No woman is an island.
There’s no “i” in team.
One team, one dream.
Team work is dream work.
I just Googled some #teamwork idioms and found this one: “sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” OK I’ll stop now.
But seriously: amidst the sporadic trolling, whenever I receive the occasional nice tweet or Instagram message from someone who has enjoyed something I’ve done (be it this blog even) I always remind myself of all the people who have helped me and continue to help me along the way. The highs, the lows, and the challenges.
People who work for themselves are rarely working completely alone. Whether you’re working for a big company or self-employed you will always need a team of people around you. You might work with different people on different projects. Working with people is important. That team might be different based on your situation; it might be your partner, family, friends or colleagues. Some colleagues we are lucky enough to choose, some we just get stuck with.
I’ve been lucky enough that in the last year and a half I’ve been able to choose my colleagues. Whenever I post something on this blog, make a big decision, publish a book, book in a podcast episode or work on a new project it is because I have incredible, clever, sharp women around me.
And today seems like a good opportunity to talk about them in a bit more detail. (Even though, if you know me personally I can’t help bang on about how wonderful they are all the time).
I meet and work with amazing women EVERY DAY.
But here are seven women who over the past year have really inspired and supported me:
(do you like my bad 90s Clip Art? It’s my favourite aesthetic.)
My Literary Agent at Diane Banks Assoc
I know I’ve written about Robyn before. About how, in early 2015, she replied to my DM and took my book idea seriously, helped me turn my proposal into something mic-droppingly good (it’s true! She helped me scrub up my BIG IDEA into something incredibly polished) and got me a book deal in a matter of months. She is my literary fairy godmother. But in addition to that, I admire her because she’s got insanely high standards, she takes no nonsense, she is ambitious and kind at the same time. She is amazing at email pep talks, good at celebrating with me AND letting me down gently, great at guiding me and also a really FUN person to go for drinks with. I think she is THE BEST and feel very lucky to call her my literary agent.
My Agent, CEO and founder of Alight Talent Agency
I met Kim in a fantastic lucky set of circumstances! Our mutual friend (the fantastic comedian Luisa Omielan, if you haven’t watch her BBC comedy show then what are you doing with your life) had organised a non-wanky meet up for some women she’d met through the year and wanted to bring us all together and some casual non-networky drinks. I thought Kim was just awesome the minute we started talking about the stuff/projects we were working on. I was fascinated with her job in talent management because the online digital world seems so broad and confusing at the best of times. It felt like the industry would help you either if you were an old school celebrity or a ~superstar vlogger~, but what about the in-between? I liked the fact that she’d founded her own company after gathering years and years experience working her way up in such a crazy fast-paced industry. Starting your own company is a bold and exciting move and I couldn’t help but immediately like this about her. She’s both fired-up and lovely, can solve problems calmly that would make me freak out, balance multiple of things brilliantly, gives amazing advice and guidance, looks at the bigger picture of the industry as a whole and is just so on the pulse. I do feel really lucky and happy to have such inspiring women beside me.
Managing Director, Ebury Publishing
Rebecca is someone who is hugely admired in the publishing industry. She is also someone who stands up for things she believes in and cares deeply about inclusivity. She wrote a powerful piece recently for The Bookseller called “On Pride, Not Prejudice”. The piece is about how we shouldn’t be snobby about different kinds of authors and stop using the phrase “that’s not a real book”. Being published by Ebury was amazing because not only do I really respect Rebecca’s views but pretty much all of my favourite non-fiction reads as a teen / during my early twenties are Ebury books. Whether that’s reading Chris Moyles autobiography when I was younger and decided I wanted to be a radio dj, to Dave Gorman, to Mindy Kaling to the book that changed everything: Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman. She is also part of the PRH team that launched
#WriteNowLive, a year-long mentoring programme for writers from under-represented communities. Click here to see some of the books out at the moment published by Ebury. So good.
Web Designer and Developer
Did I tell you that I accidentally managed to delete my entire blog last year? My best friend was staying with me, visiting from San Francisco and she found me sat at my kitchen table at 2am sweating (and swearing), on the phone to GoDaddy. It was the fucking WORST. Anyway, Christina is the angel sent from above who helps me with my blog whenever I am feeling stressed or emotional or like a total loser technophone. She is the one that says “hey! Don’t worry! I can fix it.” She’s also on another time zone. She also has other full-time jobs. She is always lovely to me, even if I’m being really shouty in ALL CAPITALS because it’s late and accidentally deleted everything. Christina, thank you. THANK YOU.
You know that my podcast started as a DIY project but there’s only so much I can handle on my own. Shola has been a total legend when it comes to answering my weird audio queries. She’s tweaked episodes for me that have been an accidental nightmare (hey – reader – don’t record podcasts in massive marble kitchens!) She’s given me advice on new mics when on holiday. She’s helped me record live podcasts – for example the one in Waterstones with Cherry Healey, Shola brought her fancy microphones and helped set everything up and record it. She is the best. I’m worried about telling you about her as you might steal her.
Charlie is someone who has opened my eyes to some new projects this year as well – she also slid into my inbox with an interesting suggestion and I’m working with her at the moment on something exciting. Thank you Charlie for all your theatre recommendations, being a fun person to go to ~events~ with and in general being someone I’ve learned a lot from this year. Charlie was also Edinburgh TV Festival One to Watch 2016, so like, if you don’t believe me then there’s some hardcore proof that she is awesome.
Writer and Performer
I’ve had SO MUCH FUN recently working with Stevie as my one-off writing partner on a recent project. Not only is she my PAL FO’ LIFE but she’s been a total joy to work with. Working with friends can be tricky sometimes but we have such a good honest relationship that if anything niggles we either get it out the way or we just lol about it. We laugh about most things. This is the joy of working with her. She is also really fucking great at what she does, is burningly passionate about what she creates and I respect her hugely as an ~artist~. No, but really. Stevie you’re the cat’s pyjamas. I’ve learned a lot about ~collaboration~ from you.
HAPPY INTERNATION WIMMIN’S DAY, ALL.
Today is the day (and every day) to tell your good eggs what good eggs they are.