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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Liz is a Director and Co-founder of 10Eighty. She started the HR consultancy business in May 2012 and has provided HR solutions to a wide range of industries since 2005 working with numerous firms to understand their needs. She’s a great believer in the power and intelligence of networking. She’s always thinking about her next introduction and with 4400+ LinkedIn connections and over 5,200 LinkedIn followers the possibilities are endless! Liz trained as an Executive Coach and completed the Academy of Executive Coaching Practitioner Diploma in 2020. She’s passionate about making a difference through her mentoring work for the CIPD. Making people happy in their career every day is her ultimate goal.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

I started my career in the art world before moving into HR consultancy in 2005. I worked for a plc in sales for 7 years where I focussed on business development within the Financial Services sector. In 2012, I co-founded 10Eighty, a strengths-based HR consultancy to focus on leadership and management development, career management and outplacement. I’m a dedicated networker and focus on adding value to clients and achieving results. I trained as a career coach in 2008 and as an Executive Coach in 2020. I’ve been a mentor for the CIPD since 2013. During my career I’ve managed people, achieved promotion, returned after two maternity leaves and balanced work and family life.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I’ve always been passionate about coaching as a means to motivate individual performance and am committed to coaching people to have successful and fulfilling careers. My aim is to help people deal with the various challenges they face in their working life and to develop strategies to effectively deal with them. Rather than doing this for a plc which I’d been doing for 7 years, I wanted to do this in my own business and be able to make the exciting decisions along the way.

How did you achieve awareness?

What helped was having a large network in the HR and L&D space to achieve awareness. HR and L&D are our prime buyers. What I’ve learned in business is that people buy people. If you’ve done a good job for a client, the likelihood is that they’ll buy from you again. Our business is 95% from referrals.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We have shareholders in the business who have all put money in to help grow the business.

What are the key successes?

Discounting the years of Covid, we have grown year on year. We have always wanted to be known as a leadership development business providing executive coaching; rather than an outplacement business which we were known for at the start. Now our business is turning over 75% revenue on the leadership development side, which is repeatable, predictable revenue. With outplacement, if you have a good year with one client, the chances are that they won’t need you again as they’ll have done their cull.

  • I’m also hugely proud of the sheer number of people we’ve helped over the years
  • We’ve built a fantastic pool of over 50 associates
  • We’ve now coached in 52 countries worldwide. A few of our global projects include virtual delivery in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Zambia. This has come with additional challenges for our coaches as they’ve coached in regions with no internet, unstable electricity, and government unrest.  We’ve also coached in the US, Australia and France; Ghana, Mumbai and Slovenia to name a few.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

My own personal challenges have been around how I manage to combine being a mother, wife and running a business, and dealing with household and juggling those given things do conflict. You realise you want to do 2 things, but can only do 1.

I thought it was important to highlight on International Women’s Day this year that my husband and I discussed how we could both share school work equally given both our jobs are important which made a big difference to me. Here’s a call out to all working mothers – as we all know the challenges we’ve experienced!

What are your plans now/for the future?

To keep growing! We have a number of initiatives which include partnerships, selling a 2nd or 3rd product to an existing client, and spending time developing relationships with our Brand Ambassadors and Client Ambassadors.

We’re also putting a huge focus on ‘digital’ – generating new clients through SEO; having a target NPS score of 90; and to continually develop our coaching app which we launched last year.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

It’s never too late to pursue a dream. If you’ve got the passion, you’re likely to succeed. Go for it! What’s the worst that can happen? Success is about learning from mistakes. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and follow that dream. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and learn off them – share ideas and build long term relationships continuing to add value to others.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

  1. Get a mentor – my mentor has been fantastic and taught me to believe in myself and push myself out of my comfort zone.
  2. Build into your diary space and time to reflect daily – reflection time is vital rather than back to back meetings.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of networking – a lot of people don’t understand what networking is and see it as going to an event and collecting a few business cards or about schmoozing. It’s about how you add value. What we all know is that if you help people, at some point they’ll help you. My advice is to always build relationships for the long-term, you never know what might happen.
  4. As an entrepreneur and leader, play to your strengths and be aware of your development areas.
  5. Make the time for self-investment to appreciate as an asset.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

  1. My co-founder and CEO Michael Moran – has hugely positively impacted my career and I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with him for 17 years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and his kindness. He’s taught me the value of self-belief – if you don’t push yourself, you’re never going to know what can happen or where you can end up.
  2. Steven Bartlett – I love his podcasts and find his advice hugely inspirational. I love this quote ‘never lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to be happy.
  3. In fact I love all the Dragons! Dragon’s Den is one of my favourite programmes. Touker Suleyman’s quote ‘you get in life what you have the courage to ask for’ resonates with me
  4. Deborah Meaden’s quote also resonates with me ‘you need emotional intelligence; to be happy to take risks; to be competitive and to look forward not backwards’.
  5. Sara Davis is a fantastic dragon and is always hugely passionate about investing time in and sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs which is great to see.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

  • “Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”
  • “Learn as if you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.”
  • “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizsebag/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/10Eightyteam

Insta – 10Eighty