I’m focused on creating meaningful, positive change


How long have you been an entrepreneur and what led you down this path?

I started my first business nearly 12 years ago. I was planning to start a family and wanted to find a way that I could work around having children. My first business was an online craft shop, which I left several years after starting. I think I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit in my heart and quickly found that I felt comfortable in this space.

You’ve used your success to start a number of campaigns like Goal 17. Why is it important to give back?

I launched Goal 17 back in September 2018 with former footballer Keith Mabbutt. He approached me with the concept of helping to get homeless 16 to 24-year-olds off the street and turn their lives around by using the universal power of football. To achieve this we have also been working with the Street Soccer Foundation charity as well as a number of Premier League football clubs.

‘Football has the power to break down barriers and bring people together. I’m a complete lover of the sport’

The thing that drives me to do projects like this is the change that I see in others as a result. It’s my responsibility to pass on what I’ve learnt to others so they can follow and hopefully even improve on what I have done.

Can you tell us what the Global Woman movement and your win as its UK Influencer is all about?

It is an international organisation that recognises and empowers female change makers across the world. Earlier this year I discovered they had shortlisted me as one of the UK’s top female influencers based on what they had seen in the media, on social platforms and my regular contributions on BBC Radio. It’s a real honour to be recognised by such an influential organisation. I was up against other influencers with millions of followers and in other categories were famous ladies such as Karen Brady, Dua Lipa, Emma Watson and Mary Portas. I now go through to the world final of Global Woman, and luckily it is being held in London at a gala dinner on July 13 which I’ll be attending.

You’ve said that after the gala dinner you’ll sleep rough, what’s the thinking behind that?

On the initial Global Woman nomination I wrote a blog post and coined the hashtag #PurposeOverPouts. Evidently people bought into this concept and I received a vast number of public votes which catapulted me into the number one position for Global Woman UK. I am using this as an opportunity to shine a light on all the amazing other women also doing such good work to bring purpose over pouts and to help raise awareness of homelessness. I will be sleeping out at a football stadium and will be joined by lots of other amazing women who are also making an impact through business.

You sit on an all-party Parliamentary group for women in enterprise. Why do you specifically want to help other women?

Advancing the progress of female entrepreneurship has the opportunity to add £250billion to the UK economy. Not only that, it is my belief that women make a different type of leader, so seeing more women leading the way in enterprise can only be a good thing for economy and society as a whole.

We are incredibly focused on helping steer the government to make enterprise more accessible and successful for women across the UK. While we’re seeing better equality sneaking into economy, the only way we are going to really progress is when women work together and raise each other up. That is what I’m committed to doing.

Being based in Tunbridge Wells what would you say are the benefits of being here as opposed to London?

For me one of the biggest benefits is having the city less than an hour away but also the beautiful countryside on our doorstep. We are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by lovely families, great schools and a generally beautiful environment to raise a family. I’ve been based in the town since I left university and I now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

If you want to find vote in the Global Woman final visit www.votefran.com

Football Focus: How Goal 17 works

“The award-winning Goal 17 mentor training programme is unique in its approach and results. It combines theory with hands-on practical learning. Corporate participants are paired with homeless young people using the power of football and the inspiring environment of Premier League football club stadiums to break down barriers and create breakthroughs.

This blend of theory and practice accelerates participants’ learning and ensures corporate clients develop a mentoring culture and diversity mindset to transfer back into the workplace.

For every corporate trainee that goes on Goal 17 a young person is match-funded through the Street Soccer Foundation academy programme – a type of ‘buy one give one’ set-up.

This real life experience of mentoring helps cement all participants’ learning, reduces the gaps in society, shifts mindset and perspectives and creates a lasting change for everybody involved.

Until I got involved with this project I wasn’t really a football fan. However having seen the power it has to break down barriers and bring people together I’m now a complete lover of the sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a multibillion-pound turnover company or a homeless person, if we throw you both together in a football stadium you’ll both be equally inspired and able to spark up a conversation and a bit of football banter.”

On being an influencer

I don’t really see myself as a typical influencer. I’m more focused on creating meaningful positive change than gathering followers. My Global Woman nomination symbolises the public’s shift in what they want from influencers. There is a real hunger for better role models for the younger generations of girls to follow; where purpose is more important than just pouty photos and product placements.

On being a busy working single mother of two

Like most mums, I don’t get it right all the time but I try my best. All I want is happy, fulfilled children and a loving relationship with them. I’m firm over my working schedule and am available from when I drop the kids at school until I pick them up. After that all messages and meetings go on hold.

Why I love Tunbridge Wells

What is your favourite place to shop?

It’s been very sad over recent years to see the High Street decline. However, I believe this is just part of the town’s natural evolution as we reassess what we want from our town centres. On the flipside, though, the old High Street and The Pantiles offer a really great unique shopping experience.

And to eat out?

We are so lucky to have not only amazing restaurants in town but so many unique and wonderful places to eat in the countryside around us. I’m a big lover of the country pub lunch! Even better if I can tie in with a little hike to build up 
an appetite.

And for coffee – or cocktails?

I can often be found at Juliets, grabbing a brunch meeting and coffee!

Finally where is the place to go locally in order to get away from it all?

My completely selfishly ‘me’ time is often spent trial running across the amazing countryside that we have surrounding Tunbridge Wells. I’ll try and get away from it all a couple of times a week. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by somuch beauty and fresh air!

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