Avril’s #ialso Story

Until the recent f:entrepreneur breakfast I hadn’t realised how often I was using #ialso.

I am right at the start of my entrepreneurial journey and I am writing a book along the way to share my experiences in the transition from executive to entrepreneur. I am also looking at short term or part-time contracts as a senior executive to provide a personal income while I set up the organisation. In addition, I am also carving a new type of social enterprise, led and influenced by the community and setting up an under 18s committee to meet twice a year from across different organisations and industries to learn from each other and to ensure we implement best practice for safeguarding access to data.

Aside from my main business role, I am also the Trustee and Vice Chair of a charity called seAp advocacy. seAp provide free, independent and confidential advocacy services to those in need – seAp’s advocates are real heroes! I am also a mentor and specifically coach people who are looking to build their own personal brand and take the next step in their career.

When asked how I manage to spin all the plates, the obvious answer is lists! But ever since taking tamoxifen as a result of being treated for breast cancer, one of the big side effects I experience now is the occasional anxiety attack so I need to be mindful.

I never experienced anxiety attacks before and hope none of you ever have to. When I begin to feel anxious, because of the amount of spinning plates, I have to do something completely against my nature and that is to calve out ‘me time’. Typically, alone, and giving myself time to catch-up with whatever is getting me in a pickle so that I feel back on top of things and ready to rock again.

It is very hard because I feel I am letting others down, but I know it is an absolute must. Plus, in reality I am not letting them down at all, it is all me thinking I am. Friends and family are hugely supportive, and they wish for me to be in a good place and happy.

Saying this though, I love having more than one role and being part of the #ialso generation of women – to be honest, I’d be hugely surprised to meet a woman who isn’t! I love variety, meeting new people, learning new things, collaborating on different topics; one role just wouldn’t cut it for me.

We are living in an exciting time as there is a rise in the way we share #ialso, becoming braver in saying I am doing all these things without feeling we are boasting (as that is not the case). #ialso has always been there in the background.

As a technologist, I am hugely excited about experiencing and playing a part in the 4th industrial revolution. It is incredible to take part in what will be another defining moment in history. I also believe as we see more female entrepreneurs inspiring others we will see more women taking that step and shaping the world – bring it on!

For me personally, I have big dreams for Cancer Central. Once established there are opportunities to use our Next Generation Search technology and community structure for other important health areas, such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Strokes.

Avril is the founder and CEO of Cancer Central.


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