Posted: by Jo Tuesday, 30 October 2018 @ 11:59
This year, in our quest to step up and be our best selves, we wanted to learn from truly remarkable women, to use them as role models to inspire us.
We are absolutely thrilled to talk to Sandra Garlick for our series of talks with truly inspiring women.
I have known Sandra for some years, when she owned her own law practice. But it is in recent years, running the ‘Woman Who’ network and awards, that I have really got to know her.
Sandra is truly inspirational in getting behind female entrepreneurs – from start-ups to established business owners – to encourage them to recognise and celebrate their success. She provides support and mentoring, as well as recognising their achievements through her superb awards initiative.
First of all, I asked Sandra a little about her background.
The first thing I learned was that Sandra loves a challenge! Qualifying as a solicitor in her late 30’s, whilst raising her two sons, was a defining achievement, and in 2007, Sandra started her own law firm, which became a niche Legal 500 Employment Law practice. She merged the firm in 2014.
Sandra admits that she learned the hard way about running a business, making numerous mistakes in the early days - her ‘learning curves’. However, she always ensured that her profile was active, and soon secured Non-Exec positions on various committees and Boards.
Sandra founded ‘Woman Who’ in early 2016 whilst laid up with a badly broken ankle. She calls it her ‘accidental’ business. However, she has created a supportive community to inspire women in business, and rising stars of the future, to recognise their achievements and celebrate them.
Sandra delivers her Awards in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and sits on the FSB’s Women in Enterprise Taskforce. Earlier this year, Sandra published ‘I Am a Woman Who’, a collection of inspiring stories from women in business - role models who share their business journey. Sandra also helps these women share their story from the stage, through her newly launched UK Speaker Academy.
Sandra loves holidays, especially exploring Italy on her numerous Italian escapes, whilst learning Italian. She also enjoys supporting her local football and rugby teams.
So – we were very keen to find out from Sandra about what motivates her, and who she admires.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
I’ve always been ambitious, largely down to my upbringing, having a strong mother who told me I could be anything I want to be. If I fell down as a child, was bullied at school, or had a bad day, she simply told me to get back up, brush myself down and get on with it. So I did.
How important have role models been to you?
Role models are incredibly important to me, both male and female. It’s not that I simply want to follow, but I want to be inspired and to learn from others. I love to hear an authentic story of inspiration and achievement from someone who has overcome challenges and tells it as it is, warts and all!
When you were young, who were your role models or people you truly admired?
In my very early years, it was my headmistress, Miss Hart. She wore a pale blue suit and pearls, with not a hair out of place. When she spoke, she educated her audience, inspired me and always left me wanting more. She saw something in me that I didn’t recognise until I was in my thirties.
Of course, my mother was and still is a role model, one of eight children and the daughter of Italian immigrants. She watched her father and brothers interned during the Second World War, faced challenges and prejudices, yet she raised a happy family and still supports and encourages me to be the best I can be, each and every day.
And as your entrepreneurial career has progressed - who inspires you now?
I’m inspired each and every day by the amazing women I meet and by each and every woman in business who enters my awards. I read their background stories, where they are now, and their goals and aspirations for the future. I love being able to provide a platform for these women to share their stories, inspire others and become role models.
Of course, I am always inspired by strong high-profile women too:
Oprah Winfrey, because she truly inspires in so many ways by speaking from the heart.
J K Rowling, because of her writing talent (I love Harry Potter) and her highlighting the benefits of failure.
Karren Brady, because of my shared passion for football and business.
Images reproduced courtesy of www.jkrowling.com, www.karrenbrady.com and www.barackobama.com.
And who, now, would you say is an inspiring figure on the world stage?
Michelle Obama, I think her achievements during her husband’s presidency left a legacy. She has the ability to reach people in a very special and authentic way by sharing her own story.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
Several, but these are the key ones for me:
• ‘Be inspired and inspire others’
•‘You can be anything you want to be’
•‘Just do it now, work on the how later’
We have picked the Mantra necklace that we feel best represents what inspires and motivates Sandra.
The necklace we have chosen is the ‘Believe’ disc, with the mantra, ‘Believe in yourself. We do’ – because this spirit of believing in other women and encouraging them to believe in themselves and their achievements is Sandra’s superpower.
This month, buy the ‘Believe’ necklace at 15% off