Inspirational Woman: Anna Williamson | TV Presenter, Life Coach, Counsellor & Author

Anna Williamson

Over the past 20 years I seem to have amassed quite a few job titles!

I started out in TV at the age of 17 as a kids presenter and have moved through the ranks ever since to front various TV shows of all different genres… Currently I am a dating coach on E4’s flagship show Celebs Go Dating. I am also a trained and accredited life coach, counsellor and NLP Master practitioner, I have written three bestselling books and I am a very passionate mental health campaigner having suffered with generalised anxiety disorder since 2006.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not initially no, I was too young to be honest. I took a break in my academic studies when I was 16 to join a girl band, which seemed to take off and then lead to my first television presenting job when I was 17. I’ve never really looked back. However I have trained and studied on the job so to speak ever since and in 2009 I decided to branch into psychological therapies which is a huge passion of mine. I actually intend to do a psychology degree in the next couple of years as well, I believe you are never too old to keep adding to your knowledge stable.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Goodness me many! For every 100 jobs I perhaps applied for I would get about 20 replies back and the rest ignored. But it only took the one yes to give me that buzz and faith in the industry, and it still does 20 years on.  I have also been a freelancer all my life, it is a choice and is one I’m very happy with, but it does come with its challenges financially and motivationally – not least when I started having children three years ago as the nature of my job and lifestyle doesn’t afford me a maternity ‘cushion’ (job and finances wise). I went back to work for the odd day very soon after having both of my children, the choice I was happy to make though as I know no different.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Of course it has to be my children. But if we are talking about career wise there are many, having a bafta nomination, solo hosting an event at the famous Royal Albert hall, live tv, and having a number one kids TV show are only a few. My proudest moment probably has to be getting an Amazon number one best selling book for my book ‘Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety’, an achievement  I am told that is so rare that my publishers, Bloomsbury of Harry Potter fame no less, the CEO personally sent me a message to congratulate and thank me. I beat Mary Berry‘s cookbook to the top position so I was absolutely thrilled, and more than a little shocked.

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

I have motivation and drive that is very hard to shake. It hasn’t come easy, but it is true that the knocks and humps in the road I have encountered throughout my career so far have only served to give me the motivation to keep trying, keep reinventing, and keep being a nice decent human being.

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

I think mentoring is incredibly important, particularly in the industry I am in. In fact any industry. To be able to look up to somebody, model their achievements, and have a sounding board is vital to pass on expertise to the next person and generation.

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

Gosh that really is a big question… I just think we need to keep being open and respectful to everybody, equal in opportunity, and as new habits form then the next generations will never have to encounter gender inequality one hopes.

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

Just keep being yourself. Never measure yourself against anybody else and close your ears to the noise of self-doubt.

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

I am hopeful to undertake a psychology degree as soon as I am able to fit it into my diary around my work and children. There are many other disciplines within the counselling arena that I look forward to learning as well… I will never stop learning, everybody should keep seeking things that interest and fascinate them.

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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