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On this month’s QP Mums Meets, we are speaking to local mum of two Alice Olins –  fashion journalist and Co-Founder of the career coach platform that is The Step Up Club.

Alice began her writing career as an intern at The Times fashion desk, before working up to her dream job as The Times Fashion Writer, where she stayed for ten years.  The position at The Times enabled Alice to move into other areas of fashion editorial including Fashion Features Director at both Marie Claire and Red Magazine and Launch Deputy Editor of Marie Claire Runway.

In 2016, Alice made the decision to extend her career repertoire by joining forces with Phanella Mayall Fine to write Step Up – a career self-help book for women.  Off the back of the book’s success, The Step Up Club was born – whereby Alice and Phanella set out to create an active network – a club – to help women meet, learn and get unbridled perspective on their careers.

In a relatively short space of time, The Step Up Club has become a bit of a ‘go-to’ for women looking for career advice, and has unsurprisingly become a big hit with mothers who had successful careers pre children, and want to utilise their skill-set through another working avenue.

If that wasn’t enough, Alice and Phanella worked with the success of The Step Up Club to launch Step Up School – an innovative one-year programme based around monthly half day meet ups and a closed online forum which is applicable to entrepreneurs and employees, freelancers and full-timers.

Here’s what Alice had to say…

Q: DESPITE HAVING A SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN JOURNALISM, YOU MADE THE BOLD MOVE TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS.  WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE THE TRANSITION?

It was a chance meeting really; my writing is still very much a part of my life, but Step Up has somehow taken over. It’s a meaningful career, a vehicle for change and something I feel extremely passionate about. As a writer, I am able to adapt my creativity to many subjects, but what could be better than giving women great advice and helping them achieve their goals, at a time when it’s still so desperately needed?

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

The flexibility; my fun, thought-provoking relationship with Phanella; the fact that it is so brilliantly received and drives real change – we’ve had some momentous developments in our first Step Up School class – new business, promotions, the confidence to get stuck back into work. There are many tangible ways to see our work making a real difference.

Q: HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCE BETWEEN YOUR WORK AND HOME LIFE?

Um, well towards the end of 2017 I really had no balance, which was the irony of this whole thing. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to help other women, only to drain ourselves in the process. Now, I am more strict about keeping my work laptop closed in the evenings, and not falling asleep thinking about our next event! Easier said than done, but a big holiday at Christmas certainly helped put things into perspective.

Q: WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE FOR A BUSINESS MEETING?

Soho House. I’m a member and an addict. Failing that, Gracelands Cafe – local, the friendliest owners and great Caravan coffee.

Q: WHAT DREW YOU TO LIVE NORTH WEST LONDON?

I’m NW London born and bred and we’ve lived in Kensal Rise for over five years after buying and then breathing life back into a neglected home opposite a park. Before Kensal, we lived in Queens Park, and before that Maida Vale – we’ve basically moved along a northwards trajectory to get more space!

We’ve stayed in the area namely because of the people, the architecture and the relaxed, unpretentious vibe. I absolutely love it here; my school mum friends are without a doubt the best known to womankind.

Q: WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR A FAMILY DAY OUT THAT IS GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOUR KIDS SMILE?

We love the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace. It gives them freedom and interactive play in equal measure; plus, they sell great ice creams.

Q: WHERE ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO HAVE LUNCH (WITH AND WITHOUT THE KIDS!)?

With kids: my girls are obsessed with Greek food, so I’d have to say Lemonia in Primrose Hill.

Without: Wow, the world is my oyster! Maybe Cecconi’s or The Wolseley.

Q: IF YOU HAD AN HOUR ALONE TO INDULGE IN SOME RETAIL THERAPY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Ooo, now you’re talking. Well if I was housebound, it would be Net-A-Porter. If I was out and about, I’d say Liberty. It’s a glorious experience even if you leave empty handed.

Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER CHANGE?

Gosh, big question for a woman like me! I’d say, work on building your confidence. When we are able to draw on self-belief at critical moments, we give ourselves the freedom of choice – our dreams become attainable, because really, so much of what holds us back is the negativity and fear swirling around our minds.

Q: IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

This too shall pass.

Sign up to the Step Up Club weekly newsletter for a FREE CHAPTER FROM THEIR BOOK, plus career advice freebies and first dibs on tickets to its sellout events. The Step Up Club is launching its new, online learning portal this Spring, meaning you will be able to boost your career from the comfort of your sofa. All information goes to the newsletter first, join the Step Up gang and be your own game changer. 

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Phanella Mayall Fine & Alice Olins

step-up-club.net
Instagram: @thestepupclub

 

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