DANIELLE BROWN MBE
Danielle Brown Limited and 4 All Programme LTD
THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Entrepreneur and ex athlete
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I have no routine. I split my time between my two companies; the first is a training and speaking company where I do a lot of work around preparing for performance and diversity and inclusion. This was set up off the back of my career as an elite athlete; I’m a double Paralympic gold medallist, five time World Champion and was World Number 1 for my entire career. The second is an inclusive sporting company, where we get people of all abilities, backgrounds and age groups to take part and compete on a level playing field. On top of this I’m currently writing a self development book for women.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I wanted to be a writer and that dream hasn’t changed – it’s a work in progress!
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I graduated from the University of Leicester with a first in law. Education is important, but I don’t see it as the be all and end all. I learned more ‘success skills’ from sport, which I think can sometimes be harder to develop than technical knowledge.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
I’ve had the good fortune of meeting so many people with brilliant advice and I like to take a little bit from everybody. Some of the things that have really stuck with me is:
Find a purpose that you’re passionate about – if you don’t enjoy something there really is no point in pursuing it.
Say yes to opportunities, no matter how small
Be kind because people won’t remember how intelligent you are, but they will remember how you made them feel
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
I remember watching the news with my Dad when I was a lot younger. He pointed out Cherie Blair and said she earned more than her husband, the then Prime Minister. Up until that point I hadn’t had exposure to many women with high power careers and I was amazed that Cherie Blair – a woman! – earned more than the most influential man in the country. I thought if she can, I can and this was one of my inspirations for doing a law degree.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
The variety. Every day is different and brilliant fun. It’s challenging, exciting, rewarding, hard work and stretching.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
Absolutely nothing. I love every moment!
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
I’m going to be a published author and will have grown both my businesses. Our 5 year strategy for 4 All includes turning it into a national programme and we have some very exciting projects that aims to change people’s perspectives towards disability and inclusion.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
As an athlete I ended up developing another persona, which wasn’t particularly helpful and when I retired from sport after London 2012 I went through a complete identity crisis. It took me a while to figure out who I was and what I wanted, and now I’ve rediscovered who I am I am the same person across the board. I think authenticity is very important because people buy into that and to be really good at what you want to do you need to become the best version of you.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
I’m a one woman band for my speaking company, but at 4 All two of the three co-founders are women. Half of our coaches are also women, which is brilliant. Statistics show that female participation in sport is much lower than male participation, but we have a 50:50 split – some of which we accredit to having an equal number of male and female coaches.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
Absolutely – it’s critical for progress as it gives us a much more balanced perspective.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
A work in progress…
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Good people skills, the ability to think out of the box, drive to keep going and the confidence to go out there and not take no for an answer.