Abra is co-founder of Pastille Beauty Bar, a business she launched in 2013.
David is the Technical Director at Click Enterprise, an IT support and infrastructure management company.
Marion is celebrating her 5th year running a business set up to support PAs across the North of England.
Entrepreneurial Mum described as “Powerhouse and heart on legs”
For ten years, Abigail worked as a Department Manager for a global energy company. After a decade in the corporate world, Abbie said “I just felt trapped in my reality. I had a baby and the hours no longer worked for me as a mother, but the company I worked for basically told me that I had to choose my career or time with my son. I made it my mission to not only leave my job but help any other woman facing similar dilemmas.” She left the corporate world with a clear vision and set out to pursue her dream of online coaching, networking and marketing, while also wanting to prove a point!
Abigail wanted to prove to her old employer, that you can be a mum and have it all. She decided to invest in her own energy company, www.theenergydeal.com. After making a success of that company, she set up Female Success Network and Authors and Co., to help other women achieve their ambitions.
Female Success Network offers monthly learning bundles for women looking to start and grow a self-employed business. It also offers 1:1 strategy sessions and coaching programmes.
Authors and Co takes this one step further and helps women become “best-selling authors” in their chosen industries. In the last year, Abigail herself became a number 1 bestselling author with her own success story.
Of course, there has been challenges along the way and, for Abigail, these have tested her to the extreme. She has battled with depression, online bullying and a subsequent breakdown as well as other debilitating health issues. Every time she has fought back and, most importantly, been open about everything she has been through. Now, not only does she inspire others who may be struggling, she is more determined than ever to use her experiences to help others.
Abigail has a 6 year old son, Ted and it is him that keeps her going through the tough times. She says, “Giving up would only teach that following your dreams isn’t worth it, so I will never give up. I will always show him that we are limitless and can achieve anything we want to in life.”
In true entrepreneurial spirit, when asked who inspires her, Abigail said, “I inspire myself. I am committed to self-development and lifelong learning, to always keep pushing forward. I don’t need any one else to inspire, my own story blows my mind.”
As for her hopes and goals for the future, Abigail has set the bar high and said, “To help a million women achieve their version of success through my teachings.”
Abigail entered Entrepreneur of the year but also received several other nominations from her husband, colleagues, associates, and women that she has mentored and coached to achieve their own success. We asked each of them why they thought she should win this award and here are a few snippets of their responses… “Abigail has achieved more in her 31 years than some people have ever achieved. Ultimately, she has helped so many people and their businesses and just wants to help others to succeed. Now that is a SuperAchiever”.
“Abi has built a legacy from the ground up... she oozes what the entrepreneur stands for - integrity, honesty, alignment, respect and drive. Her work ethic is incredible, her clients are always her priority and she is a woman of her word. The trust she builds is phenomenal, I’ve never come across such a beautiful heart on such a mission to enrich so many other women’s lives.”
“Because she is selfless, she has created businesses from nothing and she puts so much time into helping others be successful.”
Abigail clearly has a monumental impact on those she meets and is quite rightly proud of her achievements so far. She has turned a £23,000 a year job into a £230,000 per year passion – incredible. Her entrepreneurial journey began when she was pushed to choose between her career and her family - no contest there. Since that pivotal moment, her achievements so far showcase someone who is a true SuperAchiever.
Craig Harris: “When reading Abigail’s story I was inspired by the amazing work she does and all she has overcome, what a power house?! Abigail is definitely a deserving winner!”
Claire Young: “I was blown away by Abigail’s entrepreneurial drive and impressed by the 3 ventures she has established. As a woman she is proactively inspiring, and helping, other women to succeed. She faces challenges head on and I like her ‘can-do’ attitude. She has really shown that anything is possible!”
Han-Son Lee: “Being a true entrepreneur is to overcome hurdles and barriers that would break a normal human, while still building something special. Abigail is, in short, an inspiration, and you just know there’s more to come.”
Beauty Entrepreneur Nailing Success
Abra (shown on the right) is co-founder of Pastille Beauty Bar, a business she launched in 2013 with a long-time friend, and now sister-in-law, Erene. They recognised that there was a real need for an upmarket, yet personal, beauty experience in Leeds city centre.
Before she launched the business, Abra was on route to a career in law as she is a law graduate. However, she decided that a career in business would better suit her. She did consider doing a masters but realised it would be far better to simply launch a business rather than study the subject.
Now, five years since its launch, Abra and Pastille has won several awards and accolades including regional ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Forward Ladies 2015 Women in Business Awards. What makes Abra’s story all the more impressive is that neither she, nor Erene, are qualified beauty therapists.
Early 2018 saw the launch of sister salon, Lashed Leeds. There had been an increasing market demand for specialised lash treatments, and after trying to include this within Pastille’s treatment list, they quickly realised that to create a sustainable business they needed to launch a sister salon to bridge the gap in the lash market, in the same way they had with Pastille for nails.
Within its first week of trading, Lashed Leeds Instagram account had amassed an incredible 1,500 followers and was fully booked on several days – showing that Abra’s intuition and attention to detail with what their customers want is spot on.
Not only has she created two thriving business, Abra is keen to support other women in their business careers. To do this, Pastille Beauty Bar has an in-house project that provides support and opportunities for local business women, independent businesses and organisations.
In her nomination, Erene said, “Abra lives and breathes what she does to the extent that it seems effortless - although as her business partner, I know this is not the case. She stands out from the crowd in the way she carries herself confidently for such a young woman. She is inspirational not only for her achievements, but also in readily encouraging others to walk their own paths.”
When asked why she thought Abra should win this award, Erene said, “Although we have shared success in Pastille, Abra has stepped into the role as an entrepreneur in business and beauty in her own way. It is extremely rare for a young woman to be self-made in the way she has achieved, and I feel it is time to have her success celebrated and recognised. She has set up her own agenda for life and work, which is an enviable and inspirational position. Abra is also using one profitable business as a launchpad for another, and the success of this is already obvious. I think she will continue to do amazing things.”
Abra was 21 when Pastille launched and 26 when Lashed Leeds opened. She is clearly a very motivated young entrepreneur determined to achieve success; a genuine SuperAchiever.
IT entrepreneur following lifelong passion
David is the Technical Director at Click Enterprise, an IT support and infrastructure management company.
When asked why he decided to work in the IT industry, David described that when he was a child, he used to open up VCR’s and toys to understand how they worked, and instead of putting them back together, he loved creating something new with the components. He developed an early passion for computers, and by the age of 13 he was building corporate networks, client/server environments and a BBS.
It’s clear that David was destined for a career in IT. It’s an industry he finds interesting and challenging. He didn’t set out as an Entrepreneur initially; he always had a job within other businesses. However, he has always lived by this great saying, “A fish in a small tank will only grow a bit; the same fish in a bigger tank grows more.” So, with that in mind David worked for big companies, starting his career with an internship at Oracle and moving on to big Microsoft partners as a Consultant. In recent years he decided to work for an ‘end customer’ and joined Metro Bank as a Technology Specialist and was quickly appointed Head of IT. A few months later, he knew he was ready to leave the big tanks and swim in the open water. Click Enterprise launched eight months ago and they now employ 5 people, plus 2 other external sales resources. David said, “Being an entrepreneur with solid technical and corporate leadership skills was the right move. My company is still a sprout, but the soil is very fertile due to the experience I’ve accumulated over the years.”
Of course, with any business there are challenges. One of the main tasks for his business is making sure that knowledge and skills are kept up to date across the team, and that’s something he takes seriously. He invests time every week to develop different skills within the team. He has also invested a lot of time giving back to the technical communities. This work was mostly done after hours and resulted in 7 “Microsoft Most Valuable Professional” awards. David also received a Microsoft Community Contributor award, specifically for mentoring young IT Professionals.
David is inspired by big name, innovative businessmen Bill Gates and Elon Musk. We asked him what keeps him motivated and he said, “There’s no secret here, my motto was ‘Do things with passion, or not at all’. Find what you enjoy doing and go for it.”
As for the future, David wants to expand his business further, but in the right way. He wants to take the time to partner with the right customers, take care of his team and help them grow as people and professionals.
We’re sure with the energy, enthusiasm and commitment he conveys, he will be extremely successful. David displays some admirable SuperAchievers qualities, particularly his attitude to helping others to grow professionally and mentoring others.
Yorkshire businesswoman finds success across the globe
Marion has been nominated for this award by friend and colleague Matthew Want.
Marion has just celebrated her 5th year of self-employment, running The PA Hub; a business set up to support PAs across the North of England.
Marion had her children at a young age and was a working mum for many years. Her last role before becoming self-employed was working as PA, supporting the CEO of Yorkshire Universities and secretariat to the Yorkshire Universities Board of Directors, a role she held for 9 years.
Such was Marion’s dedication to the PA profession, she was recognised for her achievements on a couple of occasions winning Yorkshire PA of the Year in 2011, and she was also crowned SuperAchiever’s PA of the Year back in 2013. It was this that gave her the inspiration to share the motivational spur of awards and networking, specifically in the Yorkshire region.
The PA Hub launched initially in Leeds and has now expanded across the York and Liverpool regions. Marion has spent a vast amount of time supporting UK Assistants by attending national conferences, networks and events which challenged the role of the profession and assisted in taking the training element outside of London in an attempt to make the networking and learning experience accessible to all.
Marion has taken hold of all opportunities within her reach - including covering for a speaker in Moscow, Russia, when there was an urgent replacement required. This was one of her very first speaking engagements, and she received a standing ovation! She has since gone on to speak at events for Administrative Professionals across the world, including Sydney!
Marion now also works alongside the Executive Secretary team helping them to manage events on site and working as a ‘virtual arm’ of the business.
Matthew describes Marion as a connector saying, “She is a go to person; for work, business, and support in most areas. Her personality shines through her business, which no doubt makes all of the members feel like they are not just part of a network, but they are part of a family.” He continued, “She has a robust sense of business acumen, and with her experience in managing several directors, can share first hand advice and knowledge with Assistants.”
Personally, Marion married the love of her life, Jon, in later life. Jon has always wholeheartedly supported Marion in her business development, and he now works alongside Marion in the business. He himself is well-known in the PA industry due to his cheeky nature and photography skills, but most importantly, his charming networking skills!
We asked Matthew why he thinks Marion is so successful at what she does, he said “Marion is adept at multi-tasking. From being a mother, to managing several directors, to running a business with global speaking engagements - she can juggle life, work and play, and always with a smile. Her positive attitude radiates, not just in networking meetings and events, but in day-to-day life. When faced with a struggle, Marion is best known for pulling out a pen and paper and saying "right, how can we fix this?” He continued, “Supporting the PA profession is key to Marion, it is a role she takes very seriously, which motivates and inspires the day-to-day running of her business.”
Again, we asked Matthew why he thought Marion deserved to win this award and he said, “Marion stepped into the unknown. Having had a well-established, long-term career as an Assistant at Leeds Universities, she took the plunge and launched a PA network to support the development and growth of her peers - with no financial backing, but a serious business plan.
“Marion has just celebrated the 5th Birthday of the PA Hub, and has grown the business to include annual conferences, development days, social events, awards, and industry specific showcases - including venue and travel shows.
“Her tenacity and drive is inspirational, and based on her background as an Assistant, shows the potentials that can be achieved - however you choose to drive your career. Marion supports Assistants not just in Yorkshire, but across the world. She is a well known name in the industry.”
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Abbie Coleman is an entrepreneurial working mum of a 2 year old - a highly qualified recruitment consultant with 15 years’ experience in the industry, and over 7 years running her own recruitment firm, Harrington Norman, before she set up MMB Magazine in late 2015 - a website for working parents with all the information they need to advance their own businesses, careers or get that work life balance.
MMB has experienced rapid growth, with the business working on year 2 plans in the first few months, thanks to the demand for the community Abbie and the team has created. With Open Letters from Working Mums attracting over 45K views and employment law articles reaching 30K views, women within the working mum community are queuing up to be a part of MMB. They are also working closely with businesses across Yorkshire to change the flexible working landscape.
Catherine Asta Labbett is a Psychotherapist transforming women to achieve their 'Disco Ball Sparkle' through working with to help overcome challenges and blocks that prevent them from living their best life. She established this business after working for 10 years as a strategist in the NHS, after realising that she needed to follow her own dreams and become self-employed, in a role where she could also have an impact of improving the lives of others.
Catherine is also Founder of Girl Tribe Gang, a national community for women who have aspirations to be a #girlboss or who might be in the transition stage of ditching the 9-5 along with those who are already running their own business. With Girl Tribe Gang Catherine wanted to create a space where women can build each other up, where women feel connected, where they can feel they can collaborate, where they can be encouraged and empowered, where they can grow in confidence and their knowledge – a space where like-minded women can feel part of something special. Girl Tribe Gang is growing quickly across the UK as new 'tribes' launch nationwide each month and honorary members include Blogger Honest Mum and radio personality Stephanie Hirst.
Catherine has been featured on BBC & CNN discussing the rise of the female entrepreneur and is passionate about supporting women through coaching, support, knowledge-sharing and collaboration.
Find out more about Catherine's business via:
Craig Harris is an award winning assistant, currently working in the third sector. Prior to his career as an assistant Craig had worked as an administrator and customer service manager.
His experience comes from working in various sectors including finance, utilities, retail and commercial. Craig has described himself as a ‘PA for life’ and does all he can to empower other assistants, encouraging other assistants to support and build each other up. Craig uses his experiences to speak at events and help train other admin professionals.
He also regularly writes articles and blogs about the profession. He recently won the Pitman Super Achievers PA of the year 2017 and was a finalist at the both the London PA Awards and SecsInTheCity awards.Twitter: @Harris3thatsme
Founder of DaddiLife – a parenting website for dads which focuses on a range of areas to help, celebrate and inspire the modern day father.
I’m so delighted at being asked to judge the awards this year. Winning the award for Working Dad of the Year last year was great and gave us platform on which the site could grow. I’m very much looking forward to being on the other side of the table this year.Visit Daddilife.com Twitter: @LifeDaddi
Entrepreneur. Media Speaker. Enterprise Champion. Mother.
Claire Young was made famous by her role as the highly driven runner up of series four of ‘The Apprentice’ where was dubbed a ‘Rottweiler’ by Lord Sugar for her tenacious approach in the boardroom and drive not to quit. She beat 40,000 candidates to reach the final and this experience inspired Claire to set up ‘School Speakers an award winning business. It is the UK’s No 1 speaking agency working alongside schools, colleges and universities across the world to provide talks to students and staff. She also works within the media as a journalist & radio presenter in addition to advising the government on a range of projects supporting young people and women.
Claire started out her business career in roles at Colgate Palmolive (sales and finance), L’Oréal UK (brand and marketing) and AS Watson (retail buying for Superdrug). She shares her experiences, and insights, from, climbing the corporate ladder to then starting her own business.
She studied Equine Science at the University of Bristol and remains a keen rider with her Irish Sports horse. She has won several business awards and combines her busy career with being a mum to her young daughter Eva.