What inspired you to go down the path of becoming an entrepreneur?
I've always loved new technology and innovation, and the challenge of how to successfully bring new products and services to market. I think I'm inherently attracted to dynamic, fast-paced environments and I enjoy being exposed to new concepts and ways of thinking.
They say that the rate of learning in a startup is three to five times more than in a 'normal' or established organisation, and I love being immersed in the process of starting something new. My academic background is in biotech and bioscience enterprise, and I think this definitely lends itself to this style of working and I enjoy the energy of working with innovative, smart creatives like the people in my current team.
Environments like ours also demand thinking on your feet and continuous problem solving, which makes you draw on on all your knowledge and experiences - it makes you challenge yourself and those around you. It encourages you to become good at adopting new habits and thinking laterally.
When the opportunity came to join Parrot Analytics I recognised immediately it was great for me; there's a great team, great culture and great technology.
Not many women put their hands up for these kinds of roles in technology, so I knew getting this position was really important for my growth as an entrepreneur in the technology area.
I wanted to put myself on a path that I knew would be challenging and at times uncomfortable, but I knew I'd also have the opportunity to learn fast and share successes with a great team of talented people.
One of the classic entrepreneurial challenges is finding time to work on your business rather than in it. What's been your story in this regard?
I think this is a trap a lot of us can easily fall into. It really comes down to planning and managing your work and time effectively and relentlessly prioritising!
On a practical level, things like Eisenhower's Decision Principle outlined in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which we try to practise at Parrot, works wonders. Keeping this top of mind makes you always step back and think about the bigger picture and guides you on how to work across multiple workstreams; it helps you work on the most important and urgent, growth-leading task.
We also have a really supportive group of advisors, investors and directors who actively participate in our strategic planning.
How about any other challenges you've encountered as an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurial environments are stimulating but also demanding - nine out of 10 startups fail. You need to learn to roll with the punches and find personal strategies to overcome and sometimes detach yourself from disappointments. You need to be able to begin again each day with the same enthusiasm, optimism and determination. I think resilience is paramount.
You also need to be able to inspire others to believe in the purpose as much as you do. And this of course is alongside dealing with all the other startup challenges - navigating the unknown, competing for limited resources and trying to secure the best talent.
But at the end of the day I think it's a choice we make, and we make it knowing all the challenges and sacrifices we will face - including the sheer number of hours, days and months that will need to be invested to grow the startup.
Have you looked to role models, mentors or networks to support you on your journey as an entrepreneur?
I've never had official mentors, but I've always drawn inspiration from other women in technology and the people around me. I feel really privileged to have a team that continues to challenge me every day, and to work with Parrot's CEO Wared Seger, who not only supports me through the entire process but also encourages all of us to do the best we can every day.
I believe that women are intrinsically resilient and strong. I've learnt a lot from a few who have inspired me along the way - women like Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, and Lena Dunham, the creator, writer and director of Girls, who come from different ends of a spectrum but I think represent a growing number of women who are encouraging other women to take on roles in otherwise male-dominated industries and reach gender parity.
Closer to home I've had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with some amazing women in technology who encourage me to carry on, to believe that anything is possible, and embrace the concept that success is not always a linear process.