Before venturing into the world of social enterprise and coaching, I worked as a C-Level Executive, and for the past 15 years I’ve earned six-figure salaries in countries spanning 4 continents. I’ve operated at this level across many industries, online retail, education, hospitality and telecoms and have led global teams covering biz tech, marketing, communications, education, policy, product development and program management.
I spent almost a decade of my working life at Amazon in Ireland, USA and South Africa. I was responsible for launching Seller Education globally and spent years heading up Global Quality in Fraud and Risk. During my time there, I was invited to become a qualified Bar-Raiser, a skilled evaluator playing a crucial role in the hiring process. It was my responsibility to run the debrief, guiding the interview team to make the final judgment on applicants. I’ve been involved in some really amazing interviews, from hiring the Head of New York Fashion week to finding the Head of Reality TV at Amazon Studios.
Along with my years at Amazon, I spent almost a decade at Marriott hotels in Sales and Marketing Director roles based in London, Cork & Dubai. I have some truly special memories from my time there and learned so much from two genuinely customer-centric organizations. In my earlier career, I was part of the only all-woman banqueting team at the Dorchester Hotel in London. I’ll always remember my very first job at 14, cleaning fish in the kitchens of a restaurant in Benoni, near Johannesburg. I was entrepreneurial from an early age and by the age of 17, I’d bought my yellow Yamaha scooter ‘Cleopatra’ with my earnings.
Giving back and paying it forward has always been important to me. That’s why, after years of working in senior corporate roles, I founded Amandla Ubuntu: a social enterprise on a mission to tackle gender-based violence and support female survivors in South Africa. But it doesn’t end there; gender inequality is still rife in so many other aspects of women’s lives, including the workplace.
In fact, women are often afraid to say how they truly feel, to fight for what they want and to speak up for what they believe in. The unfortunate truth is that men and women are still treated unequally in the workplace, gender pay gaps are still a reality and women are still underrepresented in senior roles.
Women, by nature are conditioned to care, to put the needs of others before themselves and to nurture and nourish. These are wonderful qualities that should be celebrated, and we need their presence at work just as much as at home.
But the challenge comes when these ‘feminine’ qualities prevent women from having a voice, for negotiating, for asking for more. It doesn’t matter whether that’s increased responsibility, recognition or financial reward; we should feel empowered to speak up and not be afraid to stand up for what we want, need or believe in.
When we’re assertive, a typically male trait that is usually celebrated, we’re often labelled pushy, bitchy or, even worse, hormonal. But that doesn’t mean we should remain passive. Assertiveness is a skill to be mastered.
With decades of experience in senior global leadership and now with the running of my own company, I’m in the perfect position to support other women, not just to reach the glass ceiling, but to smash it.
My Personal Journey
I spent many years as a single mom to my two boys. They were happy times, experiencing new cultures, countries and making lifelong friends. I met my husband Roger, when we were at school together, but we married much later in life - finally realising what was there all along. As a family, we moved to the UK from Cape Town three years ago and live in Northumberland with our dog Cooper and Ragdoll cat Rupert.
I have so many unbelievable stories from our years spent travelling around the world that I often think I could - and probably should - write a book. Whilst many of these memories are ones I look back on with joy, I’ve overcome difficult hurdles too: trauma, anxiety, depression and abusive relationships. The most harrowing of these involves my older brother, Steven.
We grew up in a home filled with love and laughter and we were always incredibly close. Even though he was older, I was always the protective sister and would do anything for him.
Steven suffered injuries from a horrific road accident when he was 2 years old which left him permanently disabled. He never let his disabilities stand in his way of making achievements the professionals thought he would never be capable of.
Almost 30 years ago, the unspeakable happened and Steven went missing. Sadly, he has never been found and there is an ongoing murder investigation into his disappearance. Whilst losing him will always be a part of me, so too will his determination, resilience and optimism. These are his legacies and I’m proud to carry them with me wherever I go.
Our lives are full of challenges; it’s what makes us human. But it’s also important to remember that trauma does not have to be a life sentence. I am living proof that positivity, patience and acceptance can set you free. Difficult experiences might shape who we are, but it’s how we channel them that determines our future.
I’m proud that I’ve emerged as a strong woman and a true feminist, ready to empower others to achieve what they thought wasn’t possible. I firmly believe in equality for women, sisterhood, and the power of positivity.
Why Work With Me?
You’ll find kindness and compassion in my heart, along with a fervent determination to empower women. I value openness and honesty and truly believe that we don’t need to change who we are to succeed.
I’ve walked into many boardrooms, not just as one of the few women present, but as the senior leader with dyed pink hair, tattoos and a glitter gold notebook. I’ve never let my love of a bright colour get in the way of my career ambitions, nor my penchant for novelty stationery.
I reached the top of the career ladder and I did it by being me - not a ball breaker, not a ‘badass’, not a taskmaster. A person with empathy, compassion and a desire to work collaboratively.
Traits that are inherently female do have a place at work, and they can be incredibly powerful.
These qualities have opened interesting doors for me. I’m a Non-Executive Director and Trustee of a Multi-Academy Trust. I sit on the advisory board for Missing People, a UK charity supporting missing people and their loved ones. I’m a Chair of Judges for Awards International and run a monthly ‘Women in Leadership’ group for fellow judges. I’m a member of both the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) and the Association for Coaching and abide by the Global Code of Ethics. As a coach, I am committed to ongoing CPD and actively participate in co-coaching sessions, coach supervision and reflective practice to ensure my own ongoing professional development. I work with charities to provide business and personal coaching, predominantly to disadvantaged women and refugees. I am a competent public speaker and occasional guest lecturer speaking to MBA students about my international career. As an inclusive coach with a strong belief in diversity, equity and inclusion, I hold monthly space for pro-bono coaching. Finally, I am a student from the University of Cambridge.
What Can You Expect to Achieve?
My coaching centres around personalisation. Our work together will be completely tailored to your next steps.
Do you want to learn how to impress at your next interview? Or bag your dream job? How about ways to succeed without losing your femininity?
Maybe you feel imposter syndrome is standing in your way, or you need more confidence when it comes to negotiation.
Whatever stage you’re at in your career, I can help you to reach the next.
No ball-busting required.
“Victoria is a wonderful coach who takes the time to get to know you and your motivations, before offering advice and guidance backed by years of hard work and success in her industry.
She has completely changed my career outlook with her coaching sessions. She's encouraged me to believe in my skills and abilities and highlighted clear paths to my professional goals. I now have a clear idea of what I need to do to achieve them and feel incredibly confident that they're within reach.
Thank you Victoria.”
‘I really enjoyed my sessions with Vic, and found them worthwhile. I find her holistic approach to be very useful, and I found it to be therapeutic in a way due to the approach she takes. It felt very nonjudgmental and honest, like I could say how I genuinely felt and there wasn’t a wrong answer just how I felt. Her approach is also very much based around looking forward, which ultimately helped in me making physical changes in order to achieve my goals. Thank you so much!’
Ready to take the next step in your career?
Take the first step in your coaching journey and fill out the form below to arrange a free consultation. No matter where you are in your career, I’d love to speak with you!