Mindfully Wired’s Director Katrina Ryan explains what sets us apart as an organisation, and why we’re celebrating International Women’s Day with the announcement of an exciting opportunity.
I’m an accidental businesswoman. Mindfully Wired is an organisation I’m hugely proud of, but I didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur. I’ve worked for MWC now for nearly six years, and three years ago I became the company’s owner. At that point I was a one-woman band with an obsession for all things marine, a love of writing, creativity, chatting, strong coffee and getting things done.
Now, in 2019, we are a fantastic staff of five (plus some contractors that we work with day in and out, who feel like part of the #KeenMarine family), and that’s pretty cracking.
Why? Partly because it means we have the capacity to work on a huge range of initiatives simultaneously and don’t have to say ‘no’ to purposeful, exciting projects when they cross our paths. Partly because working in a team is brilliant: I love playing with project plans so that we are all learning a vast amount from each other while sinking our teeth into our own piece of the jigsaw.
But mostly because MWC is showing that a business working on an ethos-driven, non-profit model, and powered by blummin’ hard work and lots of creative energy, can both grow and make jobs for people that they enjoy and find meaningful.
All of us working for MWC benefit each time we’re able to announce the arrival of a new role within the team – which is why I am really excited to reveal our new idea.
For me, running a business was always going to need to serve a higher purpose and fulfil some key aims:
🐟 Provide me with a job I love, that I find interesting and stimulating and never want to stop doing.
🐟 Create interesting, fulfilling jobs for a handful of the right employees that will help them develop skills they find exciting and meaningful.
🐟 Work on projects that make positive impact both for communities and for wildlife. Deliver better work on these projects because we care about them, and because we can be creative in how we approach them.
And the new one I’ve been pondering:
🐟 Support and empower women (in the workplace).
Here’s the thing: I’m a woman. In my day-to-day life I don’t think about that too much – but sometimes, in a work context, I have had to think about it. Although in huge swathes of the population outdated views have vanished, sometimes things can still be that much harder for women. So, to celebrate those huge swathes, to celebrate women and, today, International Women’s Day, and because we have a great vehicle to provide opportunities for people trying to get (back) into work, MWC will be running a Returnship programme this Summer (and next Summer, and so on!).
Look out for more details in coming weeks, but in short: we want to offer opportunities to mothers who are keen to get back into work for the first time after having children (of any age or stage) but who might want to sharpen their comms skills for the ol’ CV, try a new field (our field) to see if they’d like to take their future career in a different direction, or who simply want to build confidence in the workplace before busting out full-blown job applications.
We’re starting small, but hope to grow the scheme. So, this Summer we’ll offer one paid four-week placement for a Returnship. We’re based in Bristol, but we work flexibly and remotely – so while we’d love the right candidate to be able to spend time with us in the office, we also understand that might not always be possible and working from home is encouraged.
Business can, and should, be a force for good. Shifting the focus away from profit doesn’t mean being unsuccessful – it means defining success in a different way. Instead of raking up a nice pile of profits to divide between board members or shareholders, MWC pays its staff well, can afford CPD and training, team days, and an office – and, now, endeavours to support those needing an extra career confidence boost.
That’s how we define success.