Big Careers, Small Children – A Podcast From Leaders Plus

Big Careers, Small Children PodcastToo often, ambitious men and women feel they must choose between pursuing a leadership career they love and enjoying their young family.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Big Careers, Small Children (formerly Leaders With Babies) is a brand-new podcast from Leaders Plus, an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to supporting parents of young children who are ambitious about their career whilst caring deeply about being a good parent. (For more information about our Fellowship Programme for new parents click here.)

Join CEO and Founder Verena Hefti as she interviews inspiring leaders from all walks of life who have successfully combined a leadership career with raising a young family. Her guests candidly share the challenges they have overcome and the practical solutions that have helped make their vision for their career and family life a reality.

Listen below or find us on all major Podcast platforms including iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher and Google Play.

SERIES 5


Sylvia Opara - Big Careers, Small Children

Episode 66 – Dealing With Inappropriate Workplace Behaviour, Thriving in a Male Dominated Industry & Progressing Your Career When You Want a Big Family

Verena Hefti speaks to Group HR Director in the Construction Industry Sylvia Opara for her tips on thriving in a male dominated industry and progressing your career when you want a big family.

Episode 65 – Equal Pay & Practical Tips for Securing the Pay Rise You Deserve Claudia T Miller

Senior Executive Coach and expert on all things pay, Claudia T Miller joins Verena to share practical tips on getting the pay rise you deserve, plus a discussion on equal pay.

Episode 64 – Career ChangesGeraldine Butler Wright Healthily

Does your career make you feel alive? Geraldine Butler-Wright joins Verena to discuss why our careers should energise us and how you can successfully change your career, including transferring between sectors.

Episode 63 – Diverse NetworkingLee Higgins Falcon Brook Diverse Recruitment

Former headhunter and co-founder of DIVERSE TALENT netWORKS Lee Higgins is back on the podcast to share his best tips for diverse networking. Including how to ensure you cultivate connections who aren’t just like you, plus how to virtually network strategically.

Episode 62 – Building Exceptional RelationshipsCarole Robin

Carole Robin Ph.D is Co-Founder of Leaders in Tech, she also taught Interpersonal Dynamics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the co-author of the highly acclaimed Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues. Here she discusses how to build relationships and connect with others.

Flora LetankaEpisode 61 – Being an Exec Director Whilst Having Young Children

Flora Letanka is Executive Director for Network Development at Teach First, the largest educational charity in the UK. She is also a mum of three. Here she speaks to Verena Hefti, Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, about being an Exec Director whilst having young children.

Michael Baran InquestEpisode 60 -Tackling Subtle Acts of Exclusion

Michael is a Senior Partner and the Digital Solutions Lead at inQUEST.  He drives organizations toward innovative, evidence-based diversity, equity, and inclusion solutions. Here he talks to Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, Verena Hefti, about tackling subtle acts of exclusion.

Verena Hefti, Founder and CEO at Leaders PlusEpisode 59 – Exceptional Performance in Challenging Circumstances

Katie is one of the UK’s leading Performance Psychologists, working behind the scenes and on the big stage with some of the world’s best athletes, leaders and organisations. Here she speaks to Verena Hefti, Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, about how to achieve exceptional performance in challenging circumstances.

Verena Hefti, Founder and CEO at Leaders PlusEpisode 58 – Honest Reflections on Career Ambitions and Insight into the Fellowship

In this episode Verena Hefti, CEO and Founder of Leaders Plus, talks to three Leaders Plus Fellows about their honest reflections on career and ambitions, including failures and setting boundaries.

Carla MaurerEpisode 57 – Finding Purpose and Setting Boundaies

In this episode Reverend Carla Maurer of the Swiss Church in London discusses developing purpose, how to set boundaries and offers top tips for prioritising yourself.

Verena Hefti, Founder and CEO at Leaders PlusEpisode 56 – Getting the Most Out of Your Maternity Leave

Verena Hefti, CEO and Founder of the social enterprise Leaders Plus, shares her top tips for making the most of maternity leave

SERIES 4


Lucy Waker - NED positionsEpisode 55 – Becoming a Non-Executive Director & Diversity on Boards

Lucy Walker shares her tips for becoming a Non-Executive Director, including how to write your CV for a NED role and why boards need more diversity.

Kim Rowell - BBC News - Leaders With Babies Podcast Episode 54 – Returning to Work & Things I’d Tell My Pregnant Self

In this special episode produced by some of our Leaders Plus Fellows, BBC Three & BBC News Assistant Editor Kim Rowell is interviewed by journalist Kirstie Brewer about motherhood and work.

Michele Zanini HumanocracyEpisode 53 – Making the Workplace More Human-Centred

Michele Zanini, co-author of Humancracy shares simple steps we can each take to make our workplaces less bureaucratic and more human-centered.

Michelle Mitchell CEO Cancer Research UK Charity CEOEpisode 52 – Being a Charity CEO Whilst Raising a Young Family

Michelle Mitchell OBE, CEO of Cancer Research UK shares how she progressed her career in the charity sector, whilst raising a young family. Plus what Cancer Research UK are doing to support parents with work and home life balance during the pandemic.

Jasmin Paris Ultra Runner and Mother on the Leaders With Babies podcastEpisode 51 – Can You Perform Exceptionally Well When You Have a Baby? Breaking Records Whilst Being a Mother

Ultra runner, small animal vet, research scientist and mother of two Jasmin Paris shares how she breaks records whilst being a mother.

Lee Higgins Falcon Brook Diverse RecruitmentEpisode 50 – Everything You Need to Know Before Applying for a Senior Role

Headhunter Lee Higgins from Falcon Brook Search shares everything you need to know before applying for a senior leadership role, plus why diversity in recruitment really matters.

Jessica Chivers CEO - The Talent Keeper Specialists on the Leaders With Babies podcastEpisode 49 – Career Progression in Part-time Roles

Author and psychologist Jessica Chivers shares practical advice for progressing your career whilst working in a part-time role. Including why Wednesday might be the best day off to take during the week.

SERIES 3


Verena Hefti - Why I started Leaders PlusEpisode 48 – Starting a Social Enterprise Whilst Bringing Up Babies

This week the interviewer becomes the interviewee! Our CEO and Founder Verena Hefti, the host of our Leaders With Babies podcast is interviewed by Leaders Plus Fellow and BBC journalist Kirstie Brewer. Verena shares her personal story of combining a senior leadership career with young children and why she set up our award-winning social enterprise.

Lauren Currie OBE Leaders With BabiesEpisode 47 – How to Increase Your Visibility at Work

Entrepreneur Lauren Currie OBE shares practical advice on how parents can increase their visibility at work after maternity or shared parental leave.

Leaders With Babies Podcast - Instagram Guest Tile - Primary School TransitionsEpisode 46 – How to Prepare for the Primary School Transition

Is your first child about to start school? Are you nervous about how you’ll manage this important transition alongside juggling work? In this special episode of Leaders With Babies our Fellows share their essential advice on ensuring a smooth transition.

Dr Funke Abimbola MBEEpisode 45 – Allyship, Dealing with Microaggressions & Being a Confident Speaker

Dr Funke Abimbola MBE shares her experience of race, dealing with microaggressions and unconscious bias at work, allyship, and finally, what it takes to be an excellent public speaker on this week’s Leaders With Babies Podcast.

James Lloyd, HR Director, Changing People's Minds on Flexible WorkingEpisode 44 – Changing People’s Minds on Flexible Working 

HR Director James Lloyd was initially phased by flexible working requests but has now completely changed his mind. Listen now to hear what works when it comes to positioning your own flexible work requests.

Episode 43 – How to Find a Sponsor to Progress Your Career

Leaders Plus Mentors Fiona Jackson and Radhika Baja share how having a sponsor benefitted their career. Including lots of practical advice for working parents on how to find, manage and leverage a sponsor to help career progression.

Laura Harrison - Leaders With BabiesEpisode 42 – How to Reduce Your Hours Successfully, Including Reducing Accountability

HR Director Laura Harrison returns to offer practical advice for anyone looking to reduce their working hours, including how successfully reduce your hours down to 3 or 4 days and how to ensure you don’t end up still working full time for less pay.

Becky Maxwell - Leaders With Babies Podcast - Emergency MedicineEpisode 41 – Working in Emergency Medicine, Leading in a Crisis & Dealing with Uncertainty

Emergency Medicine Consultant Becky Maxwell successfully juggles a busy career at the hospital with raising her 2-year-old son. She shares how she deals with uncertainty, leads in a crisis as well as her tips for influencing senior leaders.

Lori Mihalich-Levin - Returning to work more mindfully and managing life transitionsEpisode 40 – Returning to Work Mindfully & Managing Key Transitions

US-based lawyer Lori Mihalich-Levin shares how we can return to work mindfully after having a baby, plus practical advice on coping with important life transitions.

Rebecca Seal - How to work from home and not lose your mindEpisode 39 – How to Work From Home Alone and Not Lose Your Mind!

Author Rebecca Seal share how to thrive when working from home alone, including how to set boundaries successfully and why working long hours actually damages your productivity.

Chris Bryant talks working part time in a senior role on the Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 38 – Working Part-Time in a Senior Role, Getting Paid Fairly & Learning to Say No!

Legal trailblazer Chris Bryant shares how he makes working 3 days a week as a partner at the international law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner work for his family, including how to negotiate part-time pay and why it’s important we all learn how to say ‘no’ when necessary.

Episode 37 – Driving Change & Structural Inequalities

Political activist and change maker Sophie Walker shares how to drive change in your workplace & advice on dealing with structural inequalities as a working mother.

Motherhood, Work & Identity - Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 36 – Motherhood, Work & Identity

This week on the podcast we share an honest discussion on motherhood, work, and identity with 3 of our Leaders Plus Fellows.

Professor Shani Orgad LSE on Leaders With BabiesEpisode 35 – Why Mothers Leave the Workforce & What We Can Learn From It & Making Structural Changes at Work

Professor Shani Orgad shares her research on why mothers leave the workplace, including what we can learn from it, plus how to make structural changes at your place of work.

Episode 34 – How to Deal With Micro-aggressions & Unconscious Bias at Work & Tips to Become a Key Person of Influence

This week Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE shares how to deal with microaggressions & unconscious bias at work & tips to become a key person of influence

Dom Holmes - Head of Employment Taylor Vintners talks Flexible WorkingEpisode 33 – How to Work Part-Time in a Senior Client Facing Role & How to Make Smart Career Choices Based on Your Values

Taylor Vinters Head of Employment Law Dom Holmes shares how to work part-time in a senior client-facing role and how to make smart career choices based on your values

Alex Pang - Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 32 – How to Get More Done By Working Less & Convincing Your Employer on the Benefits of a 4 Day Week

Our guest this week is Alex Pang who shares how we can get more done by working less, as well as how to persuade your employer on the benefits of a 4-day working week or shorter working hours.

Leaders With Babies Avivah Wittenberg CoxEpisode 31 – How to Increase Your Impact Without Increasing Your Workload & Why Your 40s & 50s Might be Your Best Decades at Work

Part 2 of our insightful discussion with Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, including how to let go of perfectionism, balance your workload and why your choice of partner might just be criical to your career success.

Leaders With Babies Avivah Wittenberg CoxEpisode 30 – Gender Balance at Work: How to Convince Senior Leaders Who Don’t Care About Gender Equality to Take Action to Support Parents

Author and acclaimed speaker Avivah Wittenberg-Cox joins Verena to discuss influencing senior leaders on gender equality at work.

Dr Maja Korica Leaders With BabiesEpisode 29 – How to Network Virtually & Increase Your Visibility With Senior Leaders

We welcome back Dr Maja Korica who delves even further into what it takes to get ahead at work in the context of the new socially distanced, virtual environment. Listen now for practical tips you can implement today.

Dr Maja Korica Leaders With BabiesEpisode 28 – How to Get Senior Leaders to Really Listen, Finding a Sponsor & Tips for Career Progression

Dr Maja Korica shares advice on how to get senior leaders to really listen to you, plus tips on finding a sponsor and networking to progress your career.

Dr Sue Black OBE Tech Mums on Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 27 – How to Shape the Career You Want, Tips to Get Promoted & Women in Tech

Dr Sue Black OBE is a passionate advocate for more #womenintech. She shares her remarkable and often inspiring story, offering plenty of practical advice you can apply to your own career today.

Episode 26 – How to Know Your Worth, Challenge Prejudices & Lead Authentically & Why Chickens Are Critical To Lockdown

Charity leader Anita Kerwin-Nye gives expert advice on going freelance and charging what you’re worth, challenging prejudices in the workplace and how to lead authentically in the Charity Sector, plus why chickens have been critical to her family’s lockdown experience.

Jennifer Petriglieri Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 25 – Surviving Lockdown! How Working Couples Can Thrive Whilst Juggling Careers & Home Schooling During Times of Crisis

Dr Jennifer Petriglieri explains how dual-career couples can best support each other when juggling work, relationships, and homeschooling demands.

Dr Suhana Ahmed Crisis ManagementEpisode 24 – How to Lead in a Crisis and why Biscuits and Handcream are Essential

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Suhana Ahmed, who has been on the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic, shares practical advice on how to lead a team during a crisis, plus why small acts of kindness can make all the difference during the hard times.

Dr Rosie Campbell Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 23 – The Impact of Covid-19 on Parents, Gender Equality & Career Progression

Professor Rosie Campbell joins Verena to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on gender equality at work, including the potential negative impact of Lockdown on working mothers and the importance of evaluating performance during the crisis fairly.

Paul Fisher - Leaders With Babies Podcast Episode 22 – The Art of Negotiation: How to ask for a Pay Rise & Request Flexible Working

This week our guest Paul Fisher, an expert in negotiation, shares the latest thinking on the art of negotiation and persuasion, including top tips on how to secure a pay rise or get your flexible working request approved.

Verena Hefti, Founder and CEO at Leaders PlusEpisode 21 – Managing Workload Panel Discussion

Hear expert advice on how to tackle your own workload from our panel of experts, plus strategies to cope during the pandemic and advice to ensure your career can flourish in the future.

SERIES 2


Dr. Martha Deiros Collado shares how to talk to children about coronavirus Episode 20 – Dr Martha Deiros Collado

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Martha Deiros Collado joins us with expert advice on how to explain coronavirus (Covid-19) to your toddler, preschooler or primary schooler.

Alexandra Marks CBE, LinkLaters Partner on Leaders With BabiesEpisode 19 – Alexandra Marks CBE

Alexandra Marks CBE, Deputy High Court Judge and Retired Partner at Linklaters, talks maternal instinct, societal expectations and balancing a magic circle law career with a young family.

Kath Austin, BeeBee Wraps Leaders With BabiesEpisode 18 – Kath Austin

CEO and founder of Bee Bee Wraps Kath Austin shares what it takes to start your own business, including how she juggles her successful start-up with raising her two girls.

Sam Bethune Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 17 – Sam Bethune

This week Verena chats to Sam Bethune who, along with her job share partner, spearheaded the Flexible Working Network at HSBC. This episode is packed with actionable advice on finding a job share and working flexibly.

Jennifer Petriglieri Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 16 – Jennifer Petriglieri

Our guest this week is author Jennifer Petriglieri who shares how dual career couples can thrive at home and in work. Plus there’s practical advice on the top 3 things listeners can do today to strengthen the positive impact of your relationship on your career.

Ruth and Colin Stuart Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 15 – Ruth and Colin Stuart

This week Verena chats to our first ever couple, Ruth and Colin Stuart, who candidly share the behind the scenes of their family life juggling two ambitious careers and making work work around their young daughter.

Leaders With Babies Featuring Mother Pukka Anna WhitehouseEpisode 14 – Mother Pukka

This week Verena is joined by Anna Whitehouse otherwise known as Mother Pukka, to chat campaigning for flexible working, miscarriage and the realities of working with your partner.

Laura Harrison - Leaders With BabiesEpisode 13 – Laura Harrison

This week Verena is joined by Laura Harrison, a former HR Director for a candid discussion on balancing your love for work and your love for your children, including how to build relationships when you haven’t got time and what really happens behind closed doors when you submit a flexible working request.

Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England, Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 12 – Dr Geraldine Strathdee OBE

In episode 12 Verena is joined by Dr Geraldine Strathdee OBE, the former National Clinical Director of Mental Health for NHS England, to talk mental health, having purpose and staying true to your values when progressing your career.

Tim Allen Shared Parental Leave PWCEpisode 11 – Tim Allen

In the first episode of Series 2 Verena chats to Tim Allen from PWC, a pioneer in taking Shared Parental Leave (SPL). They chat practicalities of SPL, including how to ensure you don’t miss out when it comes to future appraisals and pay rises.

SERIES 1


Poppy Jaman OBE‏ Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 10 – Poppy Jaman OBE

In the final episode of Season 1, Poppy Jaman OBE talks overcoming workload overwhelm and creating mentally healthy workplaces, as well as the importance of managing your own wellbeing and mental health.

Leaders With Babies Podcast Tanya StevensEpisode 9 – Tanya Stevens

Tanya Stevens joins Verena this week to talk about her role as a headhunter and recruiting into roles flexibly, including the best time to mention flexible working when applying for a new position.

Ufi Ibrahim, Chairman Hotels Energy BoardEpisode 8 – Ufi Ibrahim

This week Verena is joined by joined by Ufi Ibrahim, Chair of the Hotels Energy Board and former CEO of the British Hospitality Association. Ufi shares her experience navigating single parenthood at a young age; why she never stops studying and how she developed the resilience and ambition to succeed whilst raising her son and progressing her career.

Susannah Hardyman CEO and Founder of Action Tutoring and Leaders Plus FellowEpisode 7 – Susannah Hardyman

This week Leaders Plus Fellow and CEO of Action Tutoring Susannah Hardyman discusses miscarriage, managing workload, negotiating a pay rise and how to make a busy CEO job work in 4 days a week.

Prof Dame Jane Dacre - Leaders With Babies Podcast Episode 6 – Prof Dame Jane Dacre

Prof Dame Jane Dacre joins Verena to share her experience of the first-ever general medicine job share, plus there’s discussion on leadership and gender in the NHS, including the gender pay gap review.

Leaders With Babies - Nick Wilkie CEO NCTEpisode 5 – Nick Wilkie

Nick Wilkie, CEO at the NCT joins Verena to discuss his career break, judgement of parents and how to get a CEO job after taking a year out with the kids.

Dame Helena Morrissey Leaders With Babies PodcastEpisode 4 – Dame Helena Morrissey

Dame Helena Morrissey, a financier, author, wife and mother of nine joins Verena to share the highlights of her fascinating senior leadership career.

Elizabeth Emens Professor of Law Columbia Law SchoolEpisode 3 – Elizabeth Emens

Professor of Law and author of the brilliant book ‘The Art of Life Admin’, Elizabeth Emens joins Verena Hefti to share her top tips for managing the spiral of day-to-day tasks that can often overwhelm and exhaust us.

Hannah Essex - British Chamber of Commerce and Leaders Plus FellowEpisode 2 – Hannah Essex

Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director at the British Chamber of Commerce joins Verena to discuss the benefits of job sharing whilst raising her young family.

Dr Susie Minson Paediatric Consultant and Leaders Plus Fellow Episode 1 – Dr Susie Minson 

Consultant Paediatrician and busy mum Dr Susie Minson joins Verena to discuss her biggest learning points when combining a thriving leadership career in the NHS with raising her 3 young children.

Find Out More About the Fellowship

Meet Our Founder, Verena Hefti