Inspirational Woman: Carolyn Hobdey | Author, Life Coach & Mentor

Carolyn Hobdey

Carolyn Hobdey is the author of ‘All The Tw*ts I Met Along The Way’ and founder of the Redefining SELFISH community.

She lived a life of shame and blame so is now passionate about pioneering new ways of thinking to ensure we live without guilt and regrets. As CEO of MayDey Ltd, Carolyn is a regular speaker and media commentator on issues of toxic relationships, self-esteem, women’s health (including the menopause), selfishness, narcissism and many other imperative, topical women’s issues.

With over 20 years spent as an award-winning Human Resources professional in some of the world’s largest employers, Carolyn earned a seat at the boardroom table leading internationally recognisable brands. En route, she gained a Masters in Lean Operations at Cardiff University where she was the first HR specialist to undertake the course and became the winner of the inaugural Sir Julian Hodge Prize for Logistics, Operations & Manufacturing.

Carolyn lives in Harrogate and enjoys boxing, dancing and socialising with friends.

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

Having spent nearly 25 years as a Human Resources professional and being a board director at some of the world’s largest employers, I needed a break from trying to persuade grown ups how to behave properly!

In March 2020 I took time out from the corporate world to reassess what I wanted. Since then I have had 2 book published and am writing my third. I am now a Life Transformationalist with my own company and also COO of a careers concierge business.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really. I always believed that if my view was too fixed then my mind would be closed to opportunities – what I focused on was my development and job satisfaction.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Who hasn’t?! Yes, lots of them – some about the work that needed to be done, but more often in relation to the people. It’s the biggest challenge in businesses, especially the quality of leadership.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Standing up for what was right. I’ve always been prepared to be the grit in the oyster, even if that hasn’t made me popular! People spend a big chunk of their life at work, we need to ensure that it’s time well spent.

You went through the menopause at just 24 years old – what more do you think can be done to educate people on early menopause?

When I reflected back recently through some of my writing, I realised I think it actually started when I was 19. Menopause education to start in schools – when talks take place about the start of the menstrual cycle then it should also be explained that it will also reverse later in life and to understand the signs to look out for. Also, GP education needs to be drastically improved so that they can spot and support when it happens to their patients. It is woefully inadequate currently despite the fact that 100% of women will go through it.

We need to have programme for employers too – and bring men with us on that journey – because so many talented, experienced women end up leaving their jobs because of the     impacts of menopause symptoms and not being supported in the workplace.

Do you have any advice for anyone else going through early menopause?

Knowledge is key – it will help you feel more in control of something that is outside of your control. So research and read. There are resources online and groups that you can join on social media so that you don’t feel quite as alone. Also, don’t get fobbed off by your GP/Health professionals – switch doctors if need be. Find someone who will listen to you.

How do you think workplaces and employers can support its employees through the menopause?

Be unafraid to have the dialogue – actually say the word out loud! Training line managers in signs and symptoms and how to speak to their people who are going through it. Don’t leave it to the ‘women in HR’… You have to – like with any medical condition – be able to listen, ask questions and adapt in ways that work for the individual. It’s basically good leadership!

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

Don’t dim your light for anyone.

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

Get my message out about the need to out the ‘men’ back into the menopause – and in women’s issues in general – so that we take them with us and don’t alienate them by ‘shouting’ them down on social media, etc. No argument was ever won by shouting and we’ll only change the world for women if we cooperate and communicate with men. Make them allies not enemies.

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