"We don’t support each other to succeed the way men do, that needs to change"

Updated: Mar 14

Every business owner has a story to share, read Amy's here along with her thoughts on women supporting women in business...

Let's kick this off with an intro to you Amy, tell everyone about yourself...

I am a straight talking expert and strategist in health, mental health and wellbeing. The daughter of a well known Consultant Psychiatrist I have spent 20 years working in and around health and mental health. From running my own mental health tech start up, to writing global wellbeing strategies for FTSE 100s. I now work as an independent helping all different organisations of all sizes in their approaches to health, mental health and wellbeing.

I’m a respected thought leader. Social media has given me a platform to put out my skills, expertise and knowledge. My original content sparks much discussion and progressive debates . I’ve realised I am always ahead of the curve. I am carving out another career as a speaker, providing my insightful, straight-to-the-point opinions on different topics. .

How long have you been in business and what was the catalyst for you to start your own business?

I started my first own business aged 23 in 2003. I created an online mental health tool which people working in organisations could use to look after their own and others mental health. My career has taken many twists and turns including working in large corporates, but I now work as an independent strategist and consultant in all areas of health, mental health, wellbeing and women’s health.

The catalyst for me heading out on my own was deciding that this would be the best way to re-enter the job market after children and a nasty corporate exit after a miscarriage. My industry is not yet that developed and senior and influential jobs in health and mental health don’t yet exist. I thought I would ‘be the change’ I wanted to see, helping the world of health and mental health grow and evolve by sharing my knowledge and skills as an independent. This also gives me the freedom to say what I want, when I want, without any corporate gagging, and to have flexibility around my young children. I’m investing for the next 20 years of my career, building a platform I can develop further and further.

Who do you help and how do you help them?

I help organisations of all sizes create and implement health, mental health and wellbeing strategies. I have worked with organisations of all sizes from from big 4 accountancy firms (I wrote and implemented EY’s UK health, mental health and wellbeing strategy) and global strategies for FTSE 100s, to SMEs and start-ups.

I’m increasingly helping organisations in other ways too; doing talks and training, helping organisations find and source the right health and mental health providers and apps, and solving bespoke problems in these areas. Health, mental health, and wellbeing are hot topics right now and many organisations want to get their work around them right. I help with this.

I am also increasingly helping organisations to implement programmes specifically designed to help female employees. This can be done either through wider Health & Mental Health strategies, or as a standalone body of work. This is work I love to do as it marries my love of health and mental health, and women’s issues.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced whilst owning your own business?

Keeping enthusiasm and self worth when others don’t seem to value you or what you bring. It’s so hard selling under your own name as rejection seems personal and a value statement on your personality, which it isn’t. It is sometimes a daily battle to keep going and putting yourself out there.

I also find it hard to contain the frustration of seeing people who you know have less skills and expertise than you ‘succeed’ because they work within an organisation and have a swishy sounding job title and company name. It can feel so dispiriting and can make you question your own worth. Separating out status, worth and job success can be a challenge in a world where people get judged for ‘what you do’ and who you work for.

What has your experience been like in terms of support from other women in business?

Generally poor to be honest. There are obviously exceptions and I am lucky to have some wonderful and supportive women in my network (such as you Chels) but in general my experience of women in business has not been good. I have experienced more negativity, being torn down and unnecessary competition and exclusion from women, not men. Almost as if by knocking me out of the way, these women believe that they will further themselves and their own ambitions. It is very sad to see and unnecessary. We should be supporting each other to become more successful and fighting to make our part of the pie bigger. Not feeling threatened by each other and competing for a smaller slice.

What would you like to see more off from the collective women in business this year?

Real support. Working together, collaborating, referring each other paid work, actively promoting and supporting each other. I think women are their own worst enemy here. We don’t support each other to succeed the way men do. It all too often becomes competitive and bitchy.

How could another business owner collaborate with you in 2022 + what are your top 3 topics for discussions?

I’m very collaborative and enjoy working with and supporting others. My goals for the year are growth and scale. I plan to get my online Masterclasses up and running successfully, to increase my number of clients and to build strategic partnerships with others / organisations for mutually productive sales or working. I’m happy to explore any collaboration or opportunity to do any of these.

My top 3 topics for discussion are:

  • Health and Wellbeing

  • Mental Health

  • Women’s Health and Mental Health

Though generally interested in anything to do with making the world a better place for people, but especially women!

Where can readers go to find out more about you and your services?

My website www.amymckeown.com or I’m very active and up to date on LinkedIn

Who inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by Oprah Winfrey. Against all odds (as a black woman) she has built a billion dollar empire on her own terms and in her own way. What inspires me about Oprah is that she relentlessly uses the platform she has built herself to raise the profile of and elevate others. She does this by giving them equal status to herself in interviews or when sharing a stage. This is leadership at its most powerful; to give others equal power and status. Outdated models of leadership favour hierarchy and dominance.

And finally, what's your favourite quote?

I’ve always loved the Dalai Lama’s

‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.’

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