British mother of two Anna Jones was the first woman appointed to the role of CEO at media company Hearst UK in 100 years. Now given that the company publishes magazines such as Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE, and women are at the heart of Hearst is all about, this is staggering. Almost as staggering as when she’d later launched her own company AllBright, and was sitting in meetings with potential investors who made comments such as: “There is no such thing as a great female entrepreneur” and asked questions such as “what does your husband do?”. She tells us about those first meetings today.
In our conversation, we talk about her time as CEO, and how everyone, no matter how high up you are, has self-doubt and she concedes to still feeling it daily. We also look at how it’s better to be decisive, and why that’s a key trait of leaders.
The beginning of Anna’s career transition from CEO to entrepreneur happened when she met her now-business partner Debbie Wosskow – who is the founder of Love Home Swap – at a party and the two of them talked all night. It was the beginning of All Bright – a company founded in 2017 which supports women at all stages of their careers, with a particular focus on skills, events and space. The name Allbright is a nod to Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State whose famous maxim was “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”.
All Bright now has three private member clubs – two in London and one in LA – which are focused on creating networking opportunities for women in business – and there are more to come. They also offer fantastic online education through both the AllBright Academy and AllBright Digital, which launched recently.
I love hearing from incredible women like Anna – who are open and honest about the reality of climbing the corporate ladder with young children, and also what it’s like going from a big corporate to an entrepreneur and building a business from the ground up.
In today’s conversation, we talk about:
- How self-doubt is something we all feel.
- The night she met her now-business partner Debbie Wosskow – the founder of Love Home Swap.
- The decision to resign from her position as CEO of Hearst UK to start to make their vision a reality – and how she knew it was the right step.
- The most challenging stage of juggling a career and motherhood.
- The motherhood penalty and how to overcome it.
- The process of raising capital.
- How Allbright is supporting women raise capital and build their dream businesses.
- Why do many women understate their experience and achievements.
- How men tend to have a superior networking ability – and how we can change this.
- How COVID-19 has changed their business and accelerated the launch of their digital offering.
To find out more, go to www.allbrightcollective.com