Yvonne Brennan

What these seven inspiring women learned from their mums

A dash of mother's wisdom can go a long way.

Last Updated: 07 Mar 2016

Its Mother’s Day today and who better to learn from then the women who brought us onto this earth? Seven of the high achievers who will be gracing the stage at MT’s Inspiring Women Edinburgh conference this month share the biggest pearls of wisdom they picked up from their mums.

Poppy Mitchell-Rose, associate director, freuds, and former adviser to the chancellor of the exchequer 

'My mum has been a real inspiration to me. She has worked hard all her life, turning her hand to different many professions, all fitted around school runs, homework and holidays. She is a true entrepreneur, though would be too modest to think of herself as such.

'She’s been a decorator, a curtain maker, sold paint and wallpapers, set up a costume jewelry company, catered, developed property and spent many years running a bed and breakfast, which was voted the best in Scotland. I’m very proud of her. Her advice? "Say yes to everything."'

Jenny Campbell, CEO & owner, Yourcash Europe

'Having a working mother, who looked after three children as well as the house, was always going to teach me to have a strong work ethic. My mother had a day job and a night job, which saw us all through private education.

'And even though she began to struggle with arthritis in her mid-forties, she remained brave and mischievous to the end. Her advice was always to focus, to stay strong, to never back down, but also never forget to have a sense of fun.'

Susie Wolff, former test driver, Williams F1

'My mother and grandmothers were great role models who taught me to dream, work hard & never give up.'

Vicky Pryce, chief economic advisor, CEBR

'My mother told me how she had spent interminable hours learning to play the piano, but what she really wanted to do was to go to university after the war. But she was stopped by her family from doing so. So she decided that for her children education was key - no ‘waste of time’ piano lessons for us as a result.

'I benefited from that single mindedness in my academic and business career as she treated us al l- boy and girls alike in this respect. But I have always felt that we could have done both and it shaped the way I run my life. We should as women be able to do well in many things - as mothers and breadwinners at the same time for example-as long as we don’t expect perfection in everything we do or made to feel guilty if we don’t achieve it.'

Sarah Heward, owner, the Real Food Cafe

'My Mum has always been there for me despite our differences on occasions , she and my late Dad have always supported me through thick and thin and without them I would have undoubtedly gone out of business on more than one occasion. They have supported me emotionally and when the chips were down and Clydesdale Bank wanted to pull our overdraft they stepped in and helped me shore up the company financially.

'Probably one of the most powerful pieces of advice my Mum ever gave me was when she strongly advised me not to make any hasty decisions in the face of trauma. In this case, it was the sudden death of my husband and business partner, Steve Wolsey. I was keen to sell the café in a hurry as I couldn’t face carrying on without him in the immediate aftermath of his death. I am very glad that I listened to her and didn’t go for a distressed sale of the business at that awful time.'

Yvonne Brennan, director of marketing, Redefine BDL Hotels 

'"Dress for the job you want" has encouraged me to put on the (ironed) bright colours in the morning when heading up a team of be-jeaned developers and designers. I was also always encouraged to "pick up the phone," which I try to instil in my team in order to build relationships, get stuff sorted (quickly) and convey difficult messages which are lost in emails.'

Caroline Jones Carrick, director, TEV Project

'My mother is full of opinions and aphorisms. "In a crisis, put on your 'oxygen mask' before helping others. It seems selfish but it's the opposite." She said this often in the early years with my son Sam. "Family life is a lot like business: you can't do everything and you need breaks, so make sure it's a team effort." And one Christmas, "Trust me, this microscope is a lot more interesting than Malibu Barbie." She was right of course!'

Hear more nuggets of advice at MT's Inspiring Women conference in Edinburgh on 17 March.


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