Posted: Fri 15th Sep 2017
To give you an insight into the faces behind Enterprise Nation we're posting a monthly interview with a member of the team. Next up is head of campaigns, Lorna Bladen.
What's your role at Enterprise Nation and how does a typical day look for you?
It sounds a cliché, but it’s tricky to describe my typical day!
I've never been very good at sticking to doing one thing, so I like to get involved in a variety of different projects and I'm blessed that Enterprise Nation has plenty going on to satisfy that need.
In the past 12 months, my core role has involved training 10,000 female founders as part of Facebook's She Means Business programme.
We are very lucky to have an office in Somerset House in the heart of central London.
I love hosting events here in the city but I've also been fortunate to running events across the UK this year from down south in Cornwall to up north in Glasgow; it gives me a greater perspective on the eclectic mix of small businesses that we support.
I've been working with Enterprise Nation since 2013 and it’s extremely satisfying seeing a more positive attitude to the start-up life through recent years.
The next generation is less interested in a traditional 9-5, so it's more important than ever for us to continue working hard to provide modern support to aspiring entrepreneurs.
What's the one thing you most enjoy about working with small businesses?
My parents work for themselves and their entrepreneurial spirit has shaped me to have a passion for small business and have little interest in working in a large corporate.
I was also never an A* grade student but always believed that entrepreneurialism doesn’t require academic achievement; you just need to have a go-getting attitude, good idea and great execution!
Life really should be lived on our own terms and I love discovering people's drivers for wanting to become their own boss.
We have created a relaxed and inviting community at Enterprise Nation, which gives our members an accessible platform for that human connection and I enjoy watching them build confidence to share their ideas, swap contacts and deliver their own peer support
Which member story has most struck a chord with you?
There are so many members that struck a chord with me and for all for entirely different reasons!
We have an adviser member called Alison Battisby and she is a social media queen!
Alison used to work for a large agency and delivered social media workshops with us and I still remember the day when she told our founder Emma Jones and I that she wanted to strike out and start her very own business.
A few years later, Alison has come on leaps and bounds, runs Avocado Social and is one of the top social media freelancers in the UK.
I love working with members and providing them with sales and profile opportunities and I was so pleased to work with Alison as she got her accreditation to be a She Means Business trainer.
What's your favourite Enterprise Nation event and why?
We run large-scale events like the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs, which are incredibly powerful but I do love hosting more intimate events such as our Women's Workathons.
Running a business can be tough and sometimes isolating, so it’s really important to take time out of the business to sit back and reflect whilst connecting with like-minded people.
I've seen lots of our members collaborate on the back of meeting at our events and that’s what drives me to run more events that provide value to attendees.
If you weren't at Enterprise Nation, which company would you most like to work for?
Lorna Bladen Ltd!
In all seriousness, it would have to be working for myself!
I've freelanced before and it was a brilliant and insightful experience to the world of self employment and hopefully puts me in a better position to support our members as I've been there and done it myself.
I've learnt that the best project you’ll ever work on is you and one day I would love to do my own thing, but Emma has recruited a dream team and created a brilliant working environment where it truly feels like we’re running our own business within Enterprise Nation.
Tell us one thing about you that not many people know.
In my spare time, I try to do my bit to change the perception of mental health. I'm actually talking at an event with the start-up organisation Sanctus on 20 September and you all should come!
The event will share stories on how people (including me) have worked with their mental health, to become the best version of themselves.
Oh, and I was on the Channel 4 reality show, First Dates!