Helen McGuire is the co-founder & CEO at Diversely.io, a company that provides a platform and approach which assists hiring teams to win diverse talent.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m Helen McGuire, CEO and Co-founder of the first global online platform to make D&I a priority through measurement, tracking and improvement of candidate diversity.
I started my career in broadcasting, making the tea for BBC Radio legends like John Peel, Trevor Nelson and Mary Anne Hobbs, and quickly progressed to become a producer, host and DJ in the world of music and radio for over 10years.
After moving into a global digital advertising role in Dubai for a further period, I decided to start my own business helping women return to work, which became a 20k strong global community called Hopscotch.
I ran that business for over four years, before it dovetailed into my current tech enterprise, Diversely – a platform that assists large businesses become more diverse through data, analytics and AI-driven technology.
Diversely has now raised over US$550k in pre-seed funding and works with Cisco, McCann, Wavemaker to name a few, growing rapidly to achieve our mission to improve workplace diversity the world over.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m usually woken up by my husband or kids at around 6, check my emails and messages and then up by 6.30am. Being a remote-only business, my teams and clients span the globe, so lots can happen while I sleep.
I then get my three children – Clementine (7), Arlo (5) and Iris (3) off to school by 7.15am before hitting the gym with my trainer. I’m really dedicated to keeping myself fit and healthy first – without that, it’s hard for me to keep up.
I work sometimes at home, sometimes in my co-working space or occasionally at my local coffee spot. My mornings are usually spent catching up or following up on the previous day’s sales emails and calls, planning long term on sales and comms for the business with my co-founder and our investors, evaluating or creating content, writing business pitches or learning a new skill needed for us to move forward.
I’ll have lunch on the go and then my calls start rolling in.
Whether they’re team catch ups, or sales calls in the UK, US, Australia or Europe, they usually run almost back to back for five or six hours. In between, I’ll pick up my kids from school and hopefully be able to wrap my day once they’re in bed by around 7.30pm. I finish my day catching up with my husband over dinner and taking a walk locally to wind down before a final check of emails and to bed.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, it’s about the ability to be present for my family and keep myself healthy and sane! I like to be able to take and pick up my kids from school at least 50% of the time, or get them to appointments, play dates or after school activities once a week or so so that I stay connected with them and their world.
As a business owner, I’ve always had a remote / flexible philosophy on work as it promotes diversity and inclusion in so many ways, so I’m glad I can live that value myself, too.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, many. Firstly, I take a learning first approach – if I see something not working, in my life or business, I think trying to learn ways to improve even by a small % make a huge difference. I also consciously move and switch off a lot more – walking, exercising, doing things I love like horse riding, meditation and swimming – to maintain a healthy mind and body. And finally – I can travel more, hurray!
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Absolutely, podcasts are a favourite. From a business perspective, I’d recommend Diary of A CEO, 30minutes to President’s Club and the Saas Podcast. Personally, I Iove Happy Place, Frank Skinner’s Poetry Podcast and High Performance Health Podcast. And I should also mention our own – The D&Igest – about D&I advocates, of course.
6) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Apple Health app is a daily check in, but I stay off my phone and social media as much as possible unless it’s email / calendar related and aside from LinkedIn for work, so I rarely use many apps.
7) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
The Dalai Lama. His life is his work, it seems, so how does he balance that?
8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
As the Dalai Lama himself might say, it is all about the middle way. You won’t get the balance daily, or sometimes weekly, but if you can always feel present when you need to then you are close to winning the battle!
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