Carolyn Radford is our featured interview today in the Mama You Can series.
Carolyn Radford is the CEO of Mansfield Town football club. She’s got some great advice on work/life balance and how she manages it with a high pressured job. Over to Carolyn to tell her story…
Mama You Can: Carolyn Radford
I graduated with a degree in Politics from the University of Durham and worked for companies like Gucci before moving into football. I accepted the role of CEO at Mansfield Town in 2011 at the age of 29, making me the youngest CEO in the country which was a daunting task! At the that time, the club wasn’t being run as a business, so my job initially was to basically strip it all down and build it back up again – which is what I’ve done.
Alongside my role as CEO, I am director of One Call Insurance, which is one of the country’s largest insurance broker companies and work at OCL solicitors as a lawyer. I’ve always loved beauty, so I started my own salon, Beauty at Doncaster, about four years ago. I now employ around 15 staff and it’s doing very well; I’m extremely proud of it.
I’m married to John Radford and have three young boys, Hugo, Rupert and Albert.
When did you decide to change direction in your work life?
I’m a pretty ambitious person and if I want to do something then I set out to achieve it. I got into Mansfield by being head-hunted because of my business skills, I wanted to make Mansfield Town FC profitable and we’re well on our way to being so this year. My ambitions are constantly changing depending on the situation, but I find that very exciting and engaging.
Was it a quick decision or something you thought about for a long time?
Obviously, I had a lot of discussions with a few people – including my mum – about the offer but ultimately I knew what a great opportunity it was, it continues to surprise me, and I cannot be happier about my decision.
How do you balance family life with work life? Do you work flexibly?
It’s very difficult to maintain a work/life balance, I have to be very disciplined with my diary and the structure and routine of my days. My children wake me up in the morning, which is lovely as it makes sure I spend quality time with them before I go out to work and John, the kids and I all have breakfast together. I also make sure I’m always back from work in time to put them to bed. Living in this modern world, you can still be working once they’re in bed from your mobile phone – if you can’t take time out for bath and bedtime with your children then it’s a sign your work/life balance is off.
It’s very difficult to keep a good work/life balance, especially for modern women – trying to have it all, it can be tough. I constantly reassess what’s important to me and my family and adjust my priorities to fit this. It’s vitally important that my life and work balance is always right because I’ve learned that having them out of sync doesn’t make for a very happy life.
How do you think businesses could encourage more Mums back into the workplace? How do you do this at Mansfield Town?
I think sitting down and discussing how new mums could integrate back into the workplace helps a lot, even having them in once a month to do little bits and pieces of work can help them slowly them get back into the mind frame of work. A lot of women want to continue working as well as raise their children and I think it’s important they are given that option with as little resistance as possible.
At Mansfield Town FC we offer flexible return to work conditions and further to that, we make sure there is support at the football ground for private areas to breastfeed on a match day, we have a family stand on match days with our mascot entertaining children and colouring and game competitions.
What advice would you give to other Mum’s who are thinking about making a change to their working life/going back to work after having children?
Again, I think discussing it with your employer can really help. Have a think about what you’d like to do to ease yourself back into work and come to a compromise with your employer. It may be that you ask to come back part time, with the view of building up to full time, or work from home two days out of the week. It’s what works best for you and your family at the end of the day. Happy employees are more productive and flexible working for parents is a big part of that.
What’s next is continuing to see my children grow up, I can’t wait to see how their personalities develop. I have a lot of plans for Mansfield, I’d love for them to be promoted and we’re discussing building a hotel as well so very exciting times ahead at Mansfield! I’m also in the process of setting up a mentoring scheme for young women to get support from entrepreneurial and successful women, which could lead to these young women securing work placements, getting a job or just advice on what to do next.
Thanks so much to Carolyn for sharing her story. To read more in the Mama You Can series click here.
Mama You Can will be back next week with a story from a Mum who used to work for Nike, retrained with Digital mums and has just launched her own online business.
See you next week,