Rising Star Awards: What happened next for Michelle Leivars

Michelle Leivars

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their tenth year.

The Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the achievements of women below Senior Management or Director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke to Michelle Leivars, who won a Rising Star Award in the Entrepreneur category, in 2022.

Michelle is an award winning business mentor & trainee financial planner who specializes in resilience and helping women to succeed. With a wealth of personal and professional experiences, Michelle brings a unique perspective, facing numerous obstacles throughout her own journey, Michelle is passionate about helping women overcome adversity and achieve their goals.

With a down to earth approach, sharing her own difficulties along the way, Michelle has achieved success with both private clients and mentoring for Small Business Britain, Lloyds Bank & Amazon Accelerator.

Regularly contributing as a business expert in publications for the BBC & Image Magazine, featuring in publications such as Fabulous Magazine, Marie Claire & The Observer, Michelle is passionate about helping women thrive.

More recently Michelle has begun a career in the Financial Services Industry as a Trainee Financial Planner with Women’s Wealth, in order to continue her passion pf supporting women in every aspect of their lives.

How did winning a Rising Star award influence your perception of your own achievements and potential?

For me, to win a Rising Star Award was the start of a new trajectory in my life, both professionally and personally. I have always struggled with lack of confidence in my own abilities, battled imposter syndrome every step of the way, but to be recognised by an organisation who sees your potential from an outsiders point of view was just unbelieveable. WeAreTheCity is ran by and has the most inspirational people from all walks of life, breaking down barriers, challenging narratives and generally paving the way for women to follow in their footsteps! To have that recognition from a community like this absolutely blew my mind. Following the award win it changed the way that I saw myself, it started to move those confidence issues to one side with a view to doing the Rising Star Awards proud. My mindset shifted from one of being nervous and lacking in confidence to building that self belief, as a way of thanking WeAreTheCity for seeing something in me and wanting to repay them, if strangers could deem me worthy of an award then I needed to push myself and show other women that it is possible for them too!

Have there been specific opportunities or doors that opened for you as a result of receiving the award?

Oh ABSOLUTELY, 100%!!!! Winning the Rising Star Award started me on a journey of self discovery, it made me look at my own self in a different light and then started a series of events whereby I wasn’t afraid to put myself forward for things that would have previously terrified me! Having an award like this gave me the confidence to change my career path, to follow my heart and to help women in the way that WeAreTheCity helped me.

How has winning the award affected your professional network and relationships within your industry?

It has grown my network massively! I’ve been introduced to THE MOST incredible women as a result of being a part of the Rising Start Awards Alumni, to be able to listen to their inspiring stories and watch their journeys since we met has been such a blessing. It’s opened up connections that I never thought in a million years I would be able to make and given me that confidence to step forward and make new connections too as I’m part of the WeAreTheCity family!

Have you had the chance to mentor or inspire others based on your experience?

I definitely have! I’m actually a full time Business Mentor now for female entrepreneurs! I knew that my passion was to help other women the same way that I have been helped in my business journey and I launched The Female Business Mentor in 2023. To be able to be a part of their business journey, lift them, show them how incredible they are and encourage them to believe in themselves is just such a dream job! To be a small part of enabling women to see their strengths, realise their potential and see their futures are completely reachable, it is my LIFE! I have come from a place of not believing in myself, letting my own negative thoughts hold me back and I want to make sure that every woman I work with knows how incredible they are. It is by supporting one another through the most difficult and equally most joyous times is when we can truly thrive! My passion for helping women is what has got me through the darkest of times and I will continue to help them through theirs as I know just how vital it is to have that support of someone you can trust, who listens and who will be your cheerleader. I’ve also been lucky enough to mentor some amazing business owners for Small Business Britain which has been such an honour!

What advice would you give to someone else thinking of nominating themselves or others for the awards?

DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!!!!!!! Literally no hesitation, you have absolutely nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain! If you are nominating yourself, you cannot underestimate the positive experience that the awards process gives you. So often we go through our lives and careers on a conveyor belt, we never get the chance to stop and see exactly HOW we got to where we are at this point in our lives. It is such a valuable exercise to write down your achievements to date and take stock of your journey so far. It will undoubtedly shine a light on what hurdles you have overcome and leave you with a sense of pride after entering. Join the WeAreTheCity community, interact with their social media, take inspiration from the incredible people in there and know that YOU have a place. To even get to this stage where you are thinking about nominating yourself or someone else shows strength, it shows compassion, it shows ambition, shows FIRE!!! If you are considering it, then you are ALREADY in the right place!!!!! GO FOR IT!!!!!

What advice do you have for individuals aspiring to achieve success in their careers?

The biggest one for me is Don’t Wait! Don’t Wait to feel ready, Don’t Wait to feel like you know more, Don’t Wait to feel like things have to be perfect, take every single opportunity you can TODAY! Never forget that you have the one thing that no one else in this whole world has, and that is the uniqueness of YOU. There may be so many people wanting to achieve the same as you but there is room for everyone, no one person will do things the same, believe in yourself and your abilities, embrace your uniqueness, it s your USP!!

What is next for you?

There’s some super exciting things going on at the moment! I’ve recently sold my product business as the time was right for me after a difficult year both mentally and physically following an accident I had in 2022. Alongside my mentoring for Female Entrepreneurs, I knew I wanted to support women as much as possible in other aspects of their lives too, so I have recently started as a Trainee Financial Planner with an incredible company called Women’s Wealth. They echo my ethos about supporting women and are passionate about helping women to take control of their financial futures. This for me is such an important role and one that I value so much, it’s exciting to meet such incredible women and to go back to learning again as I study for my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. It’s been a dream come true to be able to undertake this new adventure in an industry that I never thought I would be able to move into, with a company who has the same passion as I do to encourage women to level up and become financially independent! (Cue the pom poms here!!!!!)

Where can others follow you?

You can find out more about me here: thefemalebusinessmentor.com, or on Instagram @thefemalebusinessmentor or over on LinkedIn

(2) Michelle Leivars | LinkedIn

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