In our final ‘Women in the Spotlight’ series, Rachael Brownrigg, Managing Director at NPIF investee business Medex, talks about her biggest role models and the best pieces of advice she had been given on her business journey.
Explain your role in the business and what your business does?
Medex is a bespoke training provider which supports individuals working in the healthcare sector. We run a range of more than 75 different courses designed to help healthcare workers keep their skills up-to-date as well as improving best practice within the industry. We work with a wide range of businesses ranging from care home providers to social care.
Today, Medex delivers its training throughout the UK. We work with 35 training delivery partners and employ ten members of staff from our Sheffield-based headquarters. It’s a far cry from the business I set up back in 2005 as a single mum who balanced working as an accident and emergency nurse with my parenting responsibilities. Within just three weeks of launching the business I had secured a significant training services contract and since that time I’ve never looked back.
How has NPIF helped your business?
My focus in recent years has been business growth and development. When I approached my Investment Manager at Finance For Enterprise for help, I had a vision of developing a new range of interactive training tools which could provide a better experience for learners.
The NPIF lending my business secured has helped us to create new jobs and we our new range of training resources are set to be launched within the next few months. It’s a very exciting time for our business and something which wouldn’t have been possible without receiving the additional lending we needed to invest in the business.
Do you work in a male dominated industry and, if so, would you say it has impacted on your career?
No. Quite the opposite in fact!
According to some sources, 85% of jobs within the care sector are held by women. Male nursing staff are rare, both within the NHS and the private sector. I have noticed a stark contrast in the business world, which tends to be more male dominated.
Who would you class as your biggest influence/role model/mentor and why?
I’ve always found working with mentors to be very useful, but I don’t think it would be fair single out any one person. Many different people have helped me during my business journey in lots of different ways.
Working with a mentor can help to give your business a clear focus, goals to set and targets to reach. It can be very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are running a business. Receiving support from someone who has been there and stood your shoes is something I find invaluable.
What is the best and most inspiring piece of advice you have been given on your journey so far?
Never be afraid to ask for help. There can be a perception that asking others for advice or even help is a sign of weakness – personally, I’ve never subscribed to that belief.
One of the first phone calls I made when I set up my business was to an experienced entrepreneur. After speaking to her, she agreed to meet me and acted as my mentor for a number of years. I learned a great deal from that experience and I have often found it invaluable to listen to others, helping to avoid the mistakes they have made.
Would you say more needs to be done across all sectors to create a better gender balance?
I always think actions speak louder than words and this is certainly true of redressing the gender balance.
The number of women holding senior positions in UK boardrooms is continuing to grow and there are some truly inspirational role models. At the same time more women are plucking up the courage to build their own businesses, often helping to balance the very different pressures to succeed that we face, compared to our male counterparts.
I’m not going to suggest for one minute that balancing running a business and raising a family is an either/ or option but it’s very important that we all play a part in creating a work environment where women can thrive.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
We all face different pressures to succeed and International Women’s day offers time to reflect on how we can all play a part in shaping society for the better.
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