Next up in our #womeninbizrock series is someone you may already know a little about. Claire Young was dubbed a 'Rottweiler' by Lord Sugar for her tenacious approach and mind-set of never giving up! We put some of our own questions to Claire to understand what gives an entrepreneur their resilient edge and how she was inspired to set up ‘School Speakers’ working with schools, colleges and universities.
Do you think there are certain qualities are that are unique to entrepreneurs?
Yes! I feel that they have a completely different outlook, and perspective, on life versus non-entrepreneurs. Self-belief in abundance, they always look at the big picture (then deal with the small detail), incredibly resilient to challenges and they are not afraid to take a risk. I usually find that they have a great energy and can-do attitude.
What’s your strategy when overcoming challenges?
I have learnt that there is always a solution to a problem, it may cost you time or money (or both) but everything is workable. I tend to make myself a strong cup of Yorkshire Tea, draw up a plan- of-action list and then ask others for advice on how they would approach a problem – it costs nothing and they often have an answer which you didn’t think of.
Thinking of your initiative ‘School Speakers’, did you have an inspirational figure when you were in your teens? How has this shaped what you are doing now?
Growing up I was surrounded by very positive female role models and they definitely shaped me to be the person who I am today. I am very much a product of my home and school environment. I watched Oprah Winfrey on TV after school, I saw Margaret Thatcher become the first female Prime Minster, my headmistress Pat Langham encouraged us every day through inspirational assembles, & everyday leadership, to strive for the best, be confident and that there were no barriers to success and my Mum. She always worked, studied and looked after us. I can always remember her saying that her purse had the pennies that she had worked for and I aspired for this.
Who inspires you now?
The Queen, JK Rowling, Katie Piper, Jacqueline and Vanessa Gold. With my work I also meet so many teachers who I take my hat off to – they work incredibly hard in often challenging environments on their commitment to educate and inspire, young people.
How did appearing on The Apprentice change you?
It literally was life changing. From a personal perspective I learnt so much about myself (Alan Sugar screamed at me to stop talking so much & to listen – I think he had a point J ). The experience opened my eyes up to a different world, being thrown into the public eye I quickly learnt about Media and PR. Probably the biggest change was that when I entered The Apprentice I had always been an employee & worked for people. I left The Apprentice feeling capable of so much more and inspired wanting to start my own business. The Apprentice opened so many doors for me and if I had the opportunity I would do it all over again, I am forever thankful to it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Alan Sugar said to me ‘as you carry on working in business remember to think with your brain and not your ego’ – wise advice.
What makes you happy?
My 5 year old daughter Eva makes me laugh every day, Martha my French Bulldog, riding my horse Briar, jumping on a plane to Mallorca or spending time with my best friends. I’m an early riser, 5:30/6am, and my working days are hectic so I always appreciate peace & quiet after 9pm. A Neom bath, fresh bed linen and an early night makes me happy!