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Sheila Manzano

Female Founders Spotlight: Sheila Manzano

8 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight: Sheila Manzano
IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight: Sheila Manzano

British-born Sheila fell in love with travel aged 13 after staying with family living in Trinidad and Tobago. In her late teens she started her global wanderings and kickstarted her travel industry career in sales, marketing and PR. Taking her first management role aged 21 with a hotel chain, she has since run travel agencies and tourism operations in Australia, Guatemala and Venezuela. Returning to home soil after almost 20 years visiting more than 90 countries, Sheila ‘fell naturally’ into her PR career and created a niche working with rail holiday providers –serendipity… given her love of trains.  In addition to hosting media trips across the globe, Sheila was on the launch team for the Golden Eagle, the world’s first luxury train crossing the Trans-Siberian railroad. 

Sheila founded Three Little Birds PR in 2014, a boutique public relations agency helping tourism operations, hospitality providers and visitor attractions raise their profiles. Since foundation, the model of her business has been to bring self-employed freelancers into The Nest, supporting her in providing PR, administration and business development services for a range of clients. This model has enabled her to allow the team to manage their own hours, choose their working location, grow their skills and support them in attaining their desired work-home life balance too. This structure enables her to find the right associates to service the specific requirements of varied clients. Sheila advocates a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle and in her spare time Sheila is a regular judge at travel media awards, self-proclaimed steam train lover and volunteer ‘befriender’.

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

Sheila told us she once read that ‘You only need one person to believe in you to succeed. It’s a lot easier if that person is YOU.’  Sheila believes this is one of the very first steps to build your own business. “After all, in the early days you may need to burn a lot of midnight oil, make personal sacrifices and face the good, bad and the ugly – not everything is rosy! – side of running your own business. Knowing this is for yourself and achieving your own goals and dreams, makes it all worthwhile. “

What are your 5 top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Learn from failure – The dreaded ‘F’ word. Not everything you do will go to plan, but that shouldn’t be anything to fear. When something doesn’t go the way I expected, I try and tip failure on its head by finding something from it that can be a positive or a guide for the future.

Value relationships – People are the most important part of your business, no matter if you offer a service or a product. Nurturing relationships is critical to how people feel and respond to you personally, the offering and your brand. Like all relationships, business relationships are founder on trust. Investing in people is investing in your business.

Go with your gut – Not everything needs an explanation! If something doesn’t sit right with you, it is OK to say no. Equally, flipping this on its head, when you get those good vibes ….go for it!

Outsource where you can – Where possible assign the tasks you aren’t good at to others. You’ll feel more productive focusing on where you have the most value to the business.

Celebrate success – This doesn’t have to be an ‘all singing, all dancing’ affair but give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge the milestones, birthdays, new accounts, big wins.

Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?

Dolly Parton – Behind an incredible voice and signatory blonde hair is a phenomenal businesswoman. She also has a heart of gold with her charitable work, is a creative genius and has helped fund one of the vaccines developed to fight COVID-19. Defines inspirational!

Jacinda Arden – Earnest and empathic, she is a trusted voice for her nation and demonstrates true leadership qualities.

Kate Adie – The face of war correspondence in the 1980’s. Reporting from war zones in times of terror, I have admired Kate Adie since being a teenager for her qualities in broadcasting, journalism and sheer bravery.

Robyn Davidson  – An Australian writer best known for her 1980 book Tracks. This is a true account of her 1,700-mile trek across the desert of Western Australia. Just her and camels(which happen to be one of my favourite animals). She wrote  about her travels in a career spanning  40 years. 

Mum – This is the one woman who has inspired me my entire life. She really believes in me and has been a role model in so many ways ‘outside of’  business,  that have influenced me ‘in’ business.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

Oh now this is difficult! One of these…

‘Every little thing ‘s gonna be alright’ – from the song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. My company name was inspired by Bob Marley (but that’s a whole other story).

Working hard for something we love is called passion.

Website link and social handles


Sheila Manzano | LinkedIn