Inspirational Woman: Louise Deverell-Smith | Founder, Daisy Chain

Louise Deverell-Smith

Louise Deverell-Smith is the Founder of the award winning Daisy Chain – a platform which connects parents to family-friendly employers.

Louise started The Daisy Chain after working in recruitment for over 10 years and wanting to focus on helping parents find roles to work around their childcare needs – whether that be flexible, full time, part time, freelance, projects or jobs shares.
Louise believes that helping connect parents to employers who can be flexible is beneficial to both parties…and creates a happy work environment.

Louise is on a mission to help people find their ideal home / work balance, and help employers connect to some hidden gems!

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

Before Daisy Chain was created, I was working in recruitment, and I saw first-hand how many parents were missing out on great jobs because the employers just weren’t taking their needs into consideration, mostly around childcare. Not only was this unfair, it just didn’t make sense! What if employers were a bit more flexible in their approach towards working parents? Just think of the talent they would retain!

So, after the birth of my daughter, Daisy, (and yes, Daisy Chain is named after her!) I decided to take the plunge and launch Daisy Chain. And it’s been quite a ride!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really.  I knew early on in my career that I wanted to work for myself and that was always in the back of my mind.  When I worked for some big fashion brands, I  really tried to absorb information from different areas of the company, from marketing, PR to Sales.  I still don’t think too far ahead to be honest in my career, and as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing then I’m happy with my career path.  I’m also not scared of last minute changes…who knows what will happen tomorrow?

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I worked with some very dominating male colleagues over the years, which was tough at the time…but I know I’d react and respond a lot differently now .  Since starting Daisy Chain I have come across lots of challenges such as losing out on clients, to probably being too soft when it comes to finances.  I have toughened up a lot though and I have learnt to say ‘no’!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Going to the House of Lords when I was in the Top Female Entrepreneurs last year was amazing.  Winning the WeAreTheCity Rising Star for Recruitment and HR has been the biggest achievement this year, and I was so honoured to be alongside such amazing women.  I also think the first placement we did on Daisy Chain with a mum who found a job via us when her contract stated she worked term time only, and totally remotely was massive for me!

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

I think being open and honest and connecting people that I meet along the way.  I truly believe what goes around comes around…so I always try and share and be open with people.  I also think I am quite relatable and being a mum means I am the perfect spokesperson for the parents on Daisy Chain as I know what they would like to ask employers and so I ask.

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

I do have a mentor…although it’s unofficial.  Having a mentor gives me clarity on my ideas, as it can be lonely running a business so having someone to  listen is crucial.

I am mentoring a young drama student at the moment through the BelEve programme, and at the start I was nervous as I didn’t know if I could help her, but from the moment we met I was blown away with her work ethic and attitude to life..and she actually motivates me to be better!

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

I have to say Flexible Working.  For our people (who happen to be parents) on Daisy Chain, flexible working is such a huge part of their work/life balance.  To be able to try and manage the jigsaw of life is tough enough as it is, and so if work has to slot into ‘9-5’ 5 days a week in an office, it’s just not that appealing.

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

Network more and don’t be scared to ask.  Ask questions, take advice, ask for help.  Most people like to help others and that’s something I wish I’d utilised more when I was younger.  Oh, and travel more!  I spent 3 summers working in Ibiza while I was a student and I look back on that time as one of my favourite memories…so I wish I’d done more travelling.

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

I really want to grow Daisy Chain into the leading site for parents for them to find jobs.  I would like Daisy Chain to work with all the leading flexible companies and match and connect them with talented parents. And grow and grow the Daisy Chain.

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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