Caroline Plumb started recruitment firm FreshMinds when she was just 21 and now runs Fluidly, a fintech that uses AI to transform the way firms manage their money. Over the past 20 years, her businesses have been sued, defrauded, robbed (twice), flooded and been through three rounds of significant redundancies.
“There have been a lot of ‘worst moments’: those black days when your heart sinks and something terrible has gone wrong beyond your control,” says Plumb, who was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to business and charity. “I had to learn early on how to manage difficult situations – and the emotions that come with them.”
“Leadership isn’t easy,” says Venetia Archer, who gave up her career as a political risk analyst to start digital beauty concierge Ruuby in 2015 – and has had to put the business on hold during the lockdown. “Sometimes you’re not going to have all the right answers – particularly now, where we’re having to make decisions with only 20 per cent of the information. It can feel very isolating. You need a support network.”