What inspired you to start a business?
The E2W journey began about 10 years ago when I became a mum. I had enjoyed a successful ‘city’ career and then experienced first-hand the challenges facing women, particularly those with financial services careers when they embarked on motherhood. A business model was created that provided a flexible and empathetic working environment which allowed these extraordinary women to continue their fulfilling careers without compromising on family life.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
Of paramount importance to the growth of the model is to ensure that E2W is well positioned to reach and develop a strong community of people who are affected by the challenges addressed by the model at E2W. We recognised 10 years ago that a group of highly qualified individuals was being ‘excluded’ from financial institutions because these firms could not offer true ‘work-life integration’. Employers who cannot accommodate the changing life circumstances of their employees and provide an environment in which they can continue to develop their careers are potentially cutting themselves off from a talent pool that they can ill afford to lose in the age of fierce global competition.
Our employees feel valued and respected for their contribution and benefit from the inclusive model. The greatest reward is having played a part in enabling ‘choice’ and seeing a positive outcome when we dared to challenge the status quo around the ‘workplace’ environment. It has furthermore been proven that the inclusive workplace is good for business performance and it has benefitted our wider clients by providing greater access to different perspectives and a wider source of expertise and experience as well as improved performance and reduced costs.
I believe that learning is a two-way process and everyone has something to give. Harnessing and sharing experience and knowledge benefits individuals on both a work and personal level and also has significant value to the organisation.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures
- Goals should be realistic and measurable so that reality checks can be done along the way
- Goals set must motivate to achieve the bigger picture
- Share your goals and aspirations for the company so that staff feel valued and buy into their part in the success and learning
- Don’t be afraid to modify your goals to reflect your learning, experience or priorities
- Learn equally from successes and failures
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
The biggest challenge as a business owner was to have the courage to stand back and delegate responsibilities. Obviously when starting you have to do all the paperwork, deal with customers, support staff and build processes but as the business grows it is very important to stand back to review the business i.e. work on the business rather than in it.
Another task was to consciously challenge the status quo, particularly in the ‘City’ and predominantly around the value of working parents and to continue this process throughout every aspect of our business – from recruitment to business development to client delivery.
Our management team is made up of people who, before they joined us, were faced with exactly the same set of challenges as the founder so they readily become ambassadors of our shared vision, eager to be accountable for its success.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
Sharing my vision and observing the growth of E2W as it met the needs of people from financial services background, in not just the UK but globally, has fulfilled my aspirations of providing another choice for predominantly working parents.
I believe that learning is a two-way process and everyone has something to give. Harnessing and sharing experience and knowledge benefits individuals on both a work and personal level and also has significant value to the organisation. Staff who share their ideas and accept responsibility are better focused to deliver and ‘buy in’ to the model. The calibre and experience of our employees has provided a rich resource which has benefited E2W as a business as well as each individual.
Don’t be afraid to modify your goals to reflect your learning, experience or priorities
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
Networking to us is about sharing knowledge, not just building connections and profiles. Over the recent years it has also enabled us to build confidence to create awareness of our model and how we have changed the ‘status quo’ in the work place.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
- Don’t lose sight of the vision and plan accordingly
- Ensure your customers are protected and quality of service is not affected
- Monitor cash flow very closely
- Keep costs to a minimum
What does the future hold for you?
E2W aims to expand the model into new sectors and positively impact a wider group of women. We have recently expanded our proposition into the BPO/Consultancy Services in the Capital Markets investment banking space.
With over 15 years’ experience in the London Stock Exchange and Credit Suisse, Tina Freed co-founded E2W to bridge the gap between financial institutions and the companies who wanted to sell to them. Through her unique business model, providing working parents with a work-life balance and a career that builds on their City experience, she has helped many women return to work without compromising the responsibilities of family life, and strives to ensure they continue to make a significant contribution to the industry.