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IWD Breaking the Bias; Instinct, Transparency and Individuality

Rachel's Edit //

This year, for International Women's Day I wanted to reflect and share some of my experiences in business. I've challenged a lot in my lifetime; it's been the catalyst for me to be a leader, a successful woman in business and achieve my dreams in a different way.

A Taste of Wonderland was my pride and joy, my first ever business; baking award winning cakes of all shapes and sizes! I challenged my physical illnesses, I challenged my playground bullies, I challenged years of deep-rooted anxiety... and I came out on top.

After realising just how much I could overcome, I wanted to give back to those who had supported me through my journey and encourage others to vanquish their own demons and thrive.

I worked extensively with The Prince's Trust to support others to achieve their dreams. I went from a poorly young girl fighting for her right to a fair education to a confident inspirational speaker at events across South Wales with audiences of up to a hundred; at just twenty years old.

What I'm not telling you, is that I cried before my very first speaking event from fear.

What I'm not telling you, is that I was struggling to support myself at the time.

What I'm not telling you, is that I was suffering with debilitating back pain.

From my very early endeavours in business I learnt determination and tenacity. I learned that not all that glitters is gold and there is always another side of the story. It shaped me to become who I am today, to embrace my ambition and to fight for what I know I am capable of.

Ouma as you know it today, had a bumpy start, but I am forever grateful for the challenges I went through as a woman in her early twenties embarking on her second business venture.

It was in amongst a flurry of car journeys to Liverpool, stolen evenings together and a large dose of professional and personal development that Ouma was formed.

After a short period of time the travel and time apart became all too much to bear and so Ross and I decided to take a leap, we took our lives and our business into our own hands, and we flew. We had nothing but a note pad full of ideas, a freshly lit fire under our arses and our lives in Liverpool packed into the back of a car; we drove head-first into adversity with risk, graft and vulnerability riding shotgun.

Life taught me valuable lessons during those early years of Ouma's evolution.

I learned to trust my intuitive instinct (I'm still learning to trust it implicitly, aren't we all?).

I learned to act with total transparency, and to be confident in sharing my opinions and ideas with others.

I learned that sometimes, when life feels like it's back on track... it might not be the tracks that were meant for you. You have to carve your own path and make decisions on your own terms.

My early introduction to the business world taught me that you are more than your diagnosis; whenever someone tells me "you won't achieve that", it's like lighting the business end of a firework in my heart. Watch me light up the sky.

In those darkest moments of fear, I discovered that a triumph is a triumph no matter how big or small; from speaking to a waiter in a coffee shop to ask for some sugar for my tea after years of crippling shyness and anxiety, to standing on a stage accepting applause and awards for my achievements, at the time they all felt like arriving at the peak of Everest.

I hold on to these precious lessons like souvenirs of my life, and I carry them with me in everything I do; they're my oxygen mask when I can no longer see the surface of the water.

Finally, this I know to be true - it's the way we experience the world that makes us so truly unique, and in turn, makes our contribution to the lives of others and our businesses so incredibly individual.


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