Meet the MD: Abbie Coleman of Mothers Mean Business

Meet the MD: Abbie Coleman of Mothers Mean Business

Founder of Mothers Mean Business, Abbie Coleman, seeks to tell the stories of mother's who juggle successful careers with top parenting through her website. She took time out to tell BQ a little bit about her day-to-day work.

What do you do?

As the founder of Mothers Mean Business (MMB) I talk to intelligent women who are successful in their careers and a fantastic parent. I tell their stories – or invite them to share their own experiences and advice on our blog. I try to ensure their voices are heard in the workplace too, in a bid to champion more opportunities for part time careers (not just jobs).

As the MD of MMB I’m responsible for the strategic direction of the company too – I’m constantly introducing new products and services for our working mother audience, seeking out career opportunities for our jobs board, securing investment for our evolving website and so on.


What is it the company does?

MMB is much like an online magazine. It brings together all the information, career advice and advancement support that working mothers need for their career and business life, alongside an online jobs board showcasing flexible and part-time employment opportunities throughout the region.

In only four months we’ve received some phenomenal support, with contributions coming in from high profile names including Leeds actress Angela Griffin, GB para-cycling athlete Caroline Wareing and The Apprentice star Claire Young.

Our goal is to prevent large pools of mid-senior level talent being lost from the business environment when women enter parenthood. Currently aimed at women – and employers – in Yorkshire, we’re launching in the North West and Midlands in the summer.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

Aside from one of my first jobs – talking to Americans about wine in France – I’ve spent virtually all my career in the world of recruitment. Having started out in recruitment business franchising, I moved into recruitment sales. I’ve had senior search and selection roles, for finance and Human Capital clients in London for example, but set up my own recruitment consultancy Harrington Norman six years ago. I work on an exclusive basis for clients throughout the UK – many of whom I’ve supported for years – and this still remains a key part of my working life, alongside MMB.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

I truly believe in what I do and I believe that passion is infectious.

I also really value my network, and continually add to it rather than drain it. This means that my colleagues, and the working mothers I champion, can benefit from this network too.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

In all honesty, it’s been keeping up with the pace that our start up venture has gathered in only four months. MMB’s popularity and traction has been faster than forecast, so we’ve accelerated many of the plans we originally scheduled for year two. But this is a great challenge to have - don’t get me wrong!


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

It’s probably not surprising, given what MMB is all about, that I take time out with my family – my husband and young son.

However, I also worked hard, many years ago, to put mechanisms in place to stop me ever getting stressed. Stress is only a reaction to something, so if you can understand what’s caused a particular feeling, and take steps to address it, challenging times become much easier to manage.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It changed on a daily basis but my most memorable career ambition was to be a West End star. It’s pretty ironic really, because I can’t sing, dance or act. Other than that, I think I’d have made it!


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Unproductive people – both those that proclaim to be constantly busy but never get anything done and those that simply don’t work hard enough.

I try to encourage others to make best use of their time – life’s too short to sit around wasting it.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

Easy – I want us to be the ‘go to’ site for working mothers throughout the UK. I want MMB to be for working mothers, what Netmums is for new parents.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Do it! Of course due diligence is important – an idea needs to be thoroughly investigated, with risks managed, a market proposition defined, costs assessed and resources planned. But once the careful research is complete, make a start. If you don’t someone else will!