Inspirational Woman: Amanda Davie | Leadership Coach & Co-Founder, Equal Talent

Amanda DavieAmanda Davie is a leadership coach at Equal Talent – helping leaders build emotionally intelligent, inclusive and collaborative skills within their organisations.

She is a passionate egalitarian and feminist and her professional mission is to help make the world of work a more diverse, fairer and rewarding place for everyone.

Beginning her career as one of the pioneers of internet advertising in the UK, Amanda worked with entrepreneurs to build and sell highly successful digital media and marketing services to firms – including one to WPP.  She founded her own successful, international digital management consulting firm called Reform in 2008, and set up a non-profit mentoring programme in 2011.

Amanda qualified to become a member of the Association for Coaching and became a mentor on the Cherie Blair International Mentoring Programme for Women in Business. In 2017 she co-founded Equal Talent working with companies such as Microsoft, WPP, CGI, Spotify, IBM, Google and Facebook.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am an executive coach and co-founder of Equal Talent, a cultural change and coaching business that helps companies create fairer and more inclusive workplaces, especially for women. I’ve been a coach for five years and prior to this I enjoyed an 18-year career in as an entrepreneur and pioneer of digital advertising and marketing services.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

In my head I had a rough plan: I wanted to use my languages (French and Spanish) to travel the world so at first, I wanted to be an air stewardess, until I got told they had to clean up people’s sick! So, then I applied to be an airline pilot, but I didn’t pass the numerical side of the assessment! I did end up using my languages doing telesales, selling video conferencing systems to IT Managers! Not quite what I had planned! And then thankfully the Internet advertising industry was taking off, I fell into working for an ad sales start-up business and the rest was a hugely fun and rewarding first career!

Looking back all I ever wanted to do was to work with people, be part of a team, have adventures and help people. And that’s what I’ve ended up doing as a coach and business leader.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I think I’ve faced them all! I’ve been a victim of emotional abuse (by women and men) at work, hit the glass ceiling (was kept down by a ‘queen bee’), maternity discrimination, threats to take down my business, almost losing my business due to recession. Some of which impacted immensely on my mental health i.e. stress and anxiety levels (which may or may not have resulted in infertility for a few years when my biological clock was ticking). And now I think I am looking down the barrel of perimenopause! Let’s put it this way, both my partner and I are very resilient, and I have life-saving friends!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I think knowing when to walk away from a business when I’d done all I could do, when I needed to put my health first, and when I needed a new challenge. This was the biggest step out of my comfort zone. It’s often the way, isn’t it? That the scariest and hardest thing to do is to stop doing what you’ve been doing and do something different.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having an amazing ‘A-team’ / support network around me. I lovingly call my best friends my scaffolding! And finding the right business partner – eventually – after kissing a few frogs!

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I did a lot of mentoring in my thirties and before I trained to be a professional coach. And I co-founded a non-profit mentoring programme in the Noughties called Mentoring Digital Minds. I am now too biased (towards coaching) and too skint to mentor! But mentoring is hugely powerful as a professional development intervention and compliments coaching – many of my coaching clients have mentors too. And some also have sponsors.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Blind recruitment (not seeing the candidate’s name or hearing their voice) is one for employers; as for the rest of us, gender equality starts at home, and in childhood. So, parents of boys, get them cooking and cleaning as young as you can!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

One of my favourite quotes – I forget who originally said it: “The world will judge you whatever you do, so you may as well do what you f**king well want!”

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Organising a one-day virtual conference for 800 professional women last month (She Has No Limits). It was SO STRESSFUL! I had forgotten how demanding and needy folk can be. We had a lot of “What about me?” behaviour! I say that without judgement: the uncertainty around the innovative tech that we used (Hopin) triggered many, the fear of missing out on being recognised or celebrated – plus of course all have our internal battles, particularly in these Covid times. We all have different levels of comfort and to feel in control. One thing is for sure: the next coaching client who wishes to set themselves the goal of a career in event management, I am going to have to gag myself and sit on my hands!

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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