August 4, 2015
We Celebrate Her: Natalie Campbell, Entrepreneur & Non-Executive Director
This week we honour a phenomenal lady, Natalie Campbell, Social entrepreneur, author and non-executive director from north-west London. Natalie, 31, was recently awarded the prestigious 35 under 35 award by Management Today. Natalie is a Partner at A Very Good Company, a Social Innovation and Campaigns agency she co-founded in 2010. The company vision is to create a world where people can feel good, do good and live better. This is achieved through helping clients such as Virgin Media, Marks and Spencer and Channel 4 to do well by doing good. She is also Director of ‘Creates’, a business incubator for creative startups, Trustee of UnLtd, The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and Big Lottery UK Fund and formally a Board Member of Wayra UnLtd a tech for good accelerator programme run by O2 Telefonica.
Natalie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Clore Social Leadership Programme and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. For the latter, she undertook a research project to explore how social entrepreneurship builds better communities in Canada, the USA and Brazil.
Natalie’s first book, Seven Steps to Running a Successful Business, was published by HarperCollins in May 2014.
In May 2016 Natalie will be running for public office, specifically a seat on the London Assembly, the committee that holds the Mayor of London to account.
What kind of woman are you?
That’s a hard question, I know different people would say polar opposite things but the headlines would be a sassy, ambitious, low-stress one. Even though I know what I want to achieve I tend to take each day as it comes, if the plan changes as a result that is fine but I never compromise on moving forward.
What do you do for a living?
I do things that enable me to help other people feel good, do good and live better. This is primarily achieved through my social innovation agency A Very Good Company. I also sit on various boards, UnLtd and NCVYS and Big Lottery Fund UK to name a few. It’s hard to explain what I actually do because no day is ever the same but the intent is, that never changes.
How did you become a business woman?
Hard work, insane focus and a lot of seemly ‘directional mistake’s that help me move in the right direction. I had my first job before I was legally allowed to work and I had my first shift lined up in retail before my NI number came through. That spirit drove me to start my first business at 19 and by 21 I had Morgan De Toi retail franchise.
How do you get clarity when challenges and stormy periods arise?
I love the phrase, ‘you create the weather’. When things aren’t going well I stop and think ‘how can I create the weather or at least learn how to deal with the rain?’. I also think a) you’re alive b) you always have a choice and c) will this matter tomorrow, next week, month or year. That gives instant clarity over a situation because it changes my relationship to the challenge or issue. Basically if death isn’t the end result then I can deal with anything.
How did you gain the confidence to make your dreams a reality?
Practice. There is no other word for it. Do what you think is right, practice doing it again and again and then practice some more. One day it’s no longer practice. It just is.
Which person do you admire the most and why?
There is no one person, it’s lots of people at different times. Some people I admire for the way they carry themselves, with grace and confidence but I know nothing about their business acumen. Other people are known assholes but I admire their business conviction and the company they run. I take the examples I need, when I need them.
What Kind of teenager were you?
A shy but bolshie one. I am naturally introverted so my teenage years were spent hanging out with my loud, crazy friends being the shy one in the corner. I knew I wanted to be a CEO at 15 but I started interning at 13 so I guess I was quite business focused then too.
What has been the lowest point in your career?
A low point is always connected to loss. The loss of my first business because the franchise owner declared bankruptcy. The loss of my first business partner when she decided not to come back. The loss of my sense of self a couple years into running AVGC. But with every loss there is a gain. I gained a story to tell about business and retailing, I gained a new business partner and I gained a full appreciation for what I want to do with my life.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Sitting in my office with my team around me cooking up ideas for clients, the buzz, the laughter, the sense of pride. There is nothing like it. At the moment everyday is a highlight as I get to share in the successes of the businesses I mentor.
What is your biggest regret?
I have none. Everything happens for a reason so I shrug off issues quite easily. If anything comes close it would be that I didn’t enjoy being in the moment as much as I could have because I was already refocusing on the next thing.
Can you complete this sentence ‘What I know is that…..”life either happens to you or you happen to life and therefore you live on your own terms”
Fire round questions:
Favourite book: The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari
Favourite quote: Live, Love, Laugh or anything by Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart
Last time you laughed: This morning watching videos on Facebook, my last gut laugh was dancing around my friend’s flat with Aperol Spritz in hand to ASAP Rocky
To find out more about Natalie’s business, A Very good Company click here
Check out Natalie’s blog, How she moves here
Follow Natalie on Twitter @NatDCampbell