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7 Questions with Annette White
7 Questions with Annette White
Name: Annette White
Current title: Founder
Current organisation: Osprey UK Associates Limited
A Business Strategist and Marketing Consultant currently working with Small-Medium businesses & SaaS start-ups. Providing strategic thought leadership, business development opportunities, global collaborations, funding and marketing strategies.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
In the current climate of covid-19, the one thing I have found to be the most challenging is not being able to meet prospective customers and existing clients face-to-face. It is very difficult to build rapport and relationships online; it's just not the same on Zoom. I find I can really get to know the heart of a management board and business by actually working within the business, you just pick up the vibes and culture being directly in it. So for me, I can't wait to get back to some form of normality.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I initially worked for Siemens Communications within a Distributor & Reseller Channel working with partner marketing teams. I stayed there for about 8 years & moved into central marketing within Siemens to Head up the company events & communications for another 4 years. I had the best time learning how to manage marketing plans, budgets, manage board relationships & build client trust. I was made redundant from Siemens & thought what on earth am I going to do? After that, I held several marketing director interim roles in a Finance business, Granite & Stone Fabricator, Fitness Business & several others. I helped support SME's in defining their business development strategy, marketing concepts & plans etc. During this time I started to work in the family R&D business with my father who had invented a server diagnostic card which we ended up selling to a patent holder. We also had a small IT managed service business that I later sold in 2019. I have sat on boards as a Trustee for over 15 years of two charities & I set up my own Business & Marketing Consultancy in 2019.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Generally, start my day by being grateful & give thanks for what I have. Set positive intentions for the day ahead. I may try & get in 10 mins of exercise at home before I head out for a walk. I scan my social media channels for 10 mins & find out what the latest news is on Twitter. Then head out for a brisk morning walk with the dog. This is a perfect time for me to analyse any questions I may have had from the day before & it's the time I am at my most creative and generate ideas & concepts. Generally, walk for about 30/45 mins & have some breakfast when I get back in. Then I start the day by going through my to-do list & start on the most challenging tasks just to get them done first. Usually have up to 4 to 5 zoom meetings a day & can sometimes finish around 9 pm if I am on calls internationally. I like to eat around 7 pm & will set-up my next working day tasks. Then head to bed around 11 pm where I like to read a chapter in my book before I go to sleep or at the moment, check out what's happening in clubhouse.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I think one of the most significant leadership lessons I have learned recently is to wait until the right collaboration comes along. Don't rush into collaborations that don't feel right, trust your gut instinct if something just isn't right. So when you do find the right connection, go in with an open mind, open heart & be prepared to listen & learn.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is a lovely story, of a young boy who just wants to travel the world looking for a treasure. It is about dreams & desires & shows how our soul, & everything we say & do is actually connected to the Universe. His journey teaches us about the wisdom of listening to your heart, but more importantly than anything, always follow your dreams. This resonates with me so much, I have always believed in following my heart & soul & truly believe in harnessing my dreams. When I work with entrepreneurs or people looking at starting-up that's the one rule of thumb for me, you must have that fire in your belly, drive, passion & desire to succeed in your dreams.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
It's really important to inspire people to build leadership capacity not only for their business or organisation but for themselves also. Empower your employees to own & create their leadership skills & qualities. Recognise people's talents & value that talent. Say thank you & show appreciation. Treat people with respect. My motto is: Be Humble. Be Kind.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
I think one of the most meaningful stories for me has to be when The Karen Trust charity I volunteered with for over 4 years was able to donate over £100k to our local hospice. It was only a very small charity of all volunteers who worked incredibly hard to raise funds for good cause. So this was a massive impact on the hospice who look after terminally-ill children & adults. Plus it was the hospice who looked after my own father in his end of life care, I couldn't have thanked them enough. So this will always warm my heart & soul & I will be forever grateful for that.