I’m a thirty-something mum of 2 (4 and 2 year old). I’ve recently moved out of Edinburgh to Kinross-shire just before Lockdown. I started Dribble when I was on mat leave with my second child, as I had identified a need for a resource to help parents find things to do and places to go with their kids that was personalised to their own family’s needs. In a previous life I was a Management Consultant and worked on large-scale IT transformations, so working on technical projects was comfortable to me, albeit I had never worked on an app and therefore Dribble has been a huge learning curve. Challenging, yet lots of fun too.
I’m a coffee addict – so love to scout out Scotland’s best coffee and scones – with and without my kids.
DRIBBLE and things to do with your family: Eat & Drink, Play & Do, Classes and Services. We personalise suggestions to suit your family plus, it’s all rated and reviewed by other parents to give you tips you can rely on.
You can use our handy Near Me Now map, to find things on your doorstep of if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Or Plan Ahead, helps you plan for future outings further afield. So if you’re looking for a baby change and somewhere you can grab a latte now, or the best park on the way to Glasgow for next Saturday, we’ve got you covered!
How did you balance being a mother and professional?
Balance?! 🙂 It is definitely a balancing act! I don’t think I have it right yet but I am getting a lot better at it. I keep my Fridays sacred as my day with the kids and also try to carve out a decent chunk of weekend time as family time. I’m lucky that I could use childcare and family support on Monday to Thursday to let me really have that time for Dribble. Obviously this has all gone awry during Lockdown and I’ve really had to up the mum time and down the professional time, as I’m sure lots of parents have. In this current situation, I’m lucky to be in the position, where I don’t have a boss to answer to, other than myself.
What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?
I started off my career as a Management Consultant and I needed to work away a lot for projects, so in a way then I may have sacrificed a bit of personal time then, but luckily on most projects I was on I made some great friends – some of whom are still my close friends now. I also worked really long hours at times. But in those days I was young and child-free and my partner (now my husband) had a similarly demanding job so he really understood. That was in my 20s and I made up for anything mid week by enjoying myself well on the weekend!
I feel like I have been lucky in my career, but it has also been due to hard grafting and I did always aim to work hard and play hard at the same time.
I have tried to do this in having my own business too, but having kids and working (either for yourself or in a professional capacity) is a whole different ball game, as it’s not just you that you need to consider. In some ways I feel that I sacrificed some personal time on setting up Dribble, as I had to focus on the kids and the business as they were so little and it didn’t leave much time for anything else, so family and friendships lost out a bit. But I’m making up for lost time in Lockdown now! I guess I have also sacrificed a lot of pay! Going from a well paid job to a start up, I’ve had to give up a lot of luxuries and extras to help make this work financially for me and my family.
Who inspired you and why?
That’s a hard one, as I’ve been inspired by a range of people in my career from different walks of life and backgrounds for different reasons. Some who I have looked up to and wanted to aspire to be like and some who seemed to just be genuinely happy with what they are doing and why. It’s the ones who love their jobs and work-life balance that have inspired me the most. There are too many people to name. Work-life balance is something that I have come to recognise as really important. We only live once, so you need to enjoy what you’re doing both in and out of work. Sometimes work can seem to take over, so I really try to avoid this feeling now.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
I don’t feel like there are any real barriers nowadays for women starting out, compared to their male counterparts. Any imbalances seem to appear a bit later and I do feel they are lessening. Hopefully by the time the young women entering the workplace today reach these stages, they will have been eradicated. My advice would be to give it your all and enjoy it. There will be times where it is hard and you have to stick with it, this is to be expected as it’s not always rosy and you often have to work at things you’re not loving to get to where you want to be. But if the bad days outweigh the good and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, then move on. Don’t feel trapped in your industry or role, you can always sidestep or even move down to eventually move up. It’s all about enjoying what you do.
I’d also say don’t be frightened of taking on a challenge and trying new things. Put your hand up to try something new or ask if you can be involved. Getting things wrong can often be the greatest learning experiences. But equally, learn how to say no! I used to take on too much. I do thrive under pressure, but too much pressure isn’t good for anyone and sometimes you can be left spiraling and this can impact the quality of your work, so learn how to say no in a constructive way. Point out other things you have on, how long these take and any deadlines you have, then explain how taking on the other task(s) would be detrimental to the other outcomes.
Do you think women feel intimidated in business?
I can only go by personal experience and I have to say I’ve not been intimidated very often in business due to gender. I may have been lucky to land jobs where people work on merit and there has been quite a gender balance. On occasion I have felt a little intimidated, in particular on returning from maternity leave for the first time. Where I have, I just show up and try to prove my worth as an equal. Overall however, I have felt on an even par with my male peers generally.
Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?
We have just moved house pre-lockdown, so our Saturday routines have changed and we need to find a new one. But before we moved and hopefully again soon, Saturday morning is usually quite a busy affair, as the kids have early morning swimming lessons and then we usually head out for the day as a family. So at 10 am, we’re probably just finishing up at the pool with the 2nd kid and heading out for a family brunch before a family outing or activity. We love exploring and this is one of the reasons I started Dribble, as I wanted to find the most child friendly restaurants, cafes and places to go. We do love a brunch spot, followed by a lovely walk or museum visit or something active. We love exploring new places, so by 10am we could be heading anywhere across Central Scotland!
I created Dribble, as I wanted to help families create more memories together and to find the places that suited their individual family, based on their family’s likes and circumstances. We provide information on the facilities available at venues to help families make an informed choice.
What do you love about your job?
I really love that I’m getting the chance to create something I really believe in and that is helping other parents. I love that I can be creative. I love the feedback I get from people that have had a great day out or even just a good day out due to Dribble. For a lot of first time mums, in particular, just finding somewhere safe to go for a coffee and a walk makes the day good. One mum who had been really struggling to get out once sent me a personal message to say she was so grateful for Dribble as it had given her the best day she’d had on mat leave – that’s what I do it for.
What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Definitely taking a leap of faith in myself and starting Dribble. It was a huge step as I walked away from a well paid career into an unknown, but I have learned so much and I’m really proud of myself for doing it.
What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?
I don’t really regret any of my career decisions, as they’ve all led me in some way to where I am now.
How do you organise your time?
I’m lucky that I (generally) have childcare and family support to help me with the kids who are 4 & 2, so I like to pack in as much work as I can on those days (Monday to Thursday) so that I can have a mummy day on Friday and family time at the weekend. Sometimes when we’re busy working on a project or a release however, I do need to work late in evenings or at weekends but I try to minimise this. I do love a list and like to prioritise the list each morning. I try to encourage my team to do the same thing and always work on the priorities first.
What do you think is your greatest strength?
I used to think I was well organised, but since having kids I don’t think I am as much as I thought I was! I think it’s probably that I’m not afraid to take risks in work and my career. I’ve taken a few and while they maybe didn’t always work out amazingly at first, overall they have worked out well. They have been calculated and well thought out risks, but still risks.
What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Taking on more than I can chew. Sometimes I take on too much and try to do too much. I often burn the candle at both ends, as I don’t like to miss out on things. I think I’m getting better at the balancing act though and as mentioned above, I have learned to say no in my professional and personal life to maintain some balance.
How do you make decisions?
It depends a bit on what the decision is. I’m usually quite measured in decision making and like a pros and cons list. However, a lot of times I go with my gut and instinct. I think that matters a lot. In particular when it comes to people you work with, gut feeling is really important.
What do you read?
I don’t read as much as I would like to or as much as I used to. My recent reading list has been quite business heavy, based on recommendations from other people. I also like listening to podcasts or audible books too, as I can do it in the car or when cleaning etc! I do like fiction to relax, however, I seem to choose Netflix more!
What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?
I believe Dribble has been successful, as it is based on what parents need and want. We’ve spent a lot of time with parents, designing and getting feedback from them on what Dribble needs to be, based on what they need. We have iterated it based on feedback.
Dribble was born out of my own need as a parent. I had moved back to Edinburgh after being away for 9 years and therefore felt like I was re-entering a new city, especially as I had new needs as a new mum. Student bars and clubs were no longer where I wanted to hang out!
I loved to head out and explore the city with my newborn son. However, I would often end up in a part of town I didn’t know well and have questions like: Where can I go to grab a coffee? Can I get a buggy in there? Do they have a baby change? Sometimes in this new role you can feel uncomfortable and anxious and knowing there is a safe space that has what you need and where you will feel comfortable feeding a baby is what you need. As my son grew, so did my list of questions: where are there soft plays and parks near by? What classes should we go to?
Now we cover places to Play & Do, as well as Eat & Drink, and Classes and Services, suitable for kids up to age 13 across the Central Belt of Scotland.
I have been lucky to get a good advisory team behind me. I used the incubator scheme from my old consulting firm (Gate One) to help me with getting the idea off the ground and get feedback on the overall plan. Having additional people’s views to help challenge throughout has bee a great source of support. I have also used support facilities from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise too. I would recommend anyone to look at what support may be available to you, as these resources have been invaluable to me.
Look to build your network locally too through Facebook (or other) groups of people working in a similar industry to you.
I mention Gate One (https://gateone.co.uk/) and business Gateway https://www.bgateway.com/
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