Leadership3Sixty

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Pamela Permalloo-Bass

Meet Pamela Permallo-Bass Head of Equality & Diversity at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

In Conversation With…

Marsha Powell

Meet Marsha Powell founder of BelEve UK! She is a woman on a mission to enable young women to achieve their dreams. Her passion, focus and committment are contagious! Be Inspired!

Marsha what propelled you to leave the security of a Career in HR to launch your own business 'BelEve'?

The death of my Mum was a turning point for me and very much propelled me into the decision to give up my career and start BelEve UK. My Mum died at 52 within 8 weeks of being diagnosed with cancer. The eight week journey taught me so much, my Mum taught me so much in the short space of time. The one lesson that was the catalyst was”Live your life and enjoy what you do as you never know what's around the corner” and it's better to say "I tried rather than I wish". 

BelEve is about enabling and developing young women: what is your mission?

BelEve UK is a legacy organisation in memory of my Mother. The name stands for Beautiful First Lady. Our Mission is to inspire, empower and educate girls and your women in becoming their personal best, so that they can improve their life and career chances. Our aim is to equip females with the right skills, guidance and support to enable them to turn their dreams into reality.

Since starting your business, what would you say has been your biggest learning experience?

My biggest learning experience is that doors will open if you believe in the product or service that you are bringing to the market. It's important to do your research and needs analysis when starting a business, but that is not enough. It's your belief and passion that enables you to influence your stakeholders and push barriers. 

What characteristics do you have that you'd say are key to your success?

I have been told that I am tenacious. I am very determined and always start with the end in mind, so I visualise everything. These qualities have been significant in the creation of the BelEve UK brand and the products and service delivery. My values are Family, integrity and professionalism which have supported our success thus far. 

What did you dream of becoming when you were little?

When I was little my dream was to become a boss! My Mum was a catering supervisor and a fantastic one. All her employees loved her and so did her customers, so with what I saw and experienced that was my dream job. 

Do you think that your parents have influenced the leader that you have become?

My Mother was amazing, she surely taught me how to lead myself with confidence and determination. My Mother was the 5th child of 9, with 6 brothers and believe it, she was the leader! With such a great role model all I have done is mimic some of her great behaviours; have a positive attitude,  spend time on important things, always think like a winner and give to others. 

Are there any individuals who have inspired you whether you know them personally or just by reputation?

My Grandmother was a great inspiration to me, she was my best friend... My Grandmother was a nurse, her ambition was to serve and be kind. Daphne taught me that success comes in all shapes and sizes but you must first have a vision of what success means and looks like to you. It's important not to look into your neighbour’s garden being upset about their fruits: as your fruits will grow through you nurturing your seeds with patience, focus and determination. I have used this teaching in everything I do. 

What do you think about diversity quotas for corporate boards as a way of achieving better representation of women and minorities?

It is great that metrics and quotas are being put in place to effect change with regards to equality and diversity on corporate boards. We live in an evolving world and thus challenging the status quo is significant in bringing positive change to the business world. Women’s voices need to be heard and we need the opportunities to be a part of the decision making processes to ensure better decisions, which consider the diversity of the population. To bring about social and economic change the change has to come from the top. 

Based on where you are now in your life, what would you consider to be you greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement to date is turning an adverse situation into a positive platform that gives females an opportunity to follow their dreams. The last three years have been the best years of my life, turning my vision into reality. 

What is your vision for your business for the next 3 years?

The vision for BelEve UK for the next three years, is continue to serve girls and young women, however our aim is to take the model overseas through a partnership.  We believe that every girl need the right support in becoming a Beautiful First Lady and we intend to influence that support so much as we can. 

Marsha if you were giving a 'TED talk' to a global audience of young women, what five key thoughts/mantras/concepts would you want them to take on their life journey?

Dream Big, Be Yourself and Never a Give Up! In order to live a fulfilled life we have to keep on dreaming, but dreams are just dreams without goals and wisdom. We all have to continuously be the best ‘Me’ but that is through being open to learn daily personally and through others. If you are passionate about something, find a mentor who can support you in turning your passion into something tangible. We have one life so we owe it to ourselves to live authentically in our greatness. 

Thank you Marsha.