Claire Stephenson

Growing Club Stories: Claire Stephenson

Claire is an Accredited Public Relations Practitioner with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and runs a PR and communications consultancy, working on a global basis. She focuses on ethical communications, helping the third sector, CICs, environmental organisations and small businesses, to tell their story with power and authenticity.

“I first encountered The Growing Club about four years ago via an International Women’s Day event in Lancaster, funded by NatWest and The Growing Club. I loved being surrounded by such diverse women. I was freelancing as a writer, journalist and social media manager. Although my work was fluid and there were plenty of opportunities, I was incredibly disorganised and hadn’t a clue about running a business in a strategic way that worked for me and my family. I had suffered a serious bout of burnout and anxiety that left me utterly exhausted.

“Jane suggested that I join the next Bloom and Grow year-long course, which suited me time-wise, to help my work stabilise and become sustainable to fit in with my life.

“The course was comprehensive and covered a range of topics from self-marketing to finance and wellbeing-in-business to timelines and planning. Being in a room with a peer group of women in business was a powerful feeling, knowing that it was a safe and secure environment to learn and grow within. There wasn’t another woman who worked in a similar environment or industry to me, but that didn’t matter because we all “got” each other.

“Bloom and Grow allowed me to have a plan in front of me and better understand business timelines and goals in a strategic way, rather than my airy-fairy creative cloud that I enjoy living in so often!

“We had an insightful session with Christine (who was also on my cohort), on accountancy in business and financial planning. This is an area I love to avoid as it’s really not something I’m good at, but Christine broke it down into small steps and made it much less scary than it was in my head.

“One of the biggest things I found powerful was self-care in business. There wasn’t anywhere in business education literature that placed priority on taking care of your own wellbeing whilst working. This is also something that women I have interviewed on behalf of The Growing Club have all remarked on as a benefit and revelation in business. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then our business and life balance suffers and that’s when a downwards spiral can occur.

“Post-course, I rebranded and became The Write Type, and my business and clientele grew when I became focused on strategy and delivery. I have designed my business around my life, as we home-educate our 11-year-old and everything (usually) works like connecting cogs, with being able to support her educational journey, run our two businesses and time as a family with our other daughter as well.

“I’ve worked for a variety of incredible clients such as European Parliament, Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son, Joe Corré on a national climate project and I currently support clients on an international level with public relations and media strategy. I love the variety of what I do, the fast-paced work and thinking I’ve become used to and the creative lean to my everyday work.

“The Growing Club CIC is an organisation that I wholeheartedly believe in. I run public relations and media campaigns for them (as Chief Storyteller!), along with workshops, business mentoring and coaching for some amazing women. 

“The Covid pandemic has been devastating for many small businesses, but the response from The Growing Club who immediately leapt to a support and nurture role to help the women within their network, is nothing short of heroic. I’m so proud to have been part of that.

“From women who aspire to run their own business to women who are running successful businesses and want to focus on sustainable growth, The Growing Club has resources and training to help support, encourage, mentor and grow, for all women. The creative approach and strong ethos for ethics and peer support are important to me, and I’m so pleased to have Bloomed and Grown alongside the organisation and hope to be part of it ongoing in the future.”

Find Claire via her website – The Write Type – or on Instagram.

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