Charlotte Pearce

Inspirational Woman: Charlotte Pearce | Founder & CEO, Inkpact

Charlotte PearceSo I’m Charlotte, Entreprenuer, Mamma, international speaker and a personal development “Junkie.” 

I truly believe we can create and re-create our own lives in any way we want and that is the ultimate source of power! I’m the CEO and Founder of Inkpact where we work with brands like John Lewis, Sweaty Betty and BrewDog. We help them connect with their customers in a human way and increase Customer lifetime value by triggering handwritten notes across the customer journey. Yes, that’s right, genuine handwritten notes written by our Scribe tribe of 1000 people across the world; mothers, artists, those recovering from Cancer – writing is a way to move their lives forward. I also have the honour and privilege of being an international public speaker, I love to share stories and inspire audiences on how to build businesses people love, and how to live a life you truly love. In particular, I’m on a mission to inspire women and show them how powerful and amazing they are and that they can create life on their terms.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I can’t say I ever sat down and planned my career step by step, we all know that’s impossible but I am incredibly intentional about designing my life and career. I make sure I spend my time doing what sets my soul on fire as well as what’s impactful for the world and people around me. Every month I do a session in my favourite coffee shop and get a blank page. I create what I want more of, less of and where I want to push myself and the business. I always knew from a young age business is where I wanted to play. When I was at University I ran a global social enterprise with 30,000 people around the world and 12 businesses, from eco toilets to solarlamps. I fell deeply inlove with business that puts more into the world than it takes from it. I also from a young age loved public speaking, personal development and brands, creating and working with them. I’d say I try to make my life and career a mix of intentional creation of goals and what I want to achieve but also leave room for serendipity, luck and fate. I wouldn’t be where I am today without both.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

How long have you got Ha-ha, I mean there are so many challenges – daily. I secretly, and not so secretly thrive off challenges, because when I look back at every challenge I’ve got through (which is 100% of them) I realise how much I grew. I went onto something incredible and I always have been glad that obstacle happened, especially the really awful ones, that hurt. There isn’t a magic way to overcome challenges, however. after years and years of working on myself, my emotional intelligence and learning just how much our attitude affects our life, I’d say the best way to set yourself up for happiness and success, is to believe in the whole game/plan/universe. It’s important to be incredibly self-aware, emotionally intelligent and surround yourself with incredible people who can help you see what you can’t. With these tools you can get through anything, you can re-frame anything that happens to you as a gift. If we learn, grow or evolve from, it can’t be a failure. That’s freeing. I’ve been through mental and physical breakdowns, running out of money, harassment, heartbreak and much more, and each obstacle has led me to the exact place I am today, a place my younger self couldn’t of believed and there is so much more out there I’m yet to experience.

Some specific challenges

We got messed around in an investment deal and were about to run out of money with only 2 weeks’ worth of cash in the bank account. We not only came back from that, but came back at a higher valution, with incredible entrepreneurs and it changed the trajectory of our business.

COVID meant we lost all of our B2B clients and hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue overnight. We could of sat and been downhearted about it, but instead we focused on the b2c clients we did have and now we are leaders, experts and thriving in the B2C space – it’s our niche. It’s brought us incredible clients like L’occitane, Sweaty Betty, BrewDog, Boden and so many more.

Personally one of my biggest challenges has been realising the business is not me, stepping back, empowering others and not getting in the way. Even writing this It’s crazy that was a challenge, as now It’s my role to simply hire smarter people than me, empower them, coach them and then get out of the way – and I love it!

A challenge which I’m still trying to approach personally is being a Mamma and a Founder. I went back to work pretty quickly, and sometimes that Mum guilt kicks in. But I see how happy work makes me, which allows me to show up as my full self when I am with my son. I’m more present when I’ve been working and creating during the day and I am so happy that I can show him what a proud, working Mum can do.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There have been so many moments big and small. Every time I see my team achieve something it is my achievement too and I love that. Seeing the scribes be able to afford to spend time with their families and treat them to gifts and experiences makes my world! The year we first send 100,000 handwritten notes in one month I could not believe it, the scale I’d dreamed of was here and it was incredible to see. Getting Forbes 30 under 30 when I was 26 was a huge achievement, it’s something beyond the wildest dreams of a working-class family girl from the Midlands – oh and that time I got invited to Buckingham palace she’d of never believed that!  Doing my keynote, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ at Hypergrowth, sharing stories of personal love, business strategies and case studies to a room full of the worlds best marketeers was such a highlight for me. I could go on for ever so many moments but one final one – recently we held an event for our community at a prestigious hotel in London, the room was packed with  CRM and loyalty managers from Brands that I couldn’t quite believe –  Farfetch, Chanel, Mont Blanc, Patch plants, Mindful Chef, Space NK, Boden, John Lewis. To be in a room full of incredible people from incredible brands, whilst hosting a panel with some iconic leaders at Sweaty Betty, BrewDog and John Lewis was such a highlight for me, I loved every minute.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Always always investing in myself, if you look at what my money has been spent on since I was 16 years old, it’s been courses, books, coaches, tribes. That plus my investment in myself, in terms of learning to sell and network and a natural curiosity for people. Understanding yourself in all areas, in particular your own emotions, is the best thing you can ever do for your life, your happiness and your career.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Use your differences, your unique qualities, and your curiosity to your advantage. Surround yourself with incredible talented people you can learn from and do not be afraid to blow your own trumpet, celebrate the wins, brag about your successes, and ask for what you want.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think there are barriers in tech as there is in other areas too, it’s a very complicated issue but I’d say there are 3 areas in particular which we can affect that could make a big difference to the success of women. 1) Confidence, 2) Visability and 3) Childcare. I’m speaking for myself and women I know here but not every women. When I speak to my peers and friends a lot of them know what they want but don’t always ask for it, or feel like they can’t. They tend to go along more with what others want for them. If we can inspire women to ask for what they want, the payrise, the new location, the time to do XYZ, the support they need, then it can open up a whole world. When women stand in their power and are authentic, they can literally change the world, you only have to look at women in history to know that. However, our society still engrains in women they are to stay quiet, be “good girls” and behave, where boys are told in some cases the opposite. If we can change this narrative, which I do believe is starting to shift, and ensure we are starting at schools and with young girls, then the changes we see up through the whole ladder will be mindblowing. Women are being coached, supported and encouraged to be bolder, ask for what they want and take control of their life, career etc and that needs to keep being pushed.

2) Visability – it’s amazing to see each year more and more is being done in tech to showcase women (like this article) and that is a huge step In the right direction. I still find when I look at my company shareholder records, 3 women for over 30 men, which upsets me. When I was pregnant and wanted to talk to other entrepreneurs about my concerns, I still could only find a handful visably talking about their journeys, and when I went and did a talk in a school recently, they made a point to mention not many of the people who came in looked like me. The more women tell their stories, struggles and are open about their journeys, the more young women can see this and I do belive if you can see it, you are more likely to believe you can be it.

3) Childcare, I went into being a Founder Mum a bit blindly, I assumed people would just see it as the norm, there would not be any judgement and that the world had moved on. It hasn’t, not enough and the judgement from a small number of investors and also other mums shocked me. An investor even said to me – how are we going to get through this. I mean for goodness sakes, it’s a baby not a stock market crash. My response was initially, “you wouldn’t of asked my male  co-founder the same question in fact you wouldn’t of needed to “chat” to him.” Then I strongly said, “this is going to be the best thing to happen to the business” – and guess what – it totally was!

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Showcase the women they do have. Drop the corporate BS of not talking about problems/challenges/feelings. Put more humanity into the workplace. Give women the space and culture to ask for what they need. Simply don’t pay men more for the same job. Make sure there is women everywhere at every level, on every panel, in every project –it’s good business as well as the right thing to do. Make it easy for women to have children and not make it a “step back” in their career. Get Women to mentor other women. Get women to speak to men, why are their these gaps, how can we sort it from a male and a female perspective. Make sure there is proper support and development in place for reflection, learning and progression. Don’t just make it a Womens problem though – its potentially even more important that Men are part of this conversation. It is very much about educating men and to do that we have to understand what they feel and why, in a non-judgemental way.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

My first wish would be more wishes so I could start with – Regulated equal pay, Free childcare from 2 months. More womens circles/groups and coaching for women. More education and conversations about the issue with men.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Founders community has been great for connecting with other female founders in tech and beyond (is invite only but check it out)

Coaching – with any coach but My coach is Nikki from Electric women and I know lots of other Tech Founders coach with her (she doesn’t coach tech it’s just she happens to attract them)

I’m also a part of – www.witsend.online which is Women in Technology group and is founded by some incredible badass women!

Podcasts – not tech related specifically but I always listen to Brene Brown, Oprah, Tony Robbins.