Posted on December 02 2015
This week's Wednesday Woman is Claire Young ~ an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Claire also regularly appears on television, and reached the final of the fourth series of The Apprentice in 2008. Read how she started and what inspires her here:
Newnham: What were you like growing up and when did you get bitten by the entrepreneurial bug?
Young: Ironically after being called a chatter box and motormouth on The Apprentice, I didn’t actually speak until I was four years old. Once that started though, there was no stopping me! I was a 100mph and a whirlwind. My Mum said that if she had me first she would have never had any more children!
From a young age, my parents taught me the value of money. I had to do jobs for my pocket money and at the age of nine, I was taught how to iron. I suppose, in a way, this was my first business. I also sold sweets at school – and other things I shouldn’t have been – so I would say business was in my blood from a young age.
Newnham: You did very well on the Apprentice back in 2008 - what were some of the more important lessons you learned from being on the show?
Young: So many! One was to listen, especially after being thrown out of the boardroom by Lord Sugar for talking too much! I also learned to get ready quickly as you only have twenty minutes. And importantly, I learned to work with people even when you really dislike them; not to have any fear of people saying "No" to you, and of course to speak up for yourself and to not take things personally.
Newnham: Your businesses now are focused on the empowerment of young people which is very much in line with what we do. What is your mission and what drives you?
Young: After The Apprentice I was asked by several schools to go in and speak to the students. I thoroughly enjoyed it; the impact I had on students was very rewarding and I wanted to do more. I have since set up School Speakers and co-founded Girls Out Loud, and work with the government on several projects helping young people to start businesses.
I work really hard to provide a lifestyle for my daughter Eva and be a good role model to her. As a 3 year old, she is a sponge and listens and mirrors most things I do. I am driven by making positive changes and helping to shape the future for young people for the better.
Newnham: If you could go back in time to the beginning of your career, what advice, if any, would you give a younger Claire?
Young: To work abroad before you have children. It’s easier to travel when you only have yourself to think about!
Newnham: Finally, you and your roster of speakers inspire hundreds of students every year but who are your role models?
Young: I look up to several people for different reasons. Oprah Winfrey for her humility to connect to others; JK Rowling for her self-belief and tenacity not to quit until she got her first book deal; Malala Yousafzai for her passion for the cause she believes in, and my Mum for juggling it all very successfully when we were growing up.