey

from identifying drug targets and mechanisms, through

formulation development, manufacturing, preclinical and

clinical trials, and on to regulatory submission, market entry

and beyond.

With unrelenting pressure to enhance the speed, efficiency

and cost-effectiveness of drug discovery and development,

CRO companies need to be confident that their

analytical/Bioanalytical testing is not only tailored to these

translational goals, but fit for purpose, and delivers added

value in an environment in which scientific innovation,

commercial imperatives and unmet patient needs are

rapidly transforming the drug-development paradigm.

Jenny states that talent management and talent

development are key elements of CMIC. Both

the terms are not just a simple human resource

key phrases, but a part of the business strategy

to stay committed to hire, engage, motivate

and develop the most talented and excellent

employees in the industry. “People always are

the most important assets of any business,”

Jenny emphasizes.

Sustaining Excellence

CMIC, Inc. delivers its Bioanalysis services in

four distinct areas—small and large molecule,

biomarkers, and oligonucleotides—in an agile

and flexible manner. The company has been

carrying along the heritage that it built in

Japan by including craftsmanship and spirit in

its business. Built in that way, it has ensured

that its talents are diligently trained, and every

system and detail would reciprocate into

high-quality data. The company has invested

energy and time to offer a top-notch lab

environment and work execution. While on

the small molecule side, CMIC delivers

accuracy and flexibility across multiple

platforms including LC-MS/MS, UHPLC-UV,

and UHPLC-FLDR just to name a few.

For large molecule, the company’s tool-box

contains the latest bioanalytical technologies

such MSD, ELISA, NGS and qPCR providing

versatility for a sponsor’s programs. For

Biomarkers, CMIC supports a range of

projects from exploratory research to fully

validated assays covering pre-clinical and

clinical studies. It routinely develops robust

in-house assays using vendor supplied high

quality antibodies which are either singleplex

or multiplex in design. It also supports various

studies for oligonucleotide-based drugs

including qualification, full method validation,

and GLP sample analysis studies. CMIC has

partnered with recognized global leaders in

RNA-targeted discoveries and have

successfully validated nearly 100 individual

leading compounds that steer CMIC, Inc.

ahead from the other competition in the



Jenny’s strategy of continually up-scaling CMIC’s market competency includes

constantly improving and gaining better understanding of sponsor’s needs, being

flexible and being sensitive to global market trends/demands, and being agile in

implementation. Jenny says that the pharmaceutical and biotechnology

industries are increasingly adopting novel, “one of the kind” and science-led

approaches to improve the efficiency of drug discovery and development.

Jenny is of the opinion that drug research and development parading is

switching from traditional small molecule therapeutics to others such as

Biologics, Oligonucleotides and Biomarkers. Novel strategies and technologies

are leading to considerable improvements

in the ability of non-clinical safety studies

and faster development cycle into human

clinical trials. “As CROs, we need to focus

on not only building solid talent pools, but

introduce new technologies and closely

monitor ever changing regulatory

requirements and in compliance with

global standards,” states Jenny.

Surpassing Challenges

According to Jenny, the most prominent

challenge for women in the business world

is balancing business and family life.

Jenny is of the belief that with dual

responsibilities to businesses and to

families, finding ways to devote time

to both can be challenging at times.

However, she does think that the

culture of work is shifting to allow

women more flexibility, which is a

welcoming change.

When it comes to encouraging women

to take up more of leadership

positions, Jenny emphasizes the

importance of never stop learning;

keep developing necessary knowledge

and skills; maintaining positive

attitudes and focus; Valuing team

success and preparing self (never a

believer of glass ceiling); not being

afraid to take on additional

responsibilities; and


Beholding Prominence

In her advice to the aspiring and

already emerging influential leaders,

Jenny says, “Do not be afraid of being

stereotyped. There will always be

obstacles and failures, man or woman.

Believe in yourself. If you know that

you are doing the right thing, be

persistent. It is also critical to

understand big pictures, value team

success and be conscientiousness.”

Talking about her prospective future,

Jenny says, “You always grow when

the business grows.” Her primary

focus is still business. Her goals are to

support globalization of CMIC’s

business, making it more diverse and

robust, a place where the company’s

talents can enjoy and contribute, and a

leading Bioanalytical CRO that its

sponsors would fully trust and truly

like to partner with.



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to Watch

in 2019

Instilling Leadership, Inspiring Change

We often idolize those, who are in a

position where being influential and

inspirational is evident. Seldom do we

comprehend or try to fathom the immense amount of

effort, sheer dedication, unwavering commitment and

a prolonged strife that person had to endure to reach


When it comes to considering or acknowledging

women on such positions, why do the aforesaid

requirements become tenfold? Even though the

gender gap pertaining to pay and position is being

fought against, it still lies dormant and is evidently

becoming a hurdle for women with significant


To seek and bring into spotlight, such women

who’ve successfully overcome barriers of

biases, misogyny, baseless gender pay gaps

and many others, and have redefined

benchmarks in their respective work

spheres, is what this issue, The Most

Influential Women to Watch, 2019, aims


In this endeavor, we came across a

plethora of women who’ve built

businesses from scratch and

shouldered the foundations of

organizations, and dedicated their

personal and professional lives to make

the world a better place. One amongst such profound

and prolific women is Jane Adshead-Grant, an

Executive Coach, a Facilitator, and a Speaker.

Jane Adshead-Grant

Executive Coach,

Facilitator & Speaker

Jane’s journey began at 20 years of age after she left

secretarial college and entered the workplace. With

the caring leadership of Francesca, PA to the Chief

Executive of an International Investment Bank, Jane

learned what it took to be a professional, to care

about the people she worked for, and to care about the

work she did.


|June 2019|

I imagine a world where we treat

each other with dignity, where we

listen first and give our attention, to

others and the present moment to

enjoy the best quality life.

She was inspired to develop, to learn

more and to seek out opportunities, but

not in a way one would imagine. She left

her job after 3 years, rented out her flat

and bought a ticket to travel the world

and for the following 14 months,

travelled the world. She met some

amazing people, had some fun and

meaningful jobs, and learned loads. It

changed her life. It changed how she

connected with people. This experience

taught her about culture, difference,

appreciation, connection, hard work,

living out of one’s comfort zone,

resourcefulness and resilience.

After she became a mother of two

children, Jane set up her leadership

coaching practice and continued with her

journey. With the responsibility of her

motherhood on her shoulders, taking a

post graduate diploma in psychological

coaching and developing her business

meant that she had to make sacrifices.

She continually juggled priorities,

continued to learn from her mistakes and

continued to grow her skills and


Today, Jane is a Master Certified Coach

with the International Coach Federation;

one of just 4% at this level globally. She

was awarded ‘Best Executive Coach in

South East England in 2016 and 2017’.

“I am fortunate that my practice

continues to grow year on year where I

have the privilege of working with some

incredible clients; those who are keen to

develop people-centric leadership and

cultures to grow themselves and their

people to grow their business,” Jane


Jane’s current and former clients work

within Deloitte, Columbia Threadneedle,

Rothschild, Unilabs, Bank of Montreal,

Punter Southall, KPMG, Charles Russel

Speechley, MunichRe and the 5th largest

Housing Group in the UK.

Redefining Leadership

Jane is of the opinion that the role and

responsibility of leadership is critical not

only for business but also for team

members, customers, and our

communities, in fact all stakeholders in


“I believe as a leader it begins with you,

how you see and accept yourself,” states

Jane. She considers that without this

clarity one may be more susceptible to

being distracted, taken off course even,

and following routes that don’t fit with

where one wants to go and feel like their

confidence is being eroded.

“Understanding who you are as a leader

is to think about your values, your unique

capabilities, what you stand for, and

knowing why you do what you do is

critical,” adds Jane.

The vital attributes according to Jane that

make outstanding leaders, include their

capacity to care about all stakeholders,

have courage; willing to be vulnerable

and who seek to create value not just for

the business itself but for team members,

the community, the markets within which

they operate and the impact on the


Delivering Distinction

When it comes to working with clients,

as a coach, Jane’s approach is to generate

their own independent thinking to solve

their own issues and challenges and

create their own opportunities. In this

way, Jane believes that value is

self-generated, deep seated,

transformative and owned by her clients,

rather than being dependent upon her


As a leadership facilitator, Jane helps

leaders, teams and organisations create

cultures that grow people and

performance in harmony. Where

individuals feel connected to the

organisational purpose, where teams

have a voice in how they work together

in service of their goals, where leaders

build trust and grow their team members

recognising both who they are and what

they do as human beings, rather than

solving their problems for them and

seeing them simply as a function.

Creating More Leaders

In her recommendation to the emerging

generation of leaders and influencers,

Jane says, “Invest in a mentor inside or

outside of your organisation and learn

from them. Observe the behaviours in

leaders who have the greatest positive

impact and witness how they are being

and what they are doing. What questions

do they ask? How do they listen? What

do they care about? What or who inspires

them? What legacy do they want to

create? And then, begin to develop your

own brand of leadership. One that is true

to you and one that is in alignment with

your values.”

A prominent question that Jane would

invite aspiring business women to think

about is, if they knew they couldn’t fail

what would they do now? She

encourages women to trust in their

unique qualities, capitalise on their

strengths and seek out others to who will

mitigate their less developed capabilities.

Jane believes that every day she learns

something for her own personal or

professional development. She envisions

her future together with her husband,

inspiring their two teenage daughters,

producing a second edition of her book

‘Are you Listening or Just Waiting to

Speak?’ and contributing more to her

local community.

Jane also envisions inspiring others to

develop cultures where everybody

matters through her coaching, in-person

and online training programs and open


|June 2019| 17



|June 2019|

Maestro’s Insights

Women in business have come a long way since

Katharine Graham, the first female to lead a

Fortune 500 company, assumed the role of

Washington Post CEO back in 1972. Here in Australia,

women now comprise 42% of all employees and more than

30% of all business owner-managers. In the large Australian

corporations, the story is quite different; women hold the

reins at only 10% of today’s companies and 14 of our Top

200 firms.

The data suggest that it’s becoming more difficult for

women to make the jump from key executive to chief

executive. Macquarie Group founder Mark Johnson

believes it might take another 20 years for the scales to tip

again in our favour. It’s the story of many of today’s women


Being Chameleon-in-Chief

As a founder of the Australian company WeTeachMe, I

can’t say I agree with Mark. After all, today’s world and

business climate look nothing like they did 20 or 30 years

ago. I hope that my own story will inspire courage and pave

the way for others to create businesses that will create

value, especially for other women.

Before founding WeTeachMe, I had barely just arrived in

Australia from Greece, to complete my masters in global

media communications at The University of Melbourne. I

had no background in business, and some may say I had no

“business” entering into the arena of entrepreneurship. And

yet, through sheer grit and desire to pursue our passion for

education, my team and I grew WeTeachMe into the largest

school in Australia, with thousands of classes available and

even more learners enrolling every day.

Has my journey always been easy? Far from it. A lot is

expected from an expat like me. Or from any woman in

business, for that matter. If we want to get promoted at

work, we need to appear assertive, confident, and even

dominant. We become chameleons and adjust our

behaviour, according to what the situation requires, as we

navigate our way from the war room to the board room.

How to Be an Assertive Leader

Below, I share some lessons I’ve learned along the way, to

help other young women navigate the different challenges

and demands that a leadership role requires. To be more

confident and decisive but also constructive and

empowering, incorporate these five habits into your daily

conversations and interactions, and learn how to fine-tune

your ability to adapt.

Listen for cues. To be a good leader, at times, you will

need to be a psychologist, a counsellor, an expert, a sister, a

mentor, a friend. At WeTeachMe, I have worked in sales

and in marketing. Both roles required me to master the art

of active listening and hone my ability to quickly read the

room. To be aware of what a customer or stakeholder is

thinking or feeling is crucial to building trust and rapport,

and helps foster the creation of long-term business


Mind what you say, and also how you say it.

Assertiveness doesn’t mean being overbearing or abrasive.

Be direct and communicate respectfully so that the other

person can focus on what you’re saying, instead of how

you’re saying it. Getting the message across is half the


|June 2019| 19

Express ideas from your own point of view.

Starting your sentences with “I” can spell a

world of difference. Instead of saying “you’re

not listening”, put it in your own words: “I

think what you’re saying is...” Rather than

instructing someone to “work this way” say

“I’d like your help with...” Convey your

feelings and let your empathy come through.

Photographer: Nathalie Saruhashi

Learn how to say no. In the early years of

WeTeachMe, I wore multiple hats. Most

days, I took on more responsibility than was

physically possible. Because that’s what a

founder does; you go above and beyond the

call of duty. From cold calling one minute to

providing customer support the next, juggling

tasks requires flawless execution. As

WeTeachMe grew, I had to give up some of

my hats. This was not an easy lesson to learn!

Today, with a better understanding of the

value of focus, I pick three important things

to accomplish every day and then, delegate

the rest.

Maintain a professional demeanour. If

you’re entering into a negotiation, present

your case with confidence, without getting

argumentative or emotional. Create a winwin

situation for everyone, and they will see

you, not as an adversary, but as a partner.

Leadership That Inspires

Being in business is not always about cutthroat

competition, winning at everything,

and having it all; it’s also, if not more, about

creating personal connections and nurturing

the relationships that get us to where we are.

In and out of the workplace, we need to be

effective and diplomatic, not just goaloriented.

Lead through trust and respect, not

through fear. Teach, don’t micromanage. And

never stop learning.

Leadership is about having the ability to

influence those around us, to rally everyone

around a shared vision, to inspire people, and

to get those who follow us excited to come to

work day after day.

Leadership means celebrating our victories.

But it’s also about forgiving ourselves for our

failures, because that is how we become

wiser and better. Failing is the best way to

learn, and a good leader never stops learning.


|June 2019|

Legends never need an introduction. They tend to be

victorious despite of their uneventful histories. They

stick to captivating traits such as Discipline,

determination and self-belief which help them accomplish

wonders in the long run. One such example of an extraordinary

person is Elon Musk, a South African Business

Magnate, Investor and an engineer.

Musk is the founder, CEO, and chief architect of SpaceX;

Co-founder, CEO, and product designer of Tesla Inc.; and

Co-founder and CEO of Neuralink. As of February 2018, he

is the 53rd-richest person in the world and has a net worth

of $20.8 billion, which is far more than the net GDP of

Greece taken into consideration.

While each entrepreneur possesses a unique set of traits that

makes him/her successful, this Tech founder has a few traits

much different from any other ordinary CEO, which has

allowed him to build some of the world’s most respected

and innovative organizations. Musk once quoted, “When

something is important enough, you do it even if the odds

are not in your favor.”

Let’s have a look on these personality attributes and

characteristics that make him a contender for the most

innovative intellectual entrepreneur of the century alive.

Hard-work and Characteristic Work Ethics

Elon Musk is a hard-working innovator, working for about

100 hours a week, and has been productive since many

years. He may even be considered as the hardest working

employee of the company, setting standards for his

colleagues to follow and implement. Since the field of work

lies inside his radius of interests, he enjoys it to every

moment and bit when it comes to learning and execution.

Strong Risk Tolerance

Founding a start-up involves a great deal of uncertainty and

risk. A study found that after 10 years of being in business,

96 percent of the start-ups fail. Going by the statistics,

Musk must have faced the same odds against him, when he

had decided to leave an otherwise comfortable life to start a

risky and uncertain business venture.

For instance, Musk left his PhD program at Stanford

University to find a company called Zip2 with his brother in

the year 1995. Later, the company was sold to Compaq

computers, profiting Musk a bit over $20 million.

Following this, Musk once again took a great risk by

investing millions of dollars to found a company called, one of the world’s first online banks.

‘Always Be Learning’ Attitude

An astounding and less-known fact about Elon Musk is that

he is self-taught in programming and in many advanced

level subjects. He read and understood a variety of books,

which helped him gain endless and persistent knowledge

and understand diverse concepts.

The best piece of advice on learning and implementation is

to constantly think about how things could be done in a

better manner and question self to seek the answers.


|June 2019|

Imparting Wisdom

Feedback Loop

It is of prime importance to recognize the present symbol or

otherwise ‘status quo’ in the market as an organization and

re-position accordingly. Musk solicits constant feedback of

the companies and executes ‘self-analysis.’ He induces

efforts and divergent strategies to improve customer

feedbacks and strives towards perfectionism.

For example, he seeks out his critics and tries to converse

with them. This habit of self-reflection at regular and

considerable periods is pivotal for any entrepreneur or

organization to succeed in the long run.

Tendency for Vertical Integration

Vertical integration is a strategy where an organization or a

firm acquires business operations within the same product

vertical. Both Tesla and SpaceX embrace this concept. For

example, Tesla not only produces electric cars; they also

generate public awareness about their cars via Tesla

showrooms across various countries. And SpaceX does not

only have the primary goal of rocket propulsions; they

develop their own rocket architecture as well.

Faith in Self and the Founding Team

Musk undoubtedly possesses a profound belief in his own

capabilities as well as the potential-seeking factor of its

founding team. He does not hesitate to gamble on large

scale unless he is genuinely aware of the expected endresults.

It is equally essential to maintain clarity of doubt in any

large scale organization. Under his supervision, Musk

encourages in creating a positive and comprehensive

environment across his firms.

Preferring to Stand Out From the Crowd

Musk elects to bring up innovation at every level of his

understanding. He tends to impart theoretical knowledge at

the base level, applying changes and executing the same on

the practical level. He relies more on transitional aspects

such as research and development, thereby increasing the

probability of ground-breaking inventions.

Tesla Motors, a far headed firm headed by Elon Musk, is

anti-ordinary. Its compelling marketplace has become a

one-stop destination for potential buyers where they can

interact about product specifications. They also have video

testimonials that far outperform in the sales-dominated


There is no ambiguity that Musk, by far, has been a pillar of

inspiration for budding entrepreneurs and investors because

of his prolific and optimistic approach towards life

All these traits possessed by Musk, in some manner or the

other, coincide with most of your habits. The only thing that

stands as a potential barrier between these two is

identifying your strengths and working on them on a

continual basis. Go on, apply these traits into your daily

life, and you may become the next big CEO the world is in

need of today!

|June 2019| 23


|June 2019|

A Leader’s Touchpoint

“ ever do a deal with a bad person” quoting my idol

NWarren Buffett, is exactly the sentiment I have used

to ground my career, companies, teams and

personal relationships. Although my wealth or success

cannot measure up to Warren Buffett as yet, it has been a

great adventure over an aggressive 10 years since leaving

university. To be honest, my ambition far outweighs my

talent – yet, since the age of 7 I have been a go-getter,

overachiever and outright nerd. This attitude of abundant

success enabled by a steadfast work-ethic and tirelessly

creative mind, has provided for countless opportunities both

in South Africa and abroad in top firms. I have been very

fortunate to work with great teams, companies and leaders.

However, initially geared with a millennial expectation to

walk into a dream job. With my BCom and two Master

degrees (one from Stellenbosch University of South Africa

in Economics - Maritime and the second in Corporate

Finance & Law from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University),

I was surprised when, as many others, I started as a glorified

filing clerk and a small basic salary. I also took extreme

steps of courage to venture into a bank with no appointment

to see Human Resources after months of tedious online, nosuccess

job applications. This reality quickly brought me

back to humble ground whilst being a good reminder that

we all need to start somewhere, and work for it!

Be relentless

After earning my stripes and proving my excel modelling

capabilities in “not my job description” extra efforts, I was

promoted from mundane KYC (know you customer) client

services of HSBC bank to analyst, the role I had hoped I

would have secured initially. Thereafter I survived the

intense and challenging interview process of management

consultancy firms Mckinsey and Boston Consulting Group,

nearly failing the final case study at BCG due to pure

exhaustion of 18 hour banking days, finishing a thesis and

studying for CFA. Fortunately, partner Stefano Niavas had

compassion and gave me a second chance. Needless to say,

I then embarked on a journey of development, growth and

exploration as a consultant. I was fortunate enough to work

with leading teams, executives, brands in Africa and

Switzerland improving processes, unlocking savings and

|June 2019| 25

was prevalent. It is estimated that ±30% of total transport

costs can be reduced by reducing empties with significant

environmental positive impact too. This mismatch in

demand for space and supply thereof burdened me, and I

decided to find a better solution. I started developing an

algorithm, similar to online dating, to better match cargo to

space moving in a direction. This algorithm paired with an

innovative platform-driven business model enabled by

digital was the creation of the EmptyTrips platform. Since

launching the enterprise orientated marketplace in April

2017, we have won numerous accolades, persuaded clients

to try new things, and systematically changed the way big

goliath companies think of innovation and technology.

innovating business models. Although many question

the value consultants bring to companies, I have never

doubted the impact our projects brought to management

via enabling a clearer strategy and often enabling them

to shine as rockstars.

Check your own pulse

In 2016, after an emotional December of

disappointment and over-ambition, I resigned from

BCG and joined a niche strategy and investment firm

named Singular Group. At Singular, under the

mentorship of Lorenzo Tencati I was given immense

autonomy with the taste of entrepreneurship and a

health scare. Within 6 months I resigned to attempt to

launch a platform I believed could create purposeful

impact paired with profits in a legacy driven industry

calling out for disruption; logistics.

Be bold

During my consulting years and on many holidays, the

topic of inflated transport costs to absorb the empty haul

Make a plan, and then have fun

To fund an idea was harder than I expected. I always say

that the economy of ideas is thriving, yet the currency of

execution is feeble. As such, we endeavored to prove we

had the execution capability, and not just a great idea. To

fund the journey, I relied on the one skill I trusted in,

strategy consulting. Being a creative that is deliverable

orientated often ensured that executives enjoyed working

with me on their goals, company strategy or even simply

independently sound-boarding. Seedpitch Innovation

Consultancy was created to fund Emptytrips through its

development phase until we could earn revenues to

“bootstrap”, grow and then attempt to raise venture capital.

VC is not a strategy, it is a tactic to growth after all.

To date Seedpitch has assisted executives across Mauritius,

Dubai, Saudi, Kenya, Tanzania, Switzerland and South

Africa to recalibrate growth strategies, and operational turnarounds.

It has been daunting juggling two roles, but I have

fun doing it with such a winning feeling when I see a client

succeed off a practical but bold roadmap we developed


Aspire to share

EmptyTrips foundation principle is filling spaces to places,

this is only possible by enterprise sharing of data (securely)

and asset capacity of course. Personally, the concept of the

sharing economy goes beyond that of the platform. I have

been so fortunate over the past 10 years to learn, grow,

travel, build, launch, fail and win. Teachings I willingly

share with those who ask for help. Sharing is caring, I can

only encourage all of us to “pay it forward”.


|June 2019|

f it is a woman holding the torch

Iwhile leading you to glory, follow

her without a doubt; she knows

the path like the back of her hand.”

Have you seen the shooting digits over

the number of women who’ve entered

STEM throughout the past forty years?

Do you know how much of a

colossally positive effect that has had

on the global economy? Does the

biological strength-rational decision

making comparison barrier still exist at

your workplace? These questions do

create friction which may eventually

lead to debatable consequences, albeit

their evident occurrence.

But the most prominent question

remains. Have you come across

women who have built empires from

scratch on the foundations of passion,

acknowledgement, and grit? If not, we

at Insights Success would be more than

obliged to place the spotlight on

Marina Tognetti, the Founder of

mYngle and an avid tech entrepreneur.

Her passion for entrepreneurship was

conceived when working as consultant

on a project on internet strategy. That

is when she first saw the potential of

internet to disrupt industries and

forever change the way people buy, sell

and interact. “I had to be part of that!

That was the driver to start an

innovative company as mYngle, as I

knew I could make a real difference,

putting in practice all I had learned in

my career till then,” Marina expresses.

With mYngle she received a myriad of

international recognitions for her

contribution as a woman in technology.

While defining the attributes which a

true business leader should possess,

Marina asserts emphasis on having a

strong vision, to set the direction and

anticipate and navigate challenges,

which also means being able to think

out of the box.

Being able to adapt and change to keep

the business successful, considering

the speed of technological

advancement and a greater degree of

uncertainty in the world, must also be

the attributes of an influential leader. A

leader must be bold at taking

calculated risks while comprehending

the fact that great and unforeseen

opportunities come from taking risks.

An Experts Insight

When it comes to catching up with the

pace at which technological disruptions

occur, market volatility and the

acknowledgement of prompt talent

recognition, Marina has a foolproof

strategy for everything. She says that

being agile while catering to one’s

business operations is paramount.

Pertaining to this, mYngle has been

able to secure its position as one of the

leaders in its segment by being diligent

to build solid principles, work

processes, and a team that has the

capability and the will to change and

adapt according to its constantly

evolving surroundings.

Marina states that being agile requires

developing people that think and not

just do ‘jobs’, employees that are

entrepreneurs. In order to achieve that,

the organization must be able to

stimulate a culture of experimentation,

trial and error, allowing mistakes. She

is also of the opinion that evolution

and innovation cannot happen without

taking risks, and rarely without error

along the way.

Marina strongly believes that the key

to success is not constantly comparing

with competition, but aligning with

what customers want. Constant focus

on customers and their needs is one of

mYngle’s pillars and key strengths she

says and suggests that this is

particularly important when one is in

an industry like that of online

education, is in a transition or

evolution phase, where the primary

challenge is not competition but the

unfamiliarity or inexperience of


A Sensible Solution

Marina states that for women, the path

towards the top is not a straight line. It

is not a glass ceiling that blocks their

path just before the last step. It’s a

labyrinth. She believes that women get

lost somewhere along the way. “We

need to help women navigating

through the twists and turns, and give

them the confidence that they can do

it,” she expresses.

This requires mentors to guide them as

well as role models that are closer by,

changing the way a job gets evaluated


|June 2019|

and cherishing a new style of leadership, that is more

feminine and more inclusive, says Marina. “A strong leader

is not that without faults, as we all have faults, but that

which is so self-confident to be able to show her

vulnerabilities without fearing that it could impact her

strength. I believe this can be the strength of a female

leader,” she adds.

Bequeathing the Keys of Excellence

In her advice to forthcoming generation of leaders and

entrepreneurs, Marina states, “First, do not be afraid of

taking risks. In order to grow, you have to step out of your

comfort zone. You can never make the path completely safe.

And you will never know unless you try.”

“Secondly, don’t always stick to the plan. Things might

evolve differently than you had initially anticipated, that is

not necessarily bad. Take advantage of it.”

“Last but not least, never give-up. If you don’t succeed at

first, try again (and keep on trying). If you believe you can

always find another way, there is (almost) nothing that you

cannot achieve,” she concludes.

The Voyage Continues

When asked about her future prospects with regards to her

personal growth as well as what’s in store for mYngle,

Marina says, “It is in my nature to want to constantly

improve, and it is in the nature of an entrepreneur to always

seek new opportunities or areas of development. The future

in leading mYngle will surely hold new challenges, as we

keep on innovating and being ahead of the market.”


For Marina personally, she says it will also be time for the

idealistic voice inside to speak, the voice that believes in

giving something back for a better world. “I walked this path

and learned a lot. That brought me in a privileged position,

where I can act and implement new ideas that can make a

difference. I can now use my skills to make the world just a

little bit better,” she adds.



|June 2019| 29


|June 2019|

Unbiased Future

At the top

“It’s all about finding someone’s strengths. Women don’t

outperform men and vice versa. But I won’t deny that it

takes a lot of discipline to stay at the top as a woman,”

Ineke expresses. Just like men, women have a lot of

qualities that match perfectly with a leadership role. It’s

important that leadership comes from the heart. And you

need to have the intention to help others grow and make

them better through your role. I call it Servant Leadership.

If you want to make your company a success, you need to

be of service to the company and its people. This has

nothing to do with gender or background.

That’s why a quota for women at the top is completely

nonsense, according to me. All women who really want to

reach the top, will find a way to break through that glass

ceiling. No bias in the world will stop a woman on a

mission to reach that top position. But it’s wrong to think

that anyone with the right capabilities – man or woman –

can work anywhere they want. There should be a match

between your personality, the company’s values and its

culture. And sometimes it’s just a case of pure luck. Being

at the right place at the right time. If this match doesn’t

come naturally, it’s just not meant to be.

But if there is a perfect match between you as a leader and a

company, it’s the first positive step, in my opinion. It’s still

a lot of work. Having all that responsibility takes a lot out

of you. You shouldn’t be afraid to make choices, and that

also means saying no to certain activities in your personal


I am a mother of two and am not home every day. My

husband and I have been able to make it work. I notice that

a lot of women still find it difficult. But you can’t run a

company part time. You need to dare to go full in. Those

doubts often appear during the initial job interview. Women

say “I want to be a director, but I still have children that I

need to bring to school. Is that possible?” As if there are no

male CEOs that bring their kids to school. The big

difference is that men don’t ask these kinds of questions.

They just do it!


It’s all about balance. Recently, I attended a forum on

female leadership, where I talked about my role as a CEO.

In the audience, were female students who were just about

to graduate. When the moderator asked which of them

wanted the same job as me, only three of the four hundred

students raised their hands. The moderator was shocked,

and asked the audience what was going on. “She works too

much”, was the answer. “And we also want to be able to go

to parties, exercise and have a social life.” That shocked me

a little. It’s not that I don’t do anything else besides work.

My downtime, social life and work activities are just one

big mix. It’s true that I’m constantly thinking about work.

But I also allow myself to go for a run in the morning or see

my hairdresser during the week. To me, it’s just one full

week in which I can do a lot.

Did I have this go-getter mentality as a child, since I

already knew I wanted to one day reach the top? I think so.

But, at the same time, all the things I hoped for as a child

didn’t come true. What I got is a lot better. I definitely don’t

regret the choices that I’ve made. I started a family, got

married, and am the CEO of a young and ambitious

company. I should therefore be the last person to decide

whether or not one should have a leadership position based

on a ‘home situation’. How you combine the two is up to

you. And yes, that takes a lot of discipline. But if you have

natural leadership qualities, I believe everything is going to

be alright.

The key to achieving this? As a female – or male – leader,

you need to learn to let go and prioritise. Just do your best

and focus on making things better for other people.

|June 2019| 31




Yumi Alyssa Kimura


Agood leader is an inclusive

one, they encourage trust

within an organization and its

team members, they allow feedback to

be a ritual rather than a process, and

courage others to be vulnerable, admit

their mistakes, learn from them and

they also actively listen. They are

transparent and encourage

contribution and co-creation from their

teams so that when work is getting

done, it’s being done with passion and


A Leader Born out of Discrimination

Yumi Alyssa Kimura, the CEO of

LEAD started her professional career

at the ripe age of 18, founding her own

translation business in Shanghai for

Japanese and Chinese customers. Her

journey towards success was a difficult

one. In her own words,

“I was then able to get involved in the

real estate business, eventually selling

a house for 4 million dollars in 2008,

earning enough commission to support

myself, I was able to attend an ivy

league school in Japan, graduating in

2013. This, however, wasn’t without

struggle. I would travel back and forth

on an overnight during my junior and

senior years at college, I worked full

time and commuted every week

between Tokyo and Osaka.”

She had to undergo many trials and

tribulations as an ambitious young

female in the male-dominated

corporate world of Japan and her

inspiring journey into entrepreneurship

in America. Growing up both in China

and Japan as the daughter of parents of

a Russian bloodline, Yumi was

regarded as a minority in her own


She started her career as an M&A

consultant and later on became

corporate recruiter in Japan, but her


|June 2019|

dream of setting and working in Japan

turned into a nightmare with the

manipulation of the higher authority.

Unfortunately, as an ambitious young

female in the very male-dominated

corporate world of Japan, there were

many barriers put in place to ensure

that success would remain an

unrealistic pursuit. Until an American

friend and mentor inspired her journey

into the world of entrepreneurship in

the United States, back in 2013.

It was an extremely taxing year and a

half. However, Yumi was able to

graduate without any debt and had a

head start on building a network in

Tokyo while she was still in college.

Being acquainted with business culture

while Yumi was still in school, aided in

starting a consulting business called

Spinnaker Partners (which worked

with venture capitalists and startups)

right after her graduation.

The Mission of LEAD

The mission of LEAD is to be a

platform that fosters employee

engagement through matching

employees with their co-workers for

better communication and career

growth, all whilst solving HR’s biggest

challenges: enhancing company culture

and retaining employees.

Yumi aims to be a role model and lead

the way for other women, and people

in general to have the same

opportunities that have been offered to

her through hard work and great


The purpose and mission of LEAD go

hand in hand with this question.

Organizations must work harder to

nurture, develop and retain their talent,

thinking of their teams as more than

just human capital, taking into

consideration employee experience,

rewards and recognition, work life,

diversity and inclusion and ways to

develop through human, authentic

connections that encourage organic

mentor and coaching opportunities.

This practice, LEAD believes, will

teach its team members to be more

agile, resilient and dedicated, even

when weathering a storm, with

monumental change acumen, strategic

foresight, and hindsight.

Sustaining the Leading Position of

LEAD in Global Market

“Why do organizations like Google or

Costco do well? Because their

products are seamless. Word of mouth,

even in the day and age of social media

is powerful. Deliver on what you

promise, without monumental hiccups,

and that’s what LEAD aims to do, not

only deliver a solution but an intuitive

opportunity to work on employee

experience, development, engagement,

and diversity and inclusion problem

which is uniquely suited to their

individual organization.”

Yumi expresses her views on the secret

behind her sustainable business tactics.

“This solution will be amplified by

pushing our brand awareness and

social media profile by working with

credible influencers in our industry and

investing in a product that truly

delivers on its promise to buyers and

shareholders.” Further, she asserts.

The Vision of a Brighter Future

“Right now I’m dedicated to see LEAD

succeed by helping companies

transform HR related corporate

development at scale through

technologies”, states Yumi.

There are a lot of cognitive gaps

between different genders, age groups,

ethnic groups, and cultures. Being an

Asian, immigrant woman, building up

a company in the US and facing






to Watch

in 2019


countless obstacles by doing so, Yumi

hopes to have a real impact by

addressing exactly these challenges

with LEAD. By helping organizations

transform the way they engage and

retain employees the process and

journey of LEAD itself is an incredible

personal growth opportunity.

Advice for Emerging Women


Confidence and self- assurance is the

key. Women are taught to be perfect

from a young age, so a lot of women

like to compare themselves to women,

especially those who are at the top of

their careers.

“Now whilst we should most definitely

be inspired by others who are doing

great things, I encourage everybody to

aim high, it’s important to remember

that a pyramid is built from the bottom.

We need leaders and role models at all

stages, not just at the top”, Yumi shares

her views with the upcoming women


|June 2019| 35

As of 2017, 6% of the venture capitalists were

women and only 2.7% women owned businesses

received venture capital funding. Being a VC in

this startup economy, where 90% of startups fail, is a tough

job. However, it has noting to do with gender.

“Hi. I am Nin Desai. I head a crowdfunded technology

venture capital firm, NIN Ventures (or NIN.VC). We invest

in Series A & B rounds of disruptive technology



While there are number of factors responsible for success in

the venture capital industry including timing and luck, top

of that list is a disruptive technology. A disruptive

technology is an innovation that changes the way an

existing industry functions and also helps create a new

market and value network, displacing an earlier technology

or a way of doing business.

E.g. 3D printing has been used for rapid prototyping and is

being applied in a number of industries today, including

|June 2019|

Stellar’s Vision

manufacturing, automotive, consumer, aerospace, defense,

and especially healthcare. As the accuracy and materials

market have improved, the medical space shows great

potential for this technology. There are about 114,000

people currently on the organ recipient list in United States;

and only 34,770 transplants were performed in 2017. Every

10 minutes a new person is added to the waiting list and 20

people die every day because they cannot find a right organ.

What if 3D printing tissues can help save some of those


Every sector at some point is up for disruption. E.g. Ad

Tech. Over time as consumer behavior patterns changed,

Digital has now replaced Traditional Television. People are

now spending more time on their personal devices like

phone, tablets, & PCs. An average American spends about 3

hours everyday on their personal devices, and this is the

first time, the time spend on personal devices have

surpassed time spent watching Television, which is a big

change and opportunity for the Ad Tech Industry.


E.g. 4 Industrial Revolution. We stand on the brink of a

technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the

way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale,

scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike

anything humankind has experienced before. The First

Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to

mechanize production. The Second used electric power to

create mass production. The Third used electronics and

information technology to automate production. Now a

Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the

digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle

of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of

technologies that is blurring the lines between the 3D, 4D,

digital, other smart and biological spheres.

However, great ideas and technology needs to be backed by

a solid revenue model in order to attract customers as well

as attain profitability for the company to be an attractive

investment opportunity for a VC. E.g. our new initiative,

Total Capitalism. A startup needs an ecosystem to thrive

upon, thus it is very important for a company to understand

the market dynamics, its impact on their industry, product,

and also have a good understanding of the competitive

landscape in order to achieve long term success. A

disruptive technology needs to scale and a through analysis

helps gage those risk and rewards.

A CEO is the captain of the ship; and at NIN.VC we start

with an entrepreneur because entrepreneurs build

companies and not the other way around. Some of the

qualities VCs look for in an entrepreneur are ability to

dream big with ideas that scale, certain personality traits

and work ethics like being focused, disciplined, and hard

working. It’s important to have industry expertise and

knowledge or surround yourself with people that

compliment. However, flexibility and choices an

entrepreneur / the team makes determines the future of the

company. An amazing entrepreneur with a disruptive

technology, a solid revenue model, and good understanding

of the competitive landscape goes to vain, if the company

does not communicate effectively or has a good execution


Venture Capitalists are known to invest in unicorns that

prove to be home run for their LPs and while there is no

secret recipe for success, hope this helps in understanding

the art and science behind each of that investment.

|June 2019| 37

Entrepreneurship as a skill is a complex entity which

encompasses a plethora of attributes one is needed to

exhibit. In its essence, this skill aids in broadening

business perspectives, enhancing communication skills and

induces a necessity for growth and self-development. An

evident and profound example of how this skill of

entrepreneurship shapes an individual and a number of other

aspects is that of Victoria Lennox, the President of Startup


Victoria, an entrepreneur with a track record of architecting

and mobilizing networks, organizations, policy environments

and programming, has propelled Canada onto the global stage

as an ‘Innovation Nation’.

She has been one of Canada’s leading proponents of

entrepreneurship and innovation with deep relationships and

ties across academia, industry, government, media and the

grassroots startup community reaching every industry

vertical from Ai and Machine Learning to CleanTech and

FinTech across Canada and the World.

Being passionate about education and entrepreneurship to

foster peace, hope and prosperity, Victoria possesses principal

diplomacy and political acuity, creates and communicates a

compelling vision, and inspires higher levels of achievement

and impact of individuals and organizations alike.

Recently Victoria was recognized by the Hill Times as one of

Canada’s most influential lobbyists, giving a voice to Canada

entrepreneur sector, working with all parties and all levels of

government to help create the conditions for Canada to

compete and lead on the global stage.

With her ‘collaborate-by-default’ philosophy, her

commitment to ‘service before self’ and her enterprising

nature of empowering those around her and leading by

example, Victoria is one of Canada’s leading public figures in


With award-winning enterprises in the UK and Canada,

Victoria’s approach to economic development has earned her

praise from countries across the world looking to emulate the

models she has created. What set her apart from the crowd, are

not only her innovative ideas but her ability to match her

vision with commitments and hard work, in order to manifest

them in a way that others have only tried.

Victoria has been successful in mobilizing entrepreneurs,

private sector investment, and bringing the entire ecosystem

around the table to have a shared vision of building a more

entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

Exemplifying Distinction

Startup Canada harnesses Canada’s vibrant volunteer culture

and grassroots entrepreneurial spirit. It has put into practice

Brad Feld’s ‘Boulder Thesis’, wherein entrepreneurial

leaders, with a long-term and inclusive vision mobilize

regular events that connect the ecosystem. Startup Canada has

leveraged this model to help foster 50 Startup Communities to

form a Pan-Canadian network to unite the country’s

entrepreneurship community and give entrepreneurs a voice

to decision-makers in government and industry.

Today Startup Canada supports more than 250,000

entrepreneurs through its leading digital platforms, startup

communities, flagship events and programs to help

entrepreneurs to start and scale thriving businesses.

Exclusive Services and Products

As the leading digital platform for entrepreneurs, Startup

Canada runs Innovative online events that connect Canada’s

entrepreneurship community; including, the Startup Canada

Podcast with Rivers Corbett, the THRIVE Podcast for

Women Entrepreneurs with Komal Minhas, and a Twitter chat

called #StartupChats which trend regularly, bringing

entrepreneurship into the digital narrative of our nation.

Startup Canada also runs the Startup Canada Awards to

recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in

Canadian entrepreneurship and innovation. Through regional

celebrations touring across Canada, Startup Canada


|June 2019|





to Watch

in 2019

celebrates Canada’s leading innovators and

recognizes a broad range of entrepreneurs.

Each year, Startup Canada runs a flagship event

called Startup Canada Day on the Hill which

connects entrepreneurs with decision-makers to

ensure the regulatory environment for

entrepreneurs is not only conducive for their

growth but accelerates it. Startup Canada also

supports a vibrant network of startup

communities and rolls out national programs and

events through those communities to build

capacities to give Canada a leading edge;

including, the Canadian Export Challenge,

Startup Finance Bootcamps, digital literacy

programs and much more.

Advocating Disruption

Victoria is of the opinion that the speed of

technological change is accelerating, and

organizations must adapt to keep up and remain

competitive. She believes that the rate of

technological change is tripping up large

organizations and evening the playing fields for

new disruptive entrants. She emphasizes that to

keep pace and to stay innovative, companies and

governments alike have the opportunity to work

alongside fast-moving startups to leverage their

creative potential to stay ahead of and drive

technological change.

The Future Roadmap

Startup Canada is becoming Canada’s

entrepreneurship organization. Through focusing

on supporting a broad range of entrepreneurs to

become export-ready, financially resilient, adopt

technologies, and build out marketing and sales

strategies to scale, Startup Canada is building the

capacity of every entrepreneur, enterprise and

ecosystem to scale-up Canada’s entrepreneurial


Victoria Lennox

President & Co-founder

We are


working together to

build a Canada for


and give a voice to

the Canadian

startup community.

|June 2019| 41

Tessa Clarke

Co-founder & CEO


In my role as chief evangeliser for OLIO – the

world’s only neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing

app – I speak about our work and journey at a lot

of events. And without fail I’m almost always asked

something along the lines of “How do you juggle

having a family with a start-up?” Whilst this is an

extremely valid question – and it touches on a topic

that’s very close to my heart, it really frustrates me

because I never hear the same question levelled at male

peers. As a result, this seemingly innocuous question is

laden with an enormous amount of gender bias,

generally to the exclusion of men. I would suggest that

if we want to achieve a fulfilled balanced life for all –

male and female – we have to ensure that we’re all

participating in this debate about work/life balance, and

that inclusivity needs to be the starting point.

Another challenge in this area is, funnily enough,

the gender bias experienced by men who choose to

be the “stay at home Dad”! Several years ago my

husband and I decided that given our respective

career paths and motivations in life, it made

sense for me to be the “bread winner” and for

him to look after our two kids and home,

whilst developing property in his remaining

time. This has given me the flexibility to

pursue the opportunities for OLIO with full

vigour, and has been absolutely invaluable in

terms of helping me to achieve a balanced

life. However, sadly, my husband

experiences more than the occasional

disparaging passing comment and has even

been asked “When are you going to get a

proper job?” Thankfully he has no self-


|June 2019|

Integrated Approach

esteem issues, and thinks he has the best job in the world!

But I highly doubt that in this day and age anyone would

ever dare say this to a woman; and so why to a man? If

women are to be truly equal in the workplace – and to

achieve a balanced life, then we need to adjust our

perceptions of what it means to be a male in a modern

society, and accept that this will require men to taking on an

increasingly prominent role in the delivery of childcare –

which is to the benefit of all involved, not least the children!

Gender issues aside, I spend a considerable amount of

mental energy working towards achieving a ‘balanced life’.

I prefer the terminology of a ‘balanced life’ rather than

‘work/life balance’, because when you’re an entrepreneur

(and especially an entrepreneur working from home), the

two can become very mixed! And to suggest that ‘work’

and ‘life’ are the antithesis of one another surely isn’t what

we should aspire to. In the very early days of setting up

OLIO, it was pretty much impossible to lead a balanced life

because we had to achieve so much, in so little time, and

with virtually no resources. As we’ve grown the business

and the team however, both Saasha my Co-founder and I

have achieved a much more balanced life – which is

important, because the start-up journey is a series of

marathons, not a sprint, and so it’s essential to avoid

burnout. We find that working predominantly from home is

extremely helpful in achieving balance (5-10 hours per

week gained back through not having to commute!), and we

both carve out time during our working days to exercise. In

the early days we used to feel quite guilty about exercising

when we ‘should’ be working, but now we recognise that if

we’re to perform at our best then we need to be mentally

and physically fit and exercise is absolutely critical for this.

Plus, I find that I have many of my best insights and

inspirations for OLIO when working out, so it really is

killing two birds with one stone!

employee’s induction, we talk about the importance of a

balanced life, and in our line manager training, we stress

that the line manager is responsible for working with their

direct reports to ensure that they are achieving a balanced

life. What this means is that on a day to day basis our team

chat will often show someone walking the dog at mid-day,

someone else with their kids at 3pm and others heading off

to swim or yoga. Each team member is responsible for

ensuring that their work is done, according to whatever

schedule best suits them, and as a result, we have an

incredibly motivated and productive team, the majority of

who say that working for OLIO is the best job they’ve ever

had! If you aren’t already talking about how you can

achieve a balanced life as individuals and as a company,

then I can highly recommend spending some time on it, as

the rewards will be enormous!

As well as working towards a balanced life for ourselves,

we’ve really baked this into the DNA of the company too.

And this has manifested itself in a couple of important

company policies. The first is our holiday policy – we have

no cap on the number of day’s holiday an employee can

take; however we do have a minimum and insist that

everybody has at least 20 days off. This is because we saw

research from other companies who had adopted a limitless

holidays policy, and it actually showed that the number of

days worked by employees increased, not decreased! We

also think it’s really important for the team to have a

collective break over the Christmas holidays so everyone

can really relax, confident in the knowledge that their email

inbox isn’t rapidly filling up! We also ensure that in every

|June 2019| 43

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