Interview with Sophie Segal, founder of the Mindset Shift Summit

Find out what inspired Sophie Segal to launch the first Mindset Shift Summit for mums looking to find flexible work they love, and how the event has come together.

What’s your career background?

I spent the last 10 years working for a global organisation. I started in the call centre in Barcelona as an agent taking reservations, moved to the HQ in the UK, working in a variety of roles across the commercial function – from sales, partnership, brand and online marketing, commercial lead for the franchise markets across the world.

I also led strategic projects for the board and headed the international loyalty programme. I loved what I was doing and the impact I could have on the international teams and customers.

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In January 2017, I also co-founded some science classes for little ones (WhooshPop) as Hannah and I had experienced first-hand with our children how curious and inquisitives they were and we wanted to nurture that and pass that love of science to kids from an early age.

How did your career change after having children?

I always thought my path will be pretty clear – I had a career, loved it and wanted to carry on with it. The reality I didn’t expect was how much I would also want to be around them and how much it made me question the purpose of my current role. With hindsight – I think it was time for me to look for another opportunity but I stopped myself thinking it’ll be easier in a company I knew very well.

Just before going on my first maternity leave, I took on a big strategic project that I loved! I came back, got promoted and joined a new team, working more or less flexibly. This is really after my second daughter, that the big change happened – I was working three days a week (which was perfect) but felt I needed something else. The challenge was that I didn’t really know what that ‘something else’ was!

Where did the idea for the Mindset Shift Summit come from?

I had LOTS of ideas, probably too many to be honest! This is when I decided to focus on my biggest frustration and understood what was truly driving me (inspiring others to change) that I got more confidence to go for it. From there, I built momentum from little wins I got along the way, one at the time.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

I started by creating a survey to understand more what were the biggest frustrations of other mums – I wanted to validate it wasn’t just me! I then created a Facebook group where we discuss matters around flexible working and support each other’s (Mum.Career.Life.).

All this was done alongside my employed work. I had a few ideas of ‘what’ the business could look like but I realise that what was driving me was to bring people together and inspire them to kick start their journey.

The online summit idea was spot on, I set a date and started reaching out to so many amazing women out there and speakers that had inspired me along the way. Now this event will go live on the 30 January 2018, bringing 25+ experts who offer advice and tools to mums to help them get their career confidence back and use it to find flexible work they love – ARGHH it is so real now. This is super exciting!

What’s your USP?

“The Mindset Shift Summit: For mums looking to find flexible work they love” is a four-day online event, bringing together mums and experts around purpose, career, connexions and celebrations.

Who’s your target audience?

Typically, professional mums with young children at home, who had a career pre-kids. They all have ambitions to find a role they love that challenge them mentally, on a flexible basis (it could even be to start their business!).

Those working full time feel frustrated, stressed and worried and those working part time feel more stuck and worried. They all want to regain confidence in themselves to get out there, celebrate who they are and contribute – the challenge is to know where to start and managing their emotional rollercoaster – we all know that part so well!

How do you spread the word about what you do?

This is the part that will start soon – social media, word of mouth and more traditional marketing avenues or partnerships. What I love is how everyone in the ‘mum’s sphere’ comes together to help each other. I have been amazed at how much support the speakers are offering, how people want to contribute and be part of the journey.

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

Word of mouth – there is nothing best than feeling you can help a friend who is in a similar situation and who can relate so well. Maybe you too can help me spreading the word about this summit!

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

My mental barriers – after a while, I realised I was starting many things but didn’t finish any. Looking back, I think I was scared and just trying to self-sabotage myself.

You so often hear that people bounce back from something terrible that happen to them. I think I had created that story in my mind and had to work hard to change this mindset.

Now I really believe that even a positive event can give you the chance to start something new – like having kids, it is a positive event (probably the best one in your life) but it is a change and the truth is you have to deal with this change and use it to positively fuel whatever you want to become or be next.

And your proudest moment so far?

Having been able to gather over 25 speakers to inspire other mums and give them practical tools. Everyone is so supportive – I love how this community gets together to celebrate who we are and challenge the status quo.

Why is work so important to you?

I loved my career, I love feeling I can contribute, I love interacting with people, I love a good challenge and I love seeing the results of my actions on customers and consequently the businesses or ideas I support.

Who inspires you?

So many people – it doesn’t have to be the big names, a good story from another mum who has done it (I have had the chance to interview five amazing women from the Timewise Power Part Time Top 50 – Emily Luscombe, Charlotte Harrington, Morwen Williams, Angela Kitching and Hannah Pearce), someone who shows vulnerability, someone who has a drive, a smile, a friend making that first small step that will mean so much to her. I love inspiration!

In general, I love people with diverse views, things that will challenge myself and my thinking. Christine Lewicki with her book “J’arrete de raler” / “I quit complaining”, Paul Lindley with his book “Little Wins: The huge power of thinking like a toddler”, Jenny Blake with her book “Pivot – the only move that matters is your next one”. Simon Sinek is always one of my favourite too – I love his daily “note to inspire” that gets into my inbox.

How do you balance your work with your family?

It is a juggling act and I don’t think I have the perfect balance yet but I make it work for now. I probably work more hours than I used to in my corporate job (there is so much I need to re-learn and this is me doing most of everything!) but I can do it when it is convenient.

I do take my kids to school most days, they still go to after school club a couple of days a week, I spend Fridays with my younger one, I prioritise their shows but also make the time when I have a work commitment and arrange for childcare.

I think this is about being flexible and not judgmental with myself – days where I am not productive, I stop, go for a run, do something else and work in the evening. What I am not really good at yet, is taking the time to stop and say, “no today, I will not do any work-related activities”. It will hopefully come with time.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

1) Take the time

It is a journey and it always takes longer than we expect. That being finding what you want to do next, discovering what is important to you, launching your business.

Be kind to yourself – even if it takes you six months to get clear on your next steps, it’s ok – it seems very long at the time but it will be well worth it in the long term and six months is nothing in a lifetime!

2) Follow your gut feel

Madgalena Bak-Maier says it very well “let your heart drives you and use your mind to work out what needs to be done”. If base your business on something that fires you up from the inside, something that uses your natural talents, you will find a way to make it viable and profitable. By all mean, test it and make sure there is a market for it!

3) Be curious and have a go

There is so much value in being open minded, listening and asking. Talk to as many people as you can about your idea – it will help you shape your product or service, provide feedback, validate or not your thoughts and bring you those first little wins that are so important to build the momentum.

Simon Sinek says it well too – “words may inspire but only action creates change” – one small step at a time.

You can find out more about the Mindset Shift Summit and book your place here