Business founder reveals daughter was behind key decision

Michelle Gant, of Dereham, with her four-year-old daughter Thea, holding up the book When the World Paused, sitting at a...

Michelle Gant, of Dereham, with her four-year-old daughter Thea, and the book When the World Paused - Credit: MICHELLE GANT

Michelle Gant, from the Dereham area, is the founder and director of the Engaging People Company in Norfolk. Here she talks about being a working mother.

All women should be empowered and supported to do whatever they choose, to be able to follow and realise their dreams. All women have a wealth of incredible skills, capabilities, and potential – which we don’t always see or believe ourselves.

For me, it was impending motherhood that rattled my self-belief. Before I became a mother, I erroneously believed that my ambition would necessarily be curbed by my shifting priorities, my opportunities limited, my career trajectory altered – and not positively.

But the truth is that motherhood has in fact equipped me with more skills than I could have thought possible - and it has inspired me to do more than I might once have dared.

Michelle Gant, founder and director of The Engaging People Company

Michelle Gant, founder and director of The Engaging People Company - Credit: MICHELLE GANT

Becoming a mother was the most daunting, amazing, scary, yet fulfilling thing that I have ever done, a role I was not trained for or experienced in. As I watched my daughter blossom I asked myself: “I wonder what else I can do?” Because quite frankly if I could do that, if I could successfully care for this precious child, then I could do anything.

And that question was the catalyst to setting up my own business when my daughter was 18 months old. Motherhood made me brave enough to do this – and believe that I had the skills to do so. I hadn’t entertained that notion before.

Because motherhood doesn’t diminish our abilities; quite the opposite it can enhance them. Over the last six years, I have developed my resilience, I am more able to find solutions, I am calmer, more patient.

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And I am most definitely not alone.

But this does not always seem to be recognised, including in some workplaces where conversations about mothers’ careers often linger predominantly on working hours – when the mother can work rather than what they can bring to the party. No doubt, whilst great progress has been made over the last few years, there are still occasions and spaces where the abilities and goals of mothers are seriously underestimated.

But perhaps, even more so, we underestimate ourselves.

All women have the capabilities within us to achieve everything to which we aspire. As Michelle Obama said: “There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” Sometimes, we just need to realise that ourselves.