The paragraphs to follow is my perspective on Petula's journey with me - a woman who, in my opinion - changed her destiny with nothing but pure determination and willpower and who inspired me to write, implement and teach the #fempreneur course proudly powered by Explore ProTech Entrepreneural Haven.
"Success for me has never been about a qualification, a title or the prestige attached to a professional designation. For me true success is the development of an amount of inner strenght and mental fortitude that causes the bearer to be able to never give up reaching their dreams, whatever those may be. It's about true connection with and empowering of other people and about a refusal to stop attempting to leave the world a little better than we found it.
Once I had grown my first company, The Audit Pro, into an entity which I could not service by myself anymore, I had to do something that I had, up to that point in life, never had to do before. I had to find help - and fast. I posted an ad for an assistant accountant online. I was clear in the description that I was looking for someone with ambition, drive and the potential to develop into more than an employee. This person would become a key part of all my future entrepreneurial endeavours. I was also clear about my belief that I could teach you whatever you need to learn in order to be successful in this position, but I couldn't teach, what I termed "heart".
I received many CV's. Some were from qualified accountants, some were from experienced accountants and some were from people that had neither experience nor qualifications in the accounting and auditing sector. Petula's CV fell into the last category, which is why when I received it initially I put it aside. I did, however, keep my word in terms of not excluding individuals purely based on a lack of experience and qualification, and sent out my aptitude tests and tasks to all the candidates who sent in CV's. Very few candidates successfully completed these tests and tasks. Petula was one of them. Very few candidates emailed me directly about the position and none of the emails I received shone like the ones Petula sent. It wasn't about the words that she used, but about they way every word she used communicated her fiery ambition and desire to establish a career for herself in my industry, even though she had no experience in it. It piqued my interest and I invited her for an interview, even though a small voice inside of me did tell me that I would probably be dissapointed.
I met her at Newscafe in Tableview, where I conducted all my interviews at that stage. And she blew me away. Everything from the way she spoke to the words she spoke to the way she was dressed, was perfect. I asked her how on earth she was planning on making it all the way to Tableview everyday as she lived very far away. She replied confidently that "the bus will take me whereever I need to go." I told her the job would be extremely demanding. At that point a 'normal' workday for me was about 18 hours, but I regularly did about 20 to 22. I told her that I would be demanding as I would expect her to be able to keep up with me. I even told her that I was extremely busy and she could expect me to be an extremely critical and strict employer. She said that she could handle it...and she still wanted nothing more than...a chance.
I ended up not being able to help myself. I gave her that chance. I will never forget the very next day when we started training in my small home office in Tableview. I started with teaching her how to type. I could see throughout those first few weeks that she was terrified, but she never stopped. In those days I couldn't afford to take time to have lunch, so she wouldn't either. When I worked late or started early, she would too. When I worked weekends, she would too. Whenever I went to networking events, field work or client meetings I took her with me. She was learning and she was learning fast - and getting noticed.
About three months later, one of my biggest clients at the time approached her with an offer neither of us could refuse. I knew for a fact I couldn't pay her what they were offering and I wanted the best for her. At this point I had become addicted to seeing her grow - as a woman and as a woman in business. She did not want to 'leave' me, but I told her that I wanted her to. She needed to take hold of this new opportunity with open arms and 'go for it'. The position was as assistant accountant in the client's finance department and would afford her the opportunity to further her studies in chartered accountancy. I told her she could come back any time and when she was qualified she would join the practice as a partner.
She is still working as an assitant accountant at that very same client. I never found another 'Petula' after that, until I wrote the "fempreneur' course. The women on the #fempreneur course go through a similar type of strenuous training experience which allows them to transform into their best selves. We are not adding anything, simply unleashing the value they already hold inside of themselves. And like Petula, they blossom into their best selves on this journey.
I will forever be thankful to Petula for - convincing me to walk a part of her journey with her, for not taking no for an answer, for never giving up, and for showing me that it truely is possible for extraordinary human beings to build themselves up from scratch - with nothing but pure determination. When life gets rough, I think of her and all she has accomplished. Sometimes I walk the walk that she had to walk everyday from the bus stop to my house and I remember that nothing is ever impossible. So this is a thank you letter. Thank you Petula, for inspiring me to write the #fempreneur course so that I, together with the coaches and experts that work with me, may continue the amazing journey that started with you - saving the global economy, one #fempreneur at a time."
Yours in business,