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Lauren Baker holding Woman art

5 Female Founders Tell Us Their Best Career Advice

As a female-founded brand, we believe that women should have the opportunity to sit at the head of the table when it comes to business. It feels right that on the week of International Women’s Day, we celebrate some of the brilliant female CEOs and founders that motivate us. We got in touch with a number of Dancing Leopard’s wonderful women friends and leaders (including our very own founder, Jade) to ask them for their best career advice and which women they’re most inspired by.

Jade, founder of Dancing Leopard

JADE, FOUNDER OF DANCING LEOPARD

Jade and her partner, Jack, founded Dancing Leopard in 2009 after travelling around India. Inspired by Goa’s vibrant fabric markets, they set out to create unique clothing that fused confident colour and powerful print. Since then, we’ve grown to include an international website, concessions in ten countries and a team of over 20, which is mostly made up of women.

What’s your best piece of career advice?

Be resilient and don't take anything personally. Start every day with a positive mental attitude so you can breeze through any challenges that come up without getting stressed. If you are calm and unfazed by setbacks you will be laser-focused and power through your tasks. To prepare for your day of positive vibes, develop a morning routine that makes you feel amazing. If you spend your first 15-60 minutes of each day doing what makes you feel good, you will take that into your day and you will become unstoppable. Personally, I like to put some beautiful music on and have a dance and stretch, then into the cold shower before making some coffee and chatting with Jack about the priorities for the day (and what's for dinner).

Which woman inspires you and why?

Lots of women inspire me - we really know how to get things done, don't we?

  • Sophie Hilton from Bits and Peaches for her incredible creative mind, and her ability to remain calm whilst juggling multiple business ventures and a baby.
  • My sister Tanya for creating Wigwam - an incredible teepee retreat in Goa whilst never running out of time or energy for her friends and family. 
  • My sister Sophie for her dedication to helping vulnerable children through her work at Think Like a Pony and always being ready for a giggle and a wiggle.
Lynn Henry petting a horse

LYNN HENRY, FOUNDER OF THINK LIKE A PONY

Lynn, founder of Think Like A Pony, started her career as a secondary school biology teacher in a deprived part of Leeds, where she inspired students to engage with the subject. It wasn’t until her children became interested in ponies that her direction changed course. Lynn took her ability to easily communicate with children and paired it with her passion for horsemanship, creating Think Like A Pony, a not-for-profit equine therapy organisation that teaches young people how to ride and take care of horses. Think Like A Pony reaches 160 children every week at their centre in Leeds, many of whom are referred by the NHS and social services, and encourages them to feel more confident.

What’s your best piece of career advice?

It is easy to seek advice, reassurance and validation from those around you, particularly when faced with a personal or professional challenge. If you have the confidence and courage to act on your sense of passion and intuition, then when things get tough you can look inside yourself to find the answer. When I first shared with other professionals that I was going to lead a movement changing the way that young people were empowered through horsemanship, many believed that my vision was not achievable. Together me and my team of Think Like a Pony instructors have proven the success of our unprecedented business model that is becoming a leading figure in both the equestrian industry and as an alternative intervention for both troubled children and troubled ponies. It is through self-belief and courage that dreams become a reality.

Which woman inspires you and why?

My Mum, her favourite sayings were “Let go of the negative, get with the positive!" and "All things have to come and all things have to go.” This means don’t worry about it when a challenge presents itself because with time and patience any turbulence in life will pass. She didn’t just profess these sayings, she lived by them too!

VISIT THINK LIKE A PONY 

Chloe Moss wearing Dancing Leopard Sisterhood Charity T-Shirt

Chloe wears our Sisterhood Charity T-shirt, in support of Women for Women International. 

CHLOE MOSS, FOUNDER OF CHLOBO

After visiting Bali and falling in love with its culture, Chloe felt inspired to make jewellery that reflected the heart and soul of the island. She created a home-studio and launched her brand, ChloBo. 16 years later, after lots of hard work, passion and creativity, ChloBo is worn by the world's most stylish women, with over 180 stockists around the globe.

What’s your best piece of career advice?

Work hard, seize every opportunity, take risks and make sure you love what you do!

Which woman inspires you and why?

Various different people inspire me but would have to say the one person who inspires me every day is my mother. She is always positive and uplifting, motivating and helps me believe in myself and my dreams. Always telling me anything is possible! She is always there when I need her!

VISIT CHLOBO

Lauren Baker holding Woman art piece

Lauren wears our Sisterhood Charity T-shirt, in support of Women for Women International. 

LAUREN BAKER, FOUNDER & ARTIST

Lauren is a contemporary multidisciplinary artist whose work explores human connection, metaphysics and the expansion of the universe. Her art is often built around emitting or omitting light, and the neon sign is her signature style. She’s created installations in some of the most renowned British galleries, including The V&A, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and her collections are held worldwide.

What’s your best piece of career advice?

Blue Sky Thinking - Have a big vision. Imagine there are no limits, no clouds, a pure bright blue sky -  this is the head space that you need to dream from. Note: Expect magic and miracles!

  • Focused manifestation - decide exactly what you want and manifest it. 
  • Get a life coach - plan action steps towards the big vision. 
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway - read the book if these words aren't already solidly in your mind 
  • Take time alone to feed your inner creativity. Fill your mind with wonder, and stay curious. Read ‘The Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron. 
  • Listen to inspiring audible books to stay motivated on your path e.g. Marisa Peer, Tony Robbins, Ted Talks 
  • Use technology - apps and software to make your quest more efficient, e.g. Trello, Planoly, ArtLogic 
  • Celebrate success - life is short, drink champagne and celebrate 
  • Stay grateful 

Which woman inspires you and why?

Female artists that inspire me are: Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abramovic, Agnes Martin, and the late artists: Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, recently passed, Nancy Fouts. Nancy Fouts's  object based art and sculpture inspired me greatly in my early years. Her work was dark and mysterious, sometimes weird - which I love,  plus she was a lively, fun and warm soul, really living life to the full. She passed in 2019. Her work deserved to blow up so much more than it did while she was alive. I still admire her greatly and I love it that her creations live on, as mine will live beyond my life one day! 

VISIT LAUREN BAKER ART

Jody Shield sitting on window ledge

JODY SHIELD, FOUNDER & COACH

Ten years ago, Jody left her corporate job after realising that the her current path wasn’t serving her. Determined to help people, she started her own conscious coaching business, helping entrepreneurs and business leaders to scale their online businesses. Today, she’s not only a successful coach but an author, TEDx speaker and the host of ‘Be Electric’ podcast. Jody’s on a mission to transform lives by helping people to unlock their full potential. 

What’s your best piece of career advice?

It is ALL a journey, it’s not about the destination. So you have to learn how to enjoy and appreciate the journey, because this is where the biggest lessons are. If you only focus on the end goal, you’ll reach it and immediately think about 'what’s next'. We always want what’s next and we’re never satisfied with what we have right now in this moment. 

Which woman inspires you and why?

Ok look this might sound cliche, but with good reason. And I could give so many incredible examples of women who inspire me in this answer, but for this year 2021, it has to be my Mum, Juliet. And for GOOD reason (as I said) she has decided to transition in her career from restaurant consultant to hypnotherapist. She’s actually re-trained as a hypnotherapist during lockdown, and is now about to start seeing her first clients. She’s been driven by the inherent need to serve people, and they need it the most right now as the world has changed so much, and many people are struggling to adjust. So I’m so very proud of my mum for discovering her purpose while being in her 70s!

VISIT JODY SHIELD

Women for Women International - UK Charity Registration Number: 1115109

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