Continuing our series profiling women making their mark in the world of business. Cynthia V Davis is founder of BAME Recruitment, a recruitment and consultancy service that is dedicated to achieving highly effective diverse candidate attraction and strategies.
BAME Recruitment seeks to provide organisations with highly skilled diverse talent, as well as the strategies to allow this to happen. The firm believes in challenging the status quo to provide fairer employment and hiring processes that are representative and inclusive, reflecting the diverse population of the UK.
What drove you to start your own business?
Coming from a BAME background, I’m fully aware and understand the frustrations that some hiring processes have impacted on candidates and employees looking to progress in their career. I experienced first hand the barriers that are faced by employees, especially those from diverse backgrounds, who are sometimes left feeling very disillusioned by the lack of opportunity to be promoted within their organisations, and feel the only way to move up is to move out
What was your career path prior to starting your business?
As a recruiter I have over 18 years of experience having worked with organisations such as BT, Carphone Warehouse, ITV, Hydrogen and the charity, Creative Access
Tell us about the business planning stage.
I wrote an initial business plan which helped me to focus on what my USP would be in the market place, it also helped to better understand the structure and business model I needed to create. I also undertook a lot of research to analyse the market and understand where we could add value as an organisation.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I tend to plan on a monthly basis, but in the recruitment world, things change on a daily basis and you have to be very proactive and flexible within your approach. I keep myself motivated knowing what we do makes a massive impact on people’s careers and livelihoods. We also help to empower our candidates to achieve their goals which is a priceless experience to witness and this helps to keep us focused.
Can you describe a typical working day?
As a working mum, my day normally starts with making sure my daughter is set up for the day, before heading out to our City office to meet with my team. I normally have meetings with clients or interviewing candidates. I also attend a lot of events e.g: Women’s networks events, events for business leaders and Mentoring sessions, so I am always on the go and can work long days. I also tend to catch up with our social media accounts in the interval as we have a lot of clients and candidates that communicate with us via this method.
How do you work on making your business grow?
We are growing our business by acquiring new clients through our networking channels, social media, business events and new business development. Also recommendations from both our clients and candidate’s have really helped in growing our business.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
I love the flexibility of having a better work life balance, but also being in charge of my own destiny
What are the challenges of working for yourself and how do you tackle them
The buck always stops with you so you are always aware of the responsibility you have towards your staff and clients. Sometimes I have to make tough decisions, but that comes with being the boss. I am however very lucky to have a supportive team behind me which really helps to deal with challenging situations.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
My husband is a great business inspiration to me as he has the most amazing resilience, work ethic and is one of the hardest working people I know. He has accomplished so much and has managed to carve a successful career in a very tough financial sector. He is my ‘go to’ person for advice and support as he keeps me motivated and pushes me to achieve my goals.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?
I always remember Richard Branson saying “Its amazing what doors can open if you reach out to people with a smile, friendly attitude and a desire to make a positive impact”
What are the 3 books, websites or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?
One of the best books I have read is Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope”, it’s so inspiring to think of his journey to becoming the President. I find it always helps in getting you motivated and inspired to overcome any odds and succeed. Dr Yvonne Thompson’s. 7 Traits of Successful Women on Boards is also a great read, which alwaysmanages to empower me. I find networking events are invaluable when you are in business as you meet a lot of people who could be instrumental in the success of your business.
What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?
I have found that when you run your own business its so hard to completely switch off. However, I have found spending quality time with my family and watching cartoons on repeat with my daughter always manages to help me to switch off and appreciate what’s important in life, family! I also enjoy watching my football team Arsenal and going out with friends when I can get a babysitter!