Leaders Plus Fellow, Susie Heale, opens up about self-employment, the importance of being part of a community, and how becoming a mum has made her more motivated than ever.
Tell us a little bit about your work
I run my own company called Heale Solutions which launched in January 2019, just after I graduated from the Leader Plus Fellowship. I design and deliver business competency training which develops people and makes them better at their jobs.
Tell us about your family
My daughter Ruby – or Roo – is 10 months now. She has just learnt to touch her head which we were initially very excited about… this has progressed into hitting herself on the face and expecting applause and she now has big red marks on each side of her head.
What work/family arrangement do you have that enables you to continue your career?
My mum basically lives with us Sunday-Wednesday, then Roo goes to nursery which is near my husband’s school so he can do pick up and drop off, enabling me to be flexible for clients 4-5 days a week.
What motivated you to apply for the Leaders Plus Fellowship programme?
The message completely resonated with me. I applied when I was pregnant. Everyone seemed so happy to assure me that my expectations of myself and my career would dissolve when Roo was born, but I disagreed and felt strongly I wanted to continue to progress up the career ladder that I had spent 10 years developing. And so it was, Roo was born and my brain still worked and I still wanted promotion, opportunity and to be stretched. My memory held onto knowledge I had and I didn’t fall victim to the fantasy character- Baby Brain! And I wanted to work, hugely. When Roo was 2 months old I longed to hear about people’s jobs and I missed my desk and colleagues, and this wasn’t connected to any kind of breakdown or lack of attachment. I just love work, I always have. So, Leaders Plus gave me a community to be part of, full of parents striding forward in their careers and trailblazing parent progression.
What 3 things did you learn about yourself on the programme?
That community is hugely important to me and I take much inspiration from the stories of others… that I love my daughter but I want to be a working mum (and it’s none of your business if I can afford not to be, thank you!) and that there is a huge problem with parent talent retention and engagement
What was the highlight of the programme for you?
I loved so many things but going to the House of Commons with Roo and chairing a round table with huge influencers and experts of parent progression was life changing
Was there anything that surprised you about the programme?
That there is so much resistance and ‘whataboutery’ when you speak about wanting to have a career and be a parent. I wish there was more space to be a proud working parent, and an unapologetic working mum, and Leaders Plus gave that to me.
What does the future hold for you and your family?
I am working hard to set up my business with the help of an incredible network of parents and I want it to reach a level of success that means that my husband can take shared parental leave if we are lucky enough to have Roo2. I have decided to live as a working parent with the philosophy to give myself the same advice that I would give my daughter and it has made me braver, more motivated and that, alongside Leaders Plus has inspired me to crack on, make my business work and value myself and my decisions.