Claire Arnold, Maxxim, Executive Chair & Founding Partner sits down with WeAreTheCity to discuss her career journey.
I grew up in darkest Surrey where my brother and I played fabulously competitive games of bicycle polo (it’s dangerous!), football, and cricket.
Our mother said she believed in constructive boredom and so we spent a lot of time being sent out to do things – we now both run our own businesses, so maybe it worked!
I founded Maxxim 12 years ago after a spell at A T Kearney. The ethos of our team is all about leadership through teamwork and performance. We want our clients to be winners in their field.
What is your sporting background?
Quite a lot of my sporting career was spent sitting down as I was cox of the Cambridge Women’s Blue Boat in 1981 and 1982, and President of the Women’s Boat Club in 1982, when we were the fastest club crew in the UK. I loved the coaching and performance enhancement aspects of my role. Alongside that I am a runner.
Can you pin point any key milestones or significant memories in your sporting career?
Not being allowed to trial to be the cox of the men’s boat certainly sparked my competitive nature and made me (even) more passionate about women’s sport and, in particular, getting female leaders into all sport.
What have been your biggest achievements in sport?
I don’t think I have achieved a lot personally, but through the work we have done, particularly at the FA, we have helped create a better platform for others to achieve. The re-organisation of the coach organisation at the FA is a good platform on which to develop more success like that of our women’s team at the World Cup
What are you doing now? Are you still competing in sport?
Well, having given up trying to keep up with my children I now restrict myself to running with the dog, who luckily goes round in circles so sometimes I’m actually in front…
How has sport influenced other aspects of your life?
My rowing days taught me a huge amount about leading a team, setting targets and enabling success. Having learned so much from sport myself, I am keen that other young girls are able to get the full benefit from sport – learning how to win, how to lose, and how to manage individual pressure, as well as how to pull together as a team.
What do you think that the world of business and the world of sport can learn from each other?
One of the great things that you learn in sport is about balancing the end goals in your mind with the grind of day-to-day training, early outings, weights etc. giving people decent feedback. I think people forget just how much doggedness and mindfulness is needed to be successful in sport, and how mutually compatible this is to succeeding in the business world.
What have been the three most significant areas of personal development that you have gained through your sporting career?
If you could go back in time would you do anything differently?
I would have learned to say no a lot earlier on in life.