Welcome to Emirates Woman’s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with Anna Roberts, Founder of AchievHer, a premium mentoring space dedicated to empowering ambitious women to elevate their voice, impact and income.
In this interview, Anna talks to us more in-depth about founding AchievHer and the many other projects the entrepreneur is working on.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I absolutely loved history and geography; learning about our world, the people and places that showcase where we’ve come from and the context of changes that have impacted society has always been something I’ve deeply connected with. It’s probably where my love of travel and curiosity for why we are the way we are came from!
What was your first job?
Working in a call centre; we’d cold call people for market research purposes and nine times out of ten you’d be hung up by whoever you had called or hurled abuse at, but on the odd occasion there would be someone too kind to say no and you’d be forever grateful for their time! Little did I know I really got to practice connecting and thinking on my feet which has helped me in my career.
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What inspired you to go start your own company AchievHer?
I have been in the coaching space for six years and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit I was really struck by the lack of resources for women to access which detailed what skills they would need to navigate this time personally and professionally. These are often overlooked soft skills; communication, networking, critical thinking and time management as well as making sure we are taking care of ourselves and not burning out.
Regardless of your industry or level of your career, these are the skills of the future and we need to be proactive in carving out opportunities and self-care for ourselves. We now have a global community of women across Australasia, the Middle East and Europe who participate in our programs, listen to our Podcast ‘Unwind with AchievHer” and interact with us on Instagram.
You’re also involved in a lot of other projects. Can you talk us through this?
Aside from AchievHer I work with clients across the globe to refine their communication skills and work on strategies that showcase their personal brands and leadership potential. I work with a lot of Women in Business and Women In Tech events and activities as a speaker and moderator as well as sharing female-founded companies and products and a bit more of my lifestyle on my personal Instagram @imannaroberts.
One of the brands I’m proud to be working with is MONDAY Haircare, it was founded by entrepreneur and beauty enthusiast, Jaimee Lupton, who believes that beauty shouldn’t be expensive – it should work without breaking the bank. The products are salon-quality and sold at affordable prices, making luxury beauty inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Personally, my husband and I are involved in environmental and marine conservation efforts as we both grew up in the UAE and learnt to sail and surf here. I am also pursuing my Masters in Global Media and Digital Communities at SOAS in London.
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What are the key elements of your role?
I oversee the day to day operations as well as our content and coaching programs at AchievHer, from conception to execution. With a background in media, I’m really at home creating training material, videos, recording audio visualizations and meditations for our members and alongside our coaches. Equally, as I completed my postgraduate studies in Global Media from Said Business School, Oxford I like being able to have a long term vision for the company and working towards that daily with our team.
Talk us through your daily routine.
My day starts when my children decide! Usually, that means a 5:45am wake up and we’re straight downstairs for breakfast. I’ve become obsessed with biohacking so my morning routine includes two big glasses of water followed by a light breakfast, a herbal adrenal support supplement and a probiotic. Then I’m ready for a coffee – black, not too hot with coconut or almond milk. Around this time, at 7am my “time lock” on my phone disengages so I check Twitter, Instagram and browse emails.
Once the kids are sorted for school, I get to have 15 minutes to myself and that’s when I take care of my skin and hair. I’ve been using Monday Haircare’s volume range for almost a year and love the results and the gardenia smell! The formulas are cruelty, SLS and paraben-free, and packed with natural ingredients such as Ginger root and B vitamins. I’ll cleanse my face with Bioderma micellar water. If I don’t have meetings or important Zoom calls then it’s a Grown Alchemist serum and SPF otherwise I use Charlotte Tilbury tinted moisturizer.
If I’m going to exercise that’s done in the morning – pilates, barre or a long walk while calling my Mum in New Zealand. During the day I refer to our AchievHer 90 Day Planner and always have our affirmation cards handy to ground me in the moment when there’s lots going on.
As my children are still young I pick them up from school around 1:30 pm so I have to be efficient with managing my time in the day, and afternoons are spent with them. We have dinner together at 6pm and by this time I tend to have another shower, and get into my PJ’s too. The evenings will be spent with a cup of tea and something on Netflix… by 9:15 my sleep alert comes on my phone and I’ll read a bit of my kindle and head to bed.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Being multiskilled and multi-passionate is an asset, especially for entrepreneurs. Learn from others, read about what’s going on and see where you can iterate on current thinking. You don’t need to have a revolutionary idea but you do need to have a new approach and way of doing things. Don’t let competition put you off from starting and make sure you higher slow and fire fast.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Ask and you shall receive.” No one is a mind reader, tell them what you want.
And what is the worst?
“Work hard, play hard.” Just don’t do it, it’s a recipe for burnout.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Staying the course of my goals and defining success on my terms. I’ve always wanted to build a company that allowed me to create value and have time with my family, I’ve never wanted to go after investment so I’ve bootstrapped my business from the start. It meant slower, more sustainable growth and the ability to quickly pivot when needed.
What are your goals for 2021?
By the end of this year, I’d love to see my parents who are in New Zealand, professionally I’m excited about growing AchievHer and positively impacting women around the world to go for their dreams!
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