Halebury’s Female Founders blog series celebrating International Women’s Day: Karen Mattison MBE, TimeWise Joint CEO
In honour of International Women’s Day, Chairwoman and Founder of Halebury Janvi Patel interviews female entrepreneurs she has met and been inspired by in her journey as a successful female entrepreneur. In this piece, Janvi interviews Karen Mattison MBE, Joint CEO of TimeWise, an organisation that Halebury is extremely proud to have been involved with over the past three years.
When did you launch Timewise, what does the business do and how has the business grown? Has this been in line with expectations?
Ten years ago, along with my business partner, I set-up an initiative to help a growing number of women, who were dropping out of successful careers due to the lack of flexibility in the workplace. We began matching talented women who needed flexible or part time work with employers who had flexibility to offer.
Over the years, our overall offering has expanded to meet the market demands of flexibility in the workplace.
As such, in 2012, we launched the Timewise Group, which includes the UK’s first national jobs board specialising in roles that are both part time and open to flexibility, a full-service recruitment agency, as well as consultancy and training services.
Our candidates are men and women; our clients small businesses and large corporates.
We are now a £1.6 million business that proves that flexible work can also mean committed, ambitious and business-critical (www.timewise.co.uk).
What does your ‘standard’ working day consist of (if there is such a thing!)
The period from 6.30 to 7.30am, is a blend of getting myself up and out, and getting my older boys out to school.
My working days are always very varied. From meetings with my business partner and board directors, discussing change programmes with our corporate partners, public speaking at thought-leadership events, through to discussing the latest campaigns with my communications team.
I work a four-day week and do not do more than one work evening, every week.
What, or who, has been your biggest inspiration?
My business partner, Emma Stewart. We have known each other for 15 years and have been joint CEOs of our business for the last 10 years.
Our relationship has been like a kind of marriage – the right blend of support, compromise, honesty and, above all, energy and passion. Setting-up a business with someone who I completely trust, absolutely respect and who is very different from me, has been a great joy and privilege over the last ten years.
What role does technology play in your life? What couldn’t you be without?
As for most people, the iPhone is my saviour. A great tool to help me keep on top of my workload. Though a double-edge sword at the same time; I try and put it away for a couple of hours when I get home from work.
I also certainly could not be without my Ocado app!
And of course, catch-up TV. For me the perfect switch-off and a nice way to hang out with my teenage boys later in the evening.
If you could go back in time and tell your former self lessons you have since learned that could save time/angst/money in your entrepreneurial career, what would the first lesson be?
People divide into two categories for me – drains and radiators. People who take your energy and people who give you energy. Try and surround yourself with the radiators. And don’t set-up a business unless you have passion for it to succeed, and resilience when things don’t go as planned.
What was the biggest challenge when you started Timewise?
Convincing business leaders that embracing part time and flexible working can bring them talent at all levels of their business – not just for junior roles.