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June O’Sullivan

Female Founder Spotlight: June O’Sullivan

5 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight: June O’Sullivan
IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight: June O’Sullivan

June O’Sullivan MBE is Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), one of London’s largest and most successful charitable social enterprises, operating 39 award-winning nurseries in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas. An inspiring, outspoken speaker, author, podcaster and regular media commentator on all things Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June is a tireless ‘disruptor’, seeking new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and their families. With an excellent track record of initiating and leading innovation and award-winning growth, she created the UK’s first ever Social Enterprise Childcare Group in 2006.

What would you love  to share to encourage other women to start their own business?

Women social entrepreneurs play a vital role in changing the landscape of business and can help build greater gender equality and an improved ecosystem for society. It may sound cliche but it’s so important to follow your passion and not be afraid to fail. My personal experience as a young single mum was the catalyst for me to prove that it is possible to run great nurseries in disadvantaged areas and finally change the status quo that poor neighbourhoods should receive the poorest nursery education. I’ve experienced so many hurdles over the past decade but you have to be able to pivot and enjoy the journey along the way.  

Who are the five women who inspire you the most?

Jenny Holloway – CEO Fashion Entrepreneur

Baroness Glenys Thornton – Champion of Social Enterprise 

Servane Mouazan – CEO Ogunte 

Professor Chris Pascal – Leaders in Early Childhood Education and Care

Duchess of Cambridge for standing up for and shining a much needed light on the Early Years 

What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success? 

Walk and Talk : Never underestimate the power of a conversation

Be Kind: Courtesy and kindness costs nothing

Be Humble: People have helped you all along the way – do the same for others

Tell Stories: They connect with people

Know your stuff and make brave decisions:  you need to crack the double glazed glass ceiling 

What is your favourite inspirational saying?

Dalai Lama once said: “According to scientists, women have more sensitivity than men. Sometimes I really feel that more women should take responsibility in the leadership of our planet. It would mean less violence.”

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