Inspirational Woman: Stephanie Desmond | Founder, bloss

Stephanie DesmondI left a career in finance after seeing the potential of Uber.

First 100 employee globally and number 3 of the founding UK team, I headed up all things rider and grew the platform from just a handful of riders in London, launching Uber in several UK cities to become the dominant market leader globally.

Uber ignited my love affair with start-up life and after leaving to have my firstborn, I soon became an early stage tech investor and advisor, with plenty of experience scaling good ideas into great businesses. This led me to building bloss, the ‘home of parenting experts’, founded due to the lack of credible information available for parents online.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

To be honest, never… I certainly wasn’t one of those with their career mapped out in front of them at school. Other than finding enjoyment in Art and being creative, I’ve always just gone where the wind has taken me and followed my gut. When I find something I’m really into I put my heart and soul into it, it has to strike a chord with me emotionally to hold my attention and that’s what has led me to where I am now.

You’ve recently launched Bloss – tells us more about that

As a mother of 3, it’s safe to say I understand the challenges parents face when seeking expertise at any stage! My parenting journey started off tough from being diagnosed with PCOS after many months of trying to conceive to embarking on my IVF journey for my first two children. Usually I’d turn to friends & family for recommendations but with no one else going through IVF at the same time, feeling like an island, I looked for advice and support online. I found I wasted hours of time googling, sifting through anecdotal advice from other mums, rather than qualified experts and so I started bloss with parents like me in mind who are looking for trustworthy, professional advice.

With Bloss, we help you discover easily digestible advice from credible, qualified experts. We’re a one-stop-shop of trustworthy and user-rated experts who parents-to-be, parents and caregivers can now easily discover and interact with at the touch of a button. We make what is an extremely challenging journey of highs and lows that little bit easier; book physical and virtual consultations, snack on free bitesize advice, download resources and chat with your community of experts to help navigate your entire parenting journey from trying to conceive to parenting teenagers. There has never been an easier way to find help, all in one place.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Start-up life is one big (exciting) challenge! Building something on a bootstrap budget and trying to prove your concept is the biggest one I’ve experienced so far…

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Buying my mum a house from my own blood, sweat and tears – that or getting one car full every hour when I first started at Uber, believe it or not that felt like a HUGE mountain to climb back in 2012.

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

Probably hustle for want of a better word. I’m a grinder, I don’t do things by halves – once something captures my attention, I’m all in.

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

Being CEO of bloss and having managed the partnerships team at Uber, you are mentoring on a daily basis. I think a huge part of being a manager is understanding your team and being able to get the most out of them by upskilling. I spend time getting to know each member, their strengths and weaknesses and try to give them the tools and put processes in place to help them clear bottlenecks and get the most out of their day to day.

I believe mentoring is hugely important to help people grow but also as a mentee (I have a couple that I continuously learn from, mostly they don’t even know it!), I know first hand just how beneficial it is to find someone you can learn a thing or two from.

If you could change one thing to help mothers in the workplace, what would it be?

Give them support and understanding! The pandemic has forced a reckoning between career ambitions and family aspirations for many women, and what companies can do to help them. Most mothers don’t receive the kind of workplace support they need to balance care for their families with bringing their full selves to work.

It’s actually an issue I’m trying to tackle with bloss, we have hundreds of qualified experts on hand to help you create a more flexible and empathetic workplace, to retain employees most affected by parenting challenges – and – nurture a culture in which working mothers have equal opportunity to achieve their potential.

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

Do what you enjoy, not what you think will make you look good.

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

Other than striking a good work life balance, bloss is my biggest challenge right now. I started it with the desire to help every mum, dad, caregiver through their challenges with advice from trustworthy, qualified experts. Ultimately my wish for bloss is to be the first thing people think of when they need help navigating family life, a badge of honour that immediately signifies credibility and quality for any expert on our platform. Bloss is clearly in it’s infancy at the moment but I hope to build something that’s innovative on the product side, with an app just around the corner.

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