Frances Holmes tells us about her business, Speak Out Revolution, and the challenges of being a STEM woman in business.
STEMPRENEUR, Frances is the co-founder of the not-for-profit business, Speak Out Revolution. After noticing a high incidence of harassment and bullying against women in STEM, Frances and her co-founder started Speak Out Revolution to highlight the issues affecting women in this field. Their business is located in the UK but operates internationally to support women in every country.
She studied Mathematics and uses this STEM connection as well her lived experience working in the field, to connect with other women through her business.
In this article, Frances tells us about her experience founding her business, and her experience as a woman in STEM.
What inspired you to start your business? How is it going?
I wanted to drive change in the organisations I have worked in and with, to build truly inclusive workplaces, where we get the best from each and every employee. Breaking down the barriers for others who will come after me, to allow them to thrive.
Tell us about your typical day.
Juggling a 9-5 whilst launching and running a start-up is challenging but so rewarding, especially because there is no typical day. I split my multiple tasks over my days, evenings and weekends, whilst trying to squeeze in a bit of self-care, me-time and time with my partner. I prioritise my team, business development and customer deliverables, for both Speak Out and my day job at Thales. I believe that if your team is happy, your customers are happy, the other bits will take care of themselves. Prioritise the right things!
“running a start-up is challenging but so rewarding, especially because there is no typical day.“
What is most challenging about being a STEM woman in business?
The most challenging thing about being a STEM woman in business is that there is a lack of female representation at the top. We are striving for change, without having the influence of true representation at senior levels.
What is most rewarding about being a STEM woman in business?
The most rewarding thing about being a STEM woman in business is that you will never get bored, you never stop learning and you are at the forefront of the digital age. You are in the perfect position to make an impact and drive change.
Is there a lot of support for STEM woman in business in your country? Why do you think this is?
There is a large push for women in STEM in the UK, because we are severely underrepresented across the board. We are still a number of generations away from STEM careers having equal representation and this will not be achieved until we have an equal split at university.
Is there anything that can improve this further?
We need to recognise and address these barriers, because equal pay is not the only requirement for truly inclusive workplaces, that will allow us to increase diversity in our companies. Speak Out Revolution has started to look at these barriers through #DesignHerIn, to support engineering companies drive change.
“We need greater understanding of the barriers that women are currently facing when progressing in technical fields in STEM careers.“
Do you have any advice for other STEM woman wanting to start their own business?
Speak Out about your plans. Starting a venture is something you need to shout about. You cannot launch a new business without advocates and supporters, find others that support your mission. Do not feel like you have to do it on your own, there are only 24 hours in a day, reach out, ask for help, there are amazing communities out there who will dive in and lend a hand. Speak Out is supported by volunteers and through pro-bono work from some amazing organisations in the UK and internationally, we would not have achieved what we have to date without their support.
“Speak Out about your plans. Starting a venture is something you need to shout about.“
Contact The Stempreneur & Support Their Business
You can contact Frances Holmes and find out more about Speak Out Revolution, here.
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