Describe a typical day for you?
My mornings start early – usually around 6:00 am. I make my morning routine all about feeling and looking my best so I can be ready for anything that might happen that day. As a CEO of a startup, I have to be ready for anything. I tend to my skincare and beauty routine so I feel awake and ready to take on the day, and I always make sure to eat a light but protein-rich breakfast for long-lasting energy, there’s a lot of whey protein benefits that will make you feel and look awesome. From there it’s heading into the office, catching up with my team, sifting through emails, taking investor calls, attending a workshop, more emails, a strategy meeting, another dozen emails, and that’s usually all before lunch. Throughout the day I’m constantly sipping on tea or water, and I’m a big proponent of the idea that what you put into your body is what you get out of your body. So if you put junk into your body, you’ll output junk later on. The rest of my day is dedicated to more meetings, networking events, and focusing on all things Baby2Body. When I’m able to call it a day in the office, I hop on the tube and head straight to my local gym.
I try to get at least 45 minutes of an intensive workout in 3-4 times a week. This allows me to step out of my CEO role – if only for a moment – and take time for myself, something I don’t get to do often. From there it’s straight home to spend time with my kids. I’m a single mom with two nearly adult children, and we all have busy schedules. So taking quality time to be together is so important to us. My final activities of the day include a few more emails and then before bed I use mindfulness meditation to help me process what’s gone on that day. This helps me fall asleep more easily because it stops my mind from racing, and allows me to prepare for whatever tomorrow may bring.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date?
My entire experience with Baby2Body has been an incredible achievement. I started Baby2Body as a service-based business after my son was born in 1994. I was looking for a way to stay fit and healthy during and after pregnancy, and such resources didn’t exist, so I created my own. I started by teaching pre and postnatal fitness classes throughout London, and within a few months my client base grew massively and I had a team of trainers giving Baby2Body classes throughout the City. Even when life threw me some of the hardest times I’ve ever had, I was able to push on with my business because I knew there was something powerful in what I was doing.
As Baby2Body grew I launched a successful fitness DVD, co-authored a best-selling book on pregnancy, and wrote for several lifestyle publications. I soon recognized that there was a global market need for Baby2Body, and in order to make that happen I would have to scale and leverage the power of technology. So I went back to school to get my masters in Sport Psychology, took a position as a Senior Director at Philips in consumer healthcare innovation, and by 2014 I was equipped with new skill sets and ready to take my company to the next level. Now, less than 2 years after launching Baby2Body as a personalized guide to pregnancy, we already have half of a million women from over 30 different countries signed up to the platform.
What are your ambitions in life?
I want to promote health and wellness aspirations for people all over the world. This includes pregnant women, mothers, children, fathers – everyone. I want to give people the resources and the know-how to achieve an enjoyable balance in their lives. Health is the new wealth and it should be accessible to all people, by helping them know why it’s important, and how to make simple changes towards looking and feeling their best. There are so many things that go on around us that we can’t control, but working on having a healthy body and mind is something we can.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
By that time I hope to see Baby2Body as the go-to resource for helping women maintain their health, fitness and confidence – a global brand that represents the way women live during pregnancy and early motherhood. Once we’ve achieved that I’ll be satisfied that I created what I set out to – and from there I’ll probably be on to my next venture. Of course I’d like to think that once we get Baby2Body to that milestone, I’ll jet off to relax on a beach somewhere and exercise in the sun everyday – but I think that will be short-lived. Once you get a taste for creating something that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives – nothing else will satisfy that craving to do it again. Not even long stretches of sandy beaches.
What’s the most effective strategy for installing confidence in yourself?
I use mindfulness on a daily basis to bring myself into the present moment. It’s so helpful in letting go of things that happened throughout the day that still weigh on my mind. It’s also a great way to stop your thoughts from spiralling into everything you still need to do, such as unfinished jobs or major deadlines, because that just adds to stress. Mindfulness helps me focus on my strengths and allows me to recognize my current achievements – and that adds so much to my confidence and happiness.
What advice would you give to anyone launching a similar business?
Love what it is you do. Launching a business is hard – indescribably hard. It’s brought me to my highest highs and lowest lows, but at the end of the day I love what it is that I do. I’m deeply passionate about health, wellness, psychology and technology, and how we can leverage those things to make positive impacts in the world. Because I love what’s at the core of my business, it makes the hard times worth it and the good times taste even sweeter. When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and it will be what drives you to keep pushing through the tough times and find success.
What’s in your handbag that you can’t survive without?
My laptop and my sunglasses. My work comes with me almost everywhere I go, so having my laptop on hand is almost a necessity. Thankfully it’s incredibly lightweight! Also, even though I live in London and the sun doesn’t come out often enough to need sunglasses on a daily basis, I always carry them with me. I think it helps me feel like I’m back home in South Africa, where the sun always shines.
Finally, happiness is…