#joaniegalboss: Interview with The Step Up Club
Our #joaniegalboss series continues with the perfect candidates, the lovely ladies at The Step Up Club. Alice and Phanella are the career experts behind the name. In our Step Up Club interview, we talk careers, advice and accomplishments with these inspirational women.
Hi ladies! You teamed up to establish Step Up Club – how and when did that come about? What did you want to accomplish?
As long-standing friends, we had talked about working together for some time. We knew that together, with our opposing careers trajectories, we could draw on our own experiences and create something unique and meaningful in this space. Phanella, by this point, had retrained as an executive career coach, so we had the credibility and Alice was able to use her communication skills and contacts to bring this knowledge to a wide, engaged female audience. We love working together because we bring such different energies to the table. Plus working is always more fun with a friend.
Has Step Up Club taken any unexpected turns or a direction you didn’t anticipate since you founded it?
Oh so many! We started off with a single aim: to write a book that empowers women to fulfil their career potential. It sounds like a big goal, but actually, the book felt autonomous and complete. Except that the universe had other plans – great plans. Once the book landed on shelves (in September 2016), women began requesting Step Up events, and so the event side of the business evolved. And then, from these events sprang brand collaborations and some amazing speaking opportunities. Now, we have taken back a bit of control and are planning our own destiny (whilst still enjoying all of the other parts of our business so far!). This has resulted in the creation of Step Up School. A yearlong course based around monthly half-day meet ups for a class of 30 women.
The next step is to convert this course to an online membership site. We have big plans and we’re excited about the future of Step Up.
Since Step Up’s inception, have there been any ‘pinch me’ moments for you personally?
Well the launch of our book was pretty epic, but since then, our top ‘pinch me’ moments revolve around daily feedback and testimonials that we receive off the back of Step Up School. We are 5 months in with the first class– the second class started this January – and already there have been huge developments for some of the group: positive resignations, new business launches, board level interviews and more. The class has pulled together as a tight team too, and proves the power of a female network. We just love that we have help create something so vital and meaningful for all involved – including ourselves.
Above: Alice wears the Connie shirt
Before Step Up, you both had impressive careers under your belts. If you could go back in time and give yourself a valuable piece of advice when starting out in the workplace, what would it be?
Probably accepting that we can’t do it all! Starting a business whilst writing a book is no mean feat. Plus we have 5 children between us, and continue to work in our own fields too. It’s manic, but we love it that way. Having said that, it isn’t just time that’s against us; we also don’t have all the skills that you need to make a new business fly. As two perfectionists, this was a harsh realisation. But since we’ve leaned on others, it’s made the whole process so much more enjoyable – not to mention much more efficient.
Is there anyone in particular that you look up to in the business world?
So many people, we are huge advocates of having role models, as they help inspire us to greatness and teach us that our dreams can be achievable goals. If we had to name names, mmm, that’s tricky! Actually, we recently hosted two Team GB gold medal Olympians, Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, on a panel at one of our events, and we found them hugely inspiration. They were both strong and vulnerable in different ways, great team players (obviously!), kind, full of good humour and amazing resilient. They are great modern role models for women both in and out of competitive sport.
Above: Phanella wears the Anita jumper
You’re both mothers as well as running Step Up - how do you make time for yourselves?
It’s hard! Towards the end of 2017 we really had very little balance, which was the irony of this whole thing. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to help other women, only to drain ourselves in the process. Now, we are stricter with ourselves about keeping our work laptops closed in the evenings, and not falling asleep thinking about our next event! Easier said than done, but are certainly feeling more peaceful this side of the New Year.
Have you got any productivity tips for other women working from home?
Oh so many! You’ll have to sign up to our newsletter for all of our weekly, free content and advice.
Finally, what take-away piece of advice would you give someone looking to take their career into their own hands and make their passion work alongside their lifestyle?
We talk a lot about Confidence here at Step Up; why it’s important and how to build confidence from the outside in – and that can include notching up your daily outfits – to retraining that negative voice inside your head so that you don’t doubt yourself so often. A great way to get the cogs turn on this front, is to keep a record all the positive feedback that you receive. So that might involve opening an email folder and filing all nice emails away, or writing them down longhand in a journal. The key though, is to reread this feedback. As humans we tend to hold onto negatively and let all the good stuff in life disappear into the ether. This simple idea, helps you to keep that positivity at the front of your mind, and when you do this, it helps build confidence by reaffirming your worth and abilities.