Rebecca is a single mum of two and lives in Manchester.
Buump Active is the first social connection platform in the world designed to keep new mums active after having a baby. The app is supported by Sport England – which has identified becoming a new mum as one of the key times in life when fitness levels can drop – through £346,990 of National Lottery funding. Sport England support this work and share best practice widely among the sport and health sector, so that more can be done to help support people to stay active whatever happens in their lives.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m Manchester born and bred, a mum of two amazing girls and am privileged that my career has involved being around a number of hugely inspiring people on pretty much a daily basis. Much of my work has been in the Third Sector, focusing on income generation and latterly specialising in working with individual philanthropists. I currently do this at The University of Manchester and am wowed on a daily basis by the world-leading academics and clinicians I’m surrounded by – a Nobel Laureate passing you in a corridor is a surreal experience!
Philanthropy has the power to be truly transformational and it was my belief in the power of bringing about change which led me to founding Buump Active, the world’s first social connection app to keep mums active after having a baby. This is a huge passion of mine – seeing women thrive as they enter the season of motherhood, reducing social isolation and keeping physically and mentally well.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No, it was very much by accident rather than design. I’ve always had a strong work ethic – my first Saturday job was at the Manchester Velodrome where my mum was the FD when I was just 13. I had the opportunity to gain experience of waitressing, running the ticket office, souvenir shop, corporate hospitality and reception duties during my teenage years. This didn’t give me a direction for my career, but was certainly where the foundation of my relationship building skills were built. Waitressing was certainly my least skilled area of this job – I remember dropping a tray of food at a prestigious event for a high profile cyclist, absolutely panicking and frantically rearranging anything which hadn’t been totally on the floor, hoping nobody would know!
I completed my UCAS form thinking I was going to study psychology and counselling, but a segue into a Business Analyst role in Financial Services during a year out after my A Levels meant I ended up in a graduate role when my place came up. The rest as they say, is history…
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Everybody faces challenges. Something I’ve certainly learned along the way is to be mindful that you never know what challenge somebody might be facing when you come into contact with them. I think being more open about the challenges we face is important, too. There’s power in vulnerability and it’s too easy to look at someone and think ‘she’s got it all together’ or ‘she’s had an easy time getting to where she is’ when it often couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve battled health challenges – living with undiagnosed endometriosis for over a decade before I was able to access surgery. This had a huge impact on my day to day life for far too long.
We all face the pressures which come in working life – juggling budgets, funding, deadlines, targets and issues with employees so it’s essential to have a tight network of trusted people to advise and support you. Being part of a great women in business group is something I value. I certainly didn’t expect to be navigating a divorce almost immediately after securing business funding where my now ex-husband was an employee of the business. Good advice from trusted sources was essential to navigate this. I’ve also learned that the one thing we can always control in a challenge is how we react or respond.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is in my personal not professional life. My two daughters are what I am most proud of. Seeing them grow into amazing young women with a zest for life, a commitment to doing their best and a belief that anything is possible far outweighs anything else.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I still have an awful lot to do! However, I know when I’ve been proud of a result I’ve always started out on my course with an unwavering belief that I’d get there. Faith and action is a great combination!
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I’ve had good experiences on both sides of this and think it’s important to continually assess what you need for your own growth and what, as you grow, you can offer someone else. It’s also important to know when to say no – whether that be because of capacity or a mismatch of skills or experience. Finding the right person for each stage of your journey is really important.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but it would be great to see CEO’s of businesses adopting KPI’s for gender equality. We’ve just entered a new decade – seeing senior business leaders committing to a percentage of their executive teams which will be female in the next decade, identifying and developing female talent to take these roles and men being willing to be agents of change would certainly accelerate change.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Don’t hold yourself back and miss opportunities because you feel unqualified. Take every chance available – and create opportunities where they don’t exist.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
To see Buump Active really make a difference to women as they become mums. Being active is so important for physical and mental wellbeing. I want the social isolation experienced by so many new mums to be eradicated, and to see communities of women supporting and empowering each other and absolutely winning at life as they enter motherhood.