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EP 006 / 16.02.2022


Jeannette Linfoot  00:00

You have to be really clear on what your reason why is, you know whether that's the mission for your business or for yourself personally, because if you've not got that clarity, you don't provide the best offering in terms of the product and services, and you have to know your customer inside out. And so I think, you know, to be successful in business, being really clear on what you what you are, what you stand for, what your values are, the customer that you're serving allows you then to really differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Because otherwise, I think a lot of businesses, they, they maybe have a kind of a view, but it's not so crystal clear. And therefore they can't, you know, communicate that clearly to their teams to you know, to their suppliers to their customers, et cetera. So, I think that is one thing to be successful in business, you absolutely have to, you have to know where you're heading,


Farah Nanji  00:51

you're listening to the mission makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji, and I'm the founder of a business in the motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer in the underground electronic scene, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist for these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned, and how they're truly making an impact for this world. Today, we're joined by corporate CEO turned entrepreneur with a multi million pound business portfolio Jeanette lynfit. Her experience spans three decades in the travel, leisure, hospitality and property sectors, winning several awards along the way, including one of the most influential women in travel. She's also an incredible mentor and host of her own podcast, brave, bold and brilliant, which goes from the boardroom tables of big international businesses to the dining room tables of entrepreneurial startups. Today's episode is packed full of nuggets on how to overcome challenges, embrace opportunities, and take risks in business while staying true to yourself. So just before we begin, if you're interested in watching the video version of this podcast, head over to YouTube and type in Jeanette linfoot mission makers to see the show. And if you're interested in some really cool rewards like Virtual DJ lessens the chance to ask our guests questions and exclusive merchandise, head over to forward slash mission makers to check out how you can access these exclusive rewards. And thank you to all of you been writing into us and subscribing to the show, it really does make a difference. So don't forget to hit that subscribe button, if you love the content that we're making here at Mission makers, and help us take this show to the next level this season. Hey, Jeanette, welcome to Mission makers. How're you doing today?


Jeannette Linfoot  03:01

I am doing excellent. Thank you, Farah. Nice to be here.


Farah Nanji  03:04

Yeah, definitely. We're really looking forward to speaking with you today. So one of the first questions we looked sort of like to ask is, you know, taking it right back to the beginning, and you've had an incredible career which spanned travel, leisure, property, and hospitality and much more beyond that as well. And you've, you've really sort of not only just been in them, but you've you've you've sort of been at the lead at the helm of leadership in these industries. So what kind of sparked your interest, you know, towards these, towards these industries? Well,


Jeannette Linfoot  03:37

I did an economics degree way back when. So that was quite a good grounding, really, to open up the world of business, because it was broad enough to, you know, appeal to whichever direction I was going to go in. But, so that was kind of pretty helpful. But in terms of the travel industry, where I spent a big proportion of my career, well, who doesn't like to travel, I'm naturally curious about different cultures in the world, etc. But it's a business. It's very much predicated on relationships, as well. And, you know, it's interesting, because when you're talking about the travel industry and holidays, clearly, you know, you are making a big difference to people's lives when they go away. But it's a very, very tough business environment, because the margins are very thin. So you know, you have to be very, very savvy, and of course, you're affected by global shocks, etc. So really, from my point of view, I have never been the kind of person to just take along. So I love the challenge. I love the variety. The industry has been great. And of course, it started with sort of a love for business really, if you like and a love for people in different cultures. So that's how my my proportion of my time in the travel industry kind of started really so yeah. And it's been great


Farah Nanji  04:52

during that is that has there been a culture that surprised you?


Jeannette Linfoot  04:57

I think yeah, I mean, it's the Travel Industry is interesting, because on the outside, it's seen as very much a fun industry and quite frivolous, almost, you know, because you're talking about holidays and sunshine and exotic places in the world. And but the reality is, from a business point of view, it is quite it is a very tough environment. And certainly, you know, when I started my earlier career, you know, I started on a graduate scheme and worked my way up to ultimately becoming the CEO of the travel division for a company called saga where I had, you know, 400 million of turnover 1700 people on my team. But you know, when I actually shifted from being in the in the business to be in, in the boardroom, shall we say, you know, I very often was the only woman in the boardroom with a profit and loss account. So, you know, that was quite an interesting dynamic for me sort of navigating what was quite an alpha male environment, given that the industry is actually 75% Female as an average, but it drops off a cliff, when you get into those very, very senior executive roles. So yeah, that was an interesting dynamic, because people wouldn't necessarily perceive the difference there. It's changed a lot far over the years. But yeah, I mean, I had a great career, and I never, I never saw the negative, I just did the best job I could. And so I was okay. But for some people, it could be quite intimidating, and certainly was at certain times for me as well, you know,


Farah Nanji  06:27

are you are you quite glad you didn't have to sort of withstand the shock of COVID on the travel industry?


Jeannette Linfoot  06:33

Well, I'm still I'm still in the sector, actually. Because what I have now I have a portfolio of businesses and one of my businesses is advisory. So what I do, I do a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the Travel Leisure hospitality space. So actually, I was working on three deals pre COVID, where I was buying to travel businesses, for a corporate client, and then one for a private equity house. Now, of course, when COVID Here, all of those deals were just off, you know, they were just on pause, because very difficult to value and buy a travel business during a global pandemic. So even though I wasn't running a business on, you know, day in day out as a as a CEO, like I had been, I was still sort of very, I'm still very much in the industry. So yeah, it's been tough. It's been really difficult. It's been a terrible time. I mean, similar to, you know, the sectors that you're in far in terms of, you know, the the sort of sport and music sectors hospitality and leisure have been, you know, two of the sector's you know, most affected, actually globally. So it's been tough, hasn't it for everyone? Yeah,


Farah Nanji  07:32

it has Yeah, one of the first to sort of close down and certainly one of the last comeback as well. And we're, we're still here, and it's still a lot of businesses closed and all of that stuff. Going back to your sort of childhood, we always purpose driven, or is that is that something that came later in life? Was there something that maybe happened or? Or were you always quite ambitious and quiet sort of hungry to make an impact on this world?


Jeannette Linfoot  07:57

I think I always was actually far, but it's interesting because I grew up in a very normal family, you know, a very loving family had a great childhood growing up in Manchester could probably tell from my dulcet tones. And I was the youngest of three girls in my family. So I was the only one to go to university. You know, my elder sisters, they, they took a more traditional route, you know, they stayed local to Manchester, they settled down had beautiful families, and you know, and had had success in their own way. But they weren't necessarily like I was in the respective. I knew there was a big wide world out there. And I wanted to explore it. So I guess I was I was always a bit of a geek. You know, I always worked hard. I had a very strong work ethic, which I thank my parents for. And but yeah, I guess I was a bit of a black sheep, really, because I was the one that was sort of ready to leave and go out and explore. And yeah, sort of always been good with numbers and the commercial side of businesses. So that's where I ended up and ultimately becoming a CEO of some very large businesses. But yeah, I grew up from a very normal, humble beginnings, very lucky to have a loving family. We didn't want for anything, but we certainly weren't born into, you know, a wealth position at all, you know, so, say, I think I've always been quite ambitious, were very ambitious. But maybe when I was younger, I didn't exactly know what that looked like. I just knew there was more.


Farah Nanji  09:24

Yeah, we were talking off air about how much Manchester's developed as well. So it must be quite exciting, because it's become a, you know, a very sort of sophisticated and a lot of movement happening over there as well. The meaning of your name, Jeanette, is that God is gracious. And we like to ask our guests, you know, like, has been the meaning of their name ever played any meat like sort of subconscious or conscious role towards their journey or, like sort of how they live their life perhaps has it? Has it ever had an influence on you?


Jeannette Linfoot  09:54

Oh, gosh, what a brilliant question. I have never been asked that question. So that is the first and I've been interviewed many, many times. Yeah, well done on the honour on an innovative question. So I guess, I guess the short answer is not consciously No, because I haven't thought of it in that way. And I'm not necessarily a particularly religious person, but I am quite a spiritual person, I would say, you know, I'm very, I'm very sort of conscious around, you know, positive mindset. And I really believe if you raise your vibration, you're going to attract, you know, positive things to you. So I'm very sort of spiritual, I think there's something out there, which is kind of guiding girls it but you have to have an open mind to that. So I think there's, there's certainly an element of that. And then when the gracious part I guess, I've always been very appreciative of, you know, other people and the opportunities I've been given, you know, I was brought up with, with great values around, you know, never taking things for granted, treat other people as you would like to be treated, you know, be kind when you can help other people. And that's certainly, you know, values have stayed with me through my whole career and business life and personal life. So, yeah, I didn't think of it in that way, far. But as you've brought it up, maybe it has been subconsciously guiding


Farah Nanji  11:08

me. Very interesting. It's definitely I believe a lot in energy as well. So really interesting to hear your perspective on that. And, and the Yeah, the duality within that as well. So you want stated that the concept of your podcast came from a belief that we all have a greatness within us and with with the right mindset, and by being brave, bold, and brilliant, which is the name of your podcast, we can achieve anything we want in business, in our lives in our careers. So these are, you know, very powerful words, how do you personally sort of put that ethos into practice?


Jeannette Linfoot  11:41

Well, I think I mean, I like to believe that I, I, you know, I lead by example, you know, I would never ask someone else to do something I'm not prepared to do myself or have done. So on a daily basis, I challenged myself, you know, and I push out of my comfort zone. And I've always wanted to make an impact on this world. So, you know, when I decided to leave corporate world, for example, which was about three years ago, I didn't have a full roadmap of where I was going to head. But I knew that I was in my mid 40s. And that actually, the next phase of my life was really important. And I wanted to make an impact. And where that led me was, essentially to setting up a portfolio of my own businesses. So really going from that big corporate CEO, sort of personality and type to becoming very much an entrepreneur, now to walk away from a very, you know, a very positive and strong position where you're well rewarded, to jump out of that into into not knowing what was next. And that was quite brave of me at the time. And, you know, I continue to do that in terms of pushing forward, et cetera. And, and as I say, the bold I, I do, a lot of what I do is to give back and to help other people unlock their potential because I want to make an impact, I want to leave the world a better place than when I when I came into it. And I think the way I can do that is by helping others unlock their potential. So I do this, why I do the podcast, you know, to provide inspiration and content for people. It's why I do my mentoring, one to one to really help people scale up and grow. You know, it's why I do my really my advisory work with businesses to help them again, get to that next level. So yeah, I think I lead I lead by example, with those three words. Now, we can't be brilliant every day, can we because that's just real life. We all have good days and bad days. But I really try very hard to move forward and progress so that, you know, when I go to bed at night, I feel like I've achieved something with the day I've made a positive impact on someone else's life. And you know, I can kind of rest easy and know that I'm fundamentally a good person that's trying to do the best for others.


Farah Nanji  13:56

Absolutely. I love it. And so you mentioned they're going out of your comfort zone, what do you like to do to kind of to get yourself out of the norm and challenge your limits?


Jeannette Linfoot  14:06

Well, in business, a great example, actually, so we, I was explaining when we were just chatting before we started and I spent 27 years living in London, which is a city that I absolutely love, myself and my partner, Chris, we have a property investment business. And we've been invested in properties in Manchester. So we just decided, okay, let's leave our lovely home in London and we'll relocate up to Manchester because that's where we need to be for the business. So we've been doing been up here for 12 months and we've now just decided we are also going to expand into the luxury holiday let market down in South Wales. So we've decided again, let's move again because we need to be where we can have the biggest impact. So you know a lot of people the thought of leaving their, you know, place they love packing up, you know, dealing with renting the property out and all this kind of thing too. actually throw yourself into a new business venture definitely pushes out of my comfort zone from a business point of view. But I know that even if we don't achieve everything we want, we will have move forward, we'll have learned something, and hopefully the business will be successful. And I'm sure it will be with that sort of evolution. But actually, if you don't try, you'll never know. So, you know, I think it's so important that we do, we do feel the fear, but take the action anyway. So that's just one area. One example really, and then when it comes to things, like, you know, fitness, you know, I never used to be a runner. I remember running my first mile and practically crying, you know, now, I love running, it's the best thing that I could ever do. But you know, at the time, you know, it was it was something new and different. So yeah, I just think life's so exciting. And you can do whatever you want, you've just got to be clear on what it is. and believe in yourself and take the action. And that's the main thing, take the action, because so many people talk a good talk, but they don't actually follow up with, with taking the action, you know?


Farah Nanji  16:07

Absolutely, absolutely. I love it, I love it. And I think you know, perhaps a lot of that was even comes from, from the curiosity to travel. And when you travel, you are out of your comfort zone, you're in an unknown territory, unknown culture. And, and I can resonate a lot with just kind of packing up and going somewhere and not being intimidated by by that and just knowing what the right things are to like, make yourself feel at home when you're, you know, in that environment. So wishing you all the best for that move down to South Wales is a beautiful part of the country. And yeah, great place to do a luxury, sort of business as well. So through your podcast, and I know you're, you know, a mentor as well. What have been some of your key observations and experiences of building a business and and doing it with success?


Jeannette Linfoot  16:56

Yeah, I mean, there's there's a lot to this isn't I think the the common theme that I find is that, you know, you have to be really clear on what your reason why is, you know, whether that's the mission for your business or for yourself personally, because if you've not got that clarity, you don't provide the best offering in terms of the product and services, and you have to know your customer inside out. And so I think, you know, to be successful in business, being really clear on what you what you are, what you stand for, what your values are, the customer that you're serving allows you then to really differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Because otherwise, I think a lot of businesses, they, they maybe have a kind of a view, but it's not so crystal clear. And therefore they can't, you know, communicate that clearly to their teams to you know, to their suppliers to their customers, et cetera. So I think that is one thing to be successful in business, you absolutely have to, you have to know where you're heading. The second thing I would say is you've got to be all over your numbers. You have to know your numbers, you know, and actually, if you're a small business owner, you know, I I see both sides for it, because I've run very large corporate organisations, you know, footsie 100 footsie 250 listed businesses, but I also know what it's like to be an entrepreneur as well. But what I see with small and mid sized businesses is very often they're not so close to their numbers, and cash flow is not is very often what causes a business to fail. So you do have to have that rigour, that discipline and that structure, even if you're a small business, you still need to have the right financial metrics in place and be reviewing that. So you're all over your numbers. And then the third area really is all it is, and it's not the last area, all of these are important is the people, you know, because it what's the saying if you if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together. And I really believe that you know, who you spend time with who you have on your team, the people that you bring with you on the journey is ultimately what will allow you to be successful, but also for them to be successful. So I think, you know, a combination of those aspects has always stood me in good stead when it's come to business. And, and I guess the other thing as a leader is, you know, be authentic, be yourself, you know, accept that you can't know everything. And that is actually a strength as a leader to bring, you know, talent in, but to to not not shy away from the authenticity of who you are. Because actually people buy people they buy into leaders that show their vulnerability. So I think that's something that again, I've got better at over the years, which comes with a little bit of maturity, I think sometimes as well. Hmm.


Farah Nanji  19:42

Very solid advice. And I 100% agree with with everything you said they're talking a bit about clarity. I'm sure you get asked this question sometimes. And I'm curious to know what your sort of what your advice would be to others because I've been asked this question as well. And, you know, I think Similar to me, or you're extremely purpose driven, you know, you found your sort of your why's and the industries that you gravitate towards. And I think sometimes, you know, it's lucky enough to know what you're passionate about. But then, of course, having the enabling that part of that passion and having all the stars aligned for you to go after is also extremely important. But you know, there are a lot of people who who struggled to find their actual purpose, you know, here and what what advice do you would you give to somebody who isn't sure, sort of what, what really their, their their purpose is, you know, their passion?


Jeannette Linfoot  20:30

Yeah, I think I think the first thing I would say, it's sort of okay to not know, for a period of time, because, you know, if we're all really honest, I don't think we every single point of our careers, business life and personalised, we've always known exactly what we want, you know, we might know a little bit. So I think the first thing is, I would say, give yourself a break. If you don't know, that's, that's, you know, don't beat yourself up. But take the time to get clear. Because when you have clarity, everything changes. So on a very practical basis, men, what I take my mentee clients through actually very often is what I call, like, a vision cascade model. So we start with the big purpose, you know, and there's some really meaty questions in there. What is your reason? Why, who do you want to become? What legacy? Do you want to you know, to leave for your your children, your family, etc? You know, what do you want written on your gravestone? You know, there's some pretty big, big things because this is important, but that that big picture, if you can get clear on what's really important to you there, then you can start to break that down into sort of focus areas, and then break it down into you know, key objectives and actions that you're going to take. So you can really cascade it down from the top to the bottom. But sometimes those questions are quite daunting. So another thing I recommend to people, if you don't know, if you're struggling to answer those big questions, start from the bottom up, and literally get a blank sheet of paper, and do a brainstorm of all the things you want. All the things you want in life, all the things you want to become. And they could be the smallest things or the biggest things, you know, it could be I want to start a charity in Africa, you know, it could be I actually really like that that red pair of lubra TOMS shoes that I saw, or it could be that, you know, actually, I just want to I want to have more time with my kids, you know, whatever it might be get it all out of your head and onto paper. And then once you've done that brain dump, you can start to group things together. And then that will help you then revisit those bigger questions and hopefully help you get the clarity of what you really want. And I think after you've got that, you can then start to be quite ruthless. And ask yourself how you're spending your time who you're spending time with? And is that serving you? Is it actually moving you towards your dreams? Or is it taking you further away or stopping you? So yeah, those are just some some sort of the ways that I have approached it over the years to help me get clear. And I am a big believer in your the routines in the morning as well. You know, I spend a lot of time, you know, I spend some time in silence, I do my affirmations, you know, whether that's in the shower, saying, oh, I want to be a multimillionaire, or I want to be a better mother or whatever it might be, you know, I say out loud, and then you start to train your subconscious brain, that this is a reality. And then I'm a big believer in visualisation, as well, you know, manifest in what that future future world looks like. And then I think you raise your vibration use and magical things start to happen. But you have to take the action, of course, as well.


Farah Nanji  23:40

Yeah, it's very true, you have to get kind of get out of your head a little bit and put it on paper. And then sort of come at it from from that sort of angle, because it can be overwhelming. There's so many options, and so many interesting things to do. You know, time is short. But you know, that's some really, really good advice. So thank you for sharing that you touched upon earlier, you know, being in industries that are sort of quite, although actually they have a lot of females in them. The actual when you get to towards the top there's there's not not that many females and you know, here we are living in the UK, obviously a progressive country, but diversity is still a prevailing issue. It's a topic that you're quite, you're quite passionate to champion. So when you're sort of advising or you're in that sort of driving seat, what do you believe are sort of the top ways that a leader can integrate that sort of inclusivity and diversity into their agenda?


Jeannette Linfoot  24:31

Yeah, I mean, I think there's two things there's, there's what can an organisation do to ensure that you have a diverse and inclusive culture? And then there's what can you as an individual do and both play a part. So I'm going to talk about I'll talk about it from a perspective of gender equality if you like, but this equally stands for you know, sexual orientation or racial background, anything really in terms of the wider diversity and inclusion so I'm massively passionate about But I think as an organisation, it has to start from the top. Now it doesn't start and finish there, it has to permeate throughout the whole organisation. But as a leader, you have to, in my opinion, fully buy into the perspective and the point that diverse teams, not only as the right thing to do from a societal point of view, but also achieve better results. And it's proven, it's proven time and time again, the commercial case is that, you know, organisations that have diverse boards and diverse leadership teams and diverse management teams perform better financially. So the commercial case should be clear, right? It amazes me that we still talk about this stuff, to be honest. But anyway, we are. So I think, you know, you have as a leader, you have to really fully buy into it yourself. And then I'm, I'm a massive believer that you know, what gets measured gets done. Now, I'm not saying I believe in quotas, so it's a different thing. But if you have a strategic priority for diversity and inclusion, then that must be on the agenda of your board meetings every month, or at least every quarter. And it needs to be a standing item so that you can actually track progress and how you're how you're doing. Because if it's not visible, it will get forgotten. It's not enough just to put a statement out there and then not to take action that's going to move you from A to B. So it has to be a strategic priority has to be on the agenda. And then you need a whole set of initiatives to ensure that you're creating the right culture and the right environment for diversity to flourish. So let's talk about you know, if you're talking about gender diversity that could be returned returned from maternity programmes for working mums, for example, it could be flexible working, are offered for pet for dads as well, you know, let's let's face it, you know, parenting is not just down to it's not just a female responsibility. But you know, you have to have policies, procedures in place that allow a diverse culture to flourish, you know, and very often, it takes years to build this, you know, so what's your Recruitment Policy? How are you bringing talent into the business at the more junior level, so they will become the future directors and the future CEOs. So there's a whole bunch of stuff in there, around the business and the responsibilities a leader and I really feel so strongly that this is, this is where we should be, we shouldn't even be talking about this stuff anymore. It should be even a non a non topic, but unfortunately, it is, you know, and if you think about the top 100 companies in the UK, the footsie 100 businesses, 6% have female CEOs 6% You know that I mean, that is crazy. In today's world, this is 2021. And yet, when boys and girls or men and women graduate from university, it's more or less 5050. So something happens between your early 20s. And let's just say, let's say most people are sort of late 30s, before they get to that sort of level, something happens. And there's a whole bunch of stuff that goes on. But you know, those are pretty shocking stats. Now, we have moved forward significantly, I can't say we haven't in terms of you know, diversity and inclusion, but there's still some way to go, we've made more progress with gender diversity, but we've made less progress when it comes to you know, cultural, LGBTQ diversity, you know, when it comes to people with disabilities, hidden overt, or, or visible disability. So there's still a long way to go. But I think those core principles for me is what needs to happen. But then I would also say the flip side. So the the answer to the question is around what does the individual do to ensure that they are, you know, putting themselves in the best foot forward really, so and some of this is behavioural, some of it is cultural. So what I tend to see a lot in particular with women is that even if you know they will have the capability to do a job. But they don't always believe it themselves was coming back to that mindset, that self belief, you know, so being brave, which is one of the key words in my podcast, you know, as a woman, sometimes you do have to be a little bit braver, maybe, and you know, push yourself forward, go for the promotion, keep your hand up is what I say you know, don't don't shy away, present yourself in the right way but but don't back off. Because if you do, you know, you won't get seen and you know, you wouldn't you shouldn't leave your career development or your or your business in the hands of somebody else. You do have to put yourself in the way of opportunity, you know, and that might be volunteering for a certain project or going for a promotion if you don't get the promotion asking for the feedback, you know, actually negotiating an increase in your package or salary etc, you know, tends to be Be, it's not not not always the case. But it does tend to be that men are a little bit more confident at doing this. And you know, they won't they will look at a guy would look at an advert for a job. And they maybe they can do 70% of the job, and maybe there's 30%, they haven't got direct experience of, they'll ignore the 30% and go for it anyway. Right. Whereas as a female are more typical responses, focusing on the 30% that you can't do, and maybe not even applying for the job. You know, so So as I say, I'm making a bit of a generalisation Farah, but there's some behavioural stuff as well. And this is where having mentors, coaches, people in your life role models that can kind of help you. You know, I'm a big believer in my career, I've always and if you think you're, you're kind of climbing the ladder, in your, in your, your career in your business, I'm a big believer in putting my hand down to pull the next woman up. And I think that is a responsibility that each and every one of us should, should take take forward. Because it's so important that we do that whether it's majeure, as I say, any any aspects of diversity, what are you doing, personally, to help the next person progress their career? What are you What are you doing? Or are you perpetuating, you know, behaviours that have been in long standard in an organisation so hand on heart, are you doing enough? Are you doing enough as a leader are you doing enough as an individual because you have to also walk the walk and talk the talk? I believe so. Sorry, there's quite a lot in there far, but I'm really passionate about it. It's something I've spent many years, you know, moving, moving, hopefully moving the dial in a small way that I can throughout all of this. Hey, you,


Farah Nanji  31:43

we hope you're enjoying today's episode. We're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series. And we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tier to every level from earlybird tiers where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers, to our VIP mission maker tears where your Epic Rewards like exclusive footage that never gets aired the chance to submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them, DJ lessons, one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure making merchandise, you can start supporting us for less than what it cost you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to forward slash mission makers. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. No, absolutely. I love everything that you're saying. And it's great to hear the passion come through. And, you know, like the industries I'm in also are extremely male dominated. I think in music, it's like 2% of producers are female, which is just, you know, absurd. And you come across, you know, you can sometimes come across extremely ridiculous statements, you know, of belief, actual belief that, you know, women can't actually produce and all that stuff, which is just ridiculous. Because it's a skill set. It's not something determined by your gender. But something you said there about, you know, the 6% in these sort of large corporate corporations, sorry, being at the C suite level. You know, when you're in the travel industry, did you feel that there's like a resistance, I mean, we're still today hearing about issues like with BA, you know, these kinds of issues coming up about this diversity and inclusion topic and and seeing that, you know, a company that represents our nation at the end of the day, you know, sort of has has these biassed views. Do you? Did you ever sort of see a resistance in the travel industry towards that towards that topic?


Jeannette Linfoot  33:31

You know, having my personal experience, even though as I say, I was very often the only woman in the boardroom, I didn't have a very negative personal experience. You know, I've had, I've been very lucky to have had amazing male bosses and amazing female bosses as well throughout my career. So I've been very lucky in that sense. And so I think it's more when I was in that position. It was more endemic. It was more historic, if you like, and I'd like to think the world has changed significantly. You know, if you take say EasyJet as an airline, and I know Johan Lundgren, who is the Group CEO very well, I interviewed him for my podcast, actually, and also a lady called Chris Brown, who was the chief operating officer for EasyJet. You know, they may had a strategic priority to get more female pilots into into the into the into EasyJet. So they set a very overt target for that. And, you know, they took action to absolutely which started with going into schools, you know, with, to speak to, you know, men and we're good boys and girls in schools and educators to say, Listen, you could be a pilot to do not think just because you're a woman that you can't achieve this. So you know, and EasyJet, I don't know what the exact numbers are. Now, I'm probably slightly out of date, but they're certainly north of 20%. Yeah, they pretty much was like 1% female pilots and they've really shifted the day There was still some way to go. But that's a good example where, you know, in aviation, and in a sector that had been very male dominated the same with engineers, you know, and equally, I would like to see more female, more male HR directors, you know, because, again, there's so few, actually, it's the other way, you know, so So gender inequality isn't just all about, you know, female inequality, it's men as well, you know, if you think about male nurses, you know, that there's a very, again, a much smaller proportion yet, you know, why can't a man be as as good a nurse as a woman? Of course, you can, you know, so I think it's not just one sided. But yeah, I never had a personal problem, but there, there is still an imbalance. And I think that a lot of that comes down to the pipeline of getting people getting women into those sort of junior management and middle management, and then senior management roles, you know, preparing them for the boardroom. But also, you know, as, as women, you know, a lot of women will take a break to have children. So how do you make sure that during that time, a woman isn't disconnected from the, from the business, and that they are welcomed back in, and they're able to actually do that in a way that has flexibility, so where that whereby they can, you know, still do a great job, but also be a great mom, you know, so I think a lot of it is down to historic issues that have been around a long time where, you know, the dial is changing, thankfully, but it does take time for that to come through and to actually show up in reality, because, you know, if I think about my career, you know, I got my first C suite role when I was in my early 30s, you know, so from from graduates, 10 years, you know, before, naturally, you're going to have the experience and the knowledge to be in a position like that. So it doesn't just happen overnight, unfortunately. But But having said that, I see, you know, in the world that I'm in our property investing that actually is, is pretty equal, you know, so not so much when it comes to, you know, builders and trades, people have search test studies and more bias towards men. But from a property investment point of view, it's pretty 5050, actually men and women, and that is partly because, you know, you can actually invest in property and be very, very successful investor with a built in a significant portfolio of properties like like wheat, like we've done, and you don't have to do a nine to five to do that you can fit it around your other, your other priorities and your other commitments. So you know, that in itself demonstrates it's you've got to have the right environment to allow men and women to be able to be their whole selves and be able to fulfil their responsibilities at the same time as their business responsibilities.


Farah Nanji  37:52

Yeah, no. 100%. And, yes, I think it's extremely important that the messages that you're you're exposed to as a child, you know, is it challenges the Norman it as you say, sort of shows you can be that that female pilot, you can be that RAF fighter, you know, if you want the world really is your oyster, and then once you're there, and you've got to that position, as you say, even when you haven't got to a position just throughout that journey, like helping the people, you know, we're also on a similar trajectory. And, and it makes a huge, huge, huge difference to have that, to have that support network behind you. So 100 100%, you mentioned earlier about sort of being, you know, coming from that corporate sort of lens, and then and then and then suddenly changing to like, sort of the entrepreneurship journey. So what sort of sparked your desire to kind of get out of that environment? And and just totally sort of take take the plunge? Did you feel maybe you achieved what you wanted to or the challenges when were there any more or like, what what was the sort of the spark towards that?


Jeannette Linfoot  38:54

Yeah, interesting question. Well, you know, I was never one of these people that said, they hated their jobs or hated the corporate world, you know, you do hear that a lot in the entrepreneurial space. So that wasn't me. I always love the roles I've done. I've, you know, had a fabulous career in the corporate world. You know, I mean, I think about it, gosh, you know, I was buying and running businesses in Russia, China, India, all over the world. I remember going and being, you know, tapped on the shoulder and saying, Hey, do you fancy going to Russia to buy three businesses for two? And I've never bought a business? I didn't speak Russian either. So well, you know, how bad can it be? I'll give it a go. You know, so the experiences that I've had I'm very grateful for in the corporate life, but I guess where I was, I got to my mid 40s. And I'd been very successful in the corporate life, you know, I'd got to become CEO, which I really wanted to do. I wanted to make an impact, turn a business, turn businesses around and really, you know, create amazing experiences for our customers and for the teams etc, and get the financial results. So I had achieved a lot. But I got to my mid 40s, and I kind of thought, Well, what do I want from this next phase of my life, and you know, we don't have kids actually, but myself and my partner, Chris, Chris is 10 years older than me. So, you know, not that he's an old farts or anything, you know, he's really, really cool. And we're in really good health. So very fortunate for that. But Chris had retired from his corporate life, and we were two and he's 10 years older. So you do naturally think well, what's what's the next phase for us. And at that age, you're kind of, you've got all of that knowledge experience under your belt, you're much more self aware of kind of who you are as a person and what you really want from life. And you know, you, you're aware that you the next few years are the next 1020 years are quite important. Because you are, I hate to say it, gosh, you're so much younger than me very jealous, but you know, you are middle aged, like, Oh, my God, how did that happen? I can't believe I'm the age I am. So you're sort of got all this knowledge experience, but then you're aware of your mortality, as well. And that, you know, time counts, when you when you're in your 20s, you just trot along and you enjoy life. And you know, it's different. But when you get to the 40s, and your 50s, it does feel different. So yeah, so I, we sat down and said, actually, what do we want, and we wanted freedom, choice, flexibility, we wanted to have multiple streams of income, so that I wasn't just, you know, reliant on one source of income mean, I was always very well rewarded for the roles that I did. So don't get me wrong, but you still have to exchange your time for money, you don't get paid that money if you don't turn up. And so So, you know, our decision to go into property, in particular, we'd always done various property investments over the years, but not significantly as a proper business was to create passive income. Because essentially, you know, if you invest in property, you know, you it's not it sounds a little bit simple this, but you do make money while you sleep. You know, and you don't have to be exchanging your time for money, plus, you've got the growth in, you know, in terms of equity, growth in the value of the properties, et cetera. So it's not always easy. But once you get going, and you you've established yourself, it's a great way to not, you know, to have money coming in, even when you don't have to actually turn up for work. So that then gives you freedom, choice, flexibility, you know, I mean, I've always, we've loved travelling in terms of our our professional career, but to be able to just decide she was going to go up, she was go away for three months backpacking around South America. Yeah, let's do it, we can do that, you know, that is is such a lovely position to be in. So it was really a lifestyle choice. But also, you know, I've made significant money for other businesses. And I've been well rewarded. But then it comes a time you go, you know what, let's actually invest our capital to create significant wealth for ourselves, which we can then deploy for not only for the lifestyle we want to live, but also leave a really nice legacy for my nieces and nephews and to do good by other people, too. So yeah, there was quite a bit a bit around sort of finding what that next thing was going to be. But you know, now I've got three businesses. So I have my board advisory business where I do a lot of mergers, acquisitions, advisory work, I help businesses turnaround and growth, which I love, non exec work, non exec director work, I then have my mentor in business, because I'm really passionate about helping other people unlock their potential, we have our property investment business, which is Chris and I run that together. And then I've got my podcast, which is a real passion for me around, you know, cuz I get to speak to really interesting people and learn a lot myself. So it's nice to have the variety, choice and flexibility. And I can dial up or dial down as much or as little as I like, now Never say never. Because if an amazing role came up, and it was just too good, too good an opportunity. Well, then, who knows, but certainly where I am today, I feel, you know, incredibly lucky. And, but I know that I've got there, because of the hard work, the focus, the belief that I've worked on myself over the years, you know, no one has just sort of come along and given me this. You know, so yeah, that was really how it how it evolved.


Farah Nanji  44:22

Hmm, fascinating. What would be your top tips for someone who wanted to get on onto the property ladder today?


Jeannette Linfoot  44:30

Yeah, I mean, there's so many different things that you can do with property. So the first thing I would say is get yourself educated. You know, because there are certain property strategies which are a little less less hands on, shall we say, don't require as much time commitment, but maybe the returns are slightly lower. Or there's you know, lots of property strategies which are higher cash flow in but require a bit more input of your time. So I think the first thing you need to understand where does it fit into your overall picture? is it that you want to be a full time property investor over, you know, over a period of time? Or is it actually you just want to create a nice little nest egg and pension fund for yourself. So I think the first thing is, get a little bit of clarity around what you're trying to achieve from property, get yourself educated, and then decide which is going to be the right route for you. And then I would just say, start, because, you know, the first deal you do won't necessarily be the best deal. And in fact, the chances are, it won't be, but you will learn a lot. And you know, I think it's very much around, don't wait to buy property by property and wait. Because unless you make an absolute catastrophe on the right, you can make mistakes, of course you can in this. But if you buy something, which is pretty solid, you know, over time, it should go up, you know, if you look at the law of averages, unless you buy something in an area that's clearly you know, problematic or whatever. So, yeah, get yourself educated, decide where it fits into your overall plan for your life and kind of your business career. And then, and then really, yeah, get started. But you don't have to have your own money, you know, you can actually still invest in property using other people's money. So very often a block of wool for people will be well haven't got the cash. Well, there's different ways that you can actually finance an investment in properties. So, you know, again, coming back to knowing your numbers, really, and what the options are available to you will mean that you can then you know, you push out of that comfort zone of not doing it and just make a start. But you'll never look back. Well, I don't think you'll ever look back anyway, we certainly haven't.


Farah Nanji  46:40

Definitely. Very interesting. Are there any resources you could recommend to anybody who's interested in getting towards that journey? Yeah, there's


Jeannette Linfoot  46:46

loads actually. I mean, I mean, the great thing in today's world, is that there's a lot of free content isn't there on online, you know, so. So there's stacks out there. And I mean, we actually are very well, we were really lucky because we're mentored by two gentlemen, actually called Rob Moore and Mark Homer. And they are the founders of an organisation called progressive property. So they have a significant property portfolio themselves, but they also have the largest property education business in the UK. So we're mentor directly by by Robert marks are very lucky in that sense. But actually, if you check out progressive property, for example, you know, Facebook groups and online, there's lots of great content there that you can absorb lots of, you know, reading from Rob Moore and Mark homer in particular podcasts. So yeah, I mean, that's a natural place to start, get yourself educated, get into it, get your head around it all, and then go from there. Rarely, but and also, now that we're out of sort of lockdown, local property networking groups can be a fantastic way to meet people that will actually one, they'll, they'll kind of give you some inspiration, you know, if you're listening to people speak, et cetera, but could also be very, very useful in terms of building your network in that world. So you know, so Property Investment Network is one of them, you know, so have just go onto Google and Google property, property, network meetings, wherever you are. And that will then allow you to find those as well. So I think there's a, there's a big value around being in a room with people as well, and chatting and getting to know each other, etc. And, you know, tell everyone what your what you're going to do. Because when you tell people what you what you do one, it kind of holds you accountable to a certain degree, because you've put it out there to the world. So if you say I'm a property investor, you know, you actually start to believe that you are even if you're early on in your journey, and then before you know it, you know, those opportunities will come up. So networking is really important, you know, go into the estate agent, start building relationship, all of that kind of good stuff. And it's often the things that people don't talk about the most people will talk about the deals and how big is your portfolio? And what's your gross development value? And all of these, what's your yields, you're getting, still talk about all this stuff. But they often don't talk about the foundational things that you need to do when getting into property, or starting any other business, to be honest. But yeah, no, I'm really passionate about it. And it certainly allowed us to have freedom, choice, flexibility in our lives. So yeah, it's a great it's a great area to get into, if you can,


Farah Nanji  49:27

definitely, yeah, the foundation is absolutely critical. So you mentioned that you've got, you know, a really good mentor or mentors in in in that world. And you yourself coach or mentor. Do you have any other people that that sort of mentor you that you sort of look up to or get that sort of support through?


Jeannette Linfoot  49:48

Yeah, you know, I've been really lucky throughout my career, because at different times, I've always had mentors or coaches. Now the two are different, you know, people often use their terms into changeably they are different. A coach is someone that will ask you intelligent questions to you come up with the answer yourself. And very often would be an accredited coach, you know, with a professional qualification. So and you know, but may not have had direct experience in your industry or your sector, a mentor is someone that essentially has been there and done it. So they can advise you based on their personal experience. So I'm always very clear, I am not a coach, because I'm not a qualified coach. But I am a mentor, because I know what it's like to get into the boardroom. I know what it's like to buy a business, sell a business, start a business, grow a business, navigate the corporate world, you know, because I've been there and I've done it. So as a mentor, that's really important. So for me, I've always had mentors and coaches, and it's always catapulted me to the next level. So you know, there's a gentleman who has been an informal mentor, gosh, since I would say 2010. Actually, a gentle actually earlier than that maybe 2008 gentleman called Richard Prosser. And Richard was my boss at tui. So when I got approached to go to Russia, it was Richard that approached me and said, Hey, Jeanette, how'd you fancy go into Russia, where we're investing in the emerging markets and we'd really like you to go over there and lead the whole thing. So he gave me an opportunity he saw something in me back then that I probably didn't see myself and then all these years later, he's no longer my boss we've both moved on and you know, got Scott's sort of significantly different different lives now from where we were then. But he's always been there as a guiding light for me. So his his wonderful is a great sounding board very generous with his with his time as kind of, you know, evolved from being my boss to being a friend as well as a mentor. So he has been what a constant in my life for a long time. But you know, my partner Chris, and you know, having a strong partner that supports you and encourages you it can make it's made a massive difference to me, you know, I wouldn't be where I am today, if I didn't have the love support and encouragement of Chris in my life, you know, I really do do do realise that and but yeah, I you know, I love I listened to a lot of like, say, Tony Robbins. I love Tony Robbins. I've been on a few of his trainings and what have you. So very, very different style. You know, so So yeah, are we going to Unleash the Power Within when we're back in the room over in the States next year, I've got that in the calendar. So I think you can get inspiration and learning from so many different people. Mel Robbins is cool as well, you know, so there's so much isn't there, but learning from others, so you don't make the same mistakes is a smart thing to do.


Farah Nanji  52:42

I really believe knowledge is the most valuable currency. Priceless, really, who's a mentee that you're currently sort of developing that we should be watching out for?


Jeannette Linfoot  52:51

Oh, I can't give any names of my individual menses, it's all it's all confidential. But what I will say is that when I work with people, they absolutely maxed their potential. So I've just actually had one of my mentees, and he's in the corporate world, actually. And quite recently, I've helped him navigate an internal promotion, which is added in excess of 150,000 pounds to his income. So that's a huge jump up, you know, the and and the surreal values. So it just demonstrates the value. They you know, I've got another mentee who in his property businesses started from zero and has now got 3 million pounds worth of property. I've got another mentee who has got a portfolio of businesses very successful, but is started a new business. And that's on track to turnover 7 million, you know, so actually, I work with a mix of people. It's either entrepreneurial business owners that want to kind of already got experience, but they want to take the business to the next level, or add an extra business into their portfolio, or I work with people who are in the executive world that essentially are already have already got a great career behind them. But they're, they're looking for that next move normally into a C suite role or into the boardroom. So I kind of work with two types of types of individuals. I'm about to launch a mastermind programme as well, actually, which will allow me to be able to help more people together. Because one to one is very intense. It's great, but there's only so many hours in the day. So yeah, I'm incredibly proud of my mentees. In fact, I can mention one because he's actually recently done a public testimonial for me, and that is Wayne Smith. And Wayne is the founder of a company called Olympia boxing and what he does, he is community boxing. So he goes into it really makes a difference in schools, young people how they can get into boxing for their mental health or what you know, and fitness, et cetera. He's absolutely knocking it out of the park. And he's also a property investor as well. So he's got multiple businesses. So yeah, there's so many it's so many, so many opportunities when you work closely with someone to read this You know, step up?


Farah Nanji  55:01

Absolutely, definitely. So we're moving into our audience q&a, we've had a question come in from someone that we've picked out. So this is come from Neve and Ireland, what is your sort of top advice for actually working with your life partner?


Jeannette Linfoot  55:16

Oh, great question. Well, why would say is, you need to appreciate each other's strengths. And let's not say weaknesses, shall we just say less stronger. Because I think when you're in business with your life partner, it can be quite tricky sometimes, because the lines can get a little bit blurred. And, you know, I think when you're if you're setting up a business, or if you're in a more established business, I would take a long, hard look at where your natural skill set, and then try and divide your efforts and focus accordingly. So I'll give you an example. So Chris, and I, in our property business, you know, I focus very much on the financial planning, tax, legal strategy, working with our investors, etc. So very much on on that side of things, Chris is much more operational, finding the deals, negotiating the terms, you know, dealing with the sort of our, our building partners, etc, when we're doing refurbs, and things like that. So we have quite separate separate roles in our business, which we've defined, when we first started out, we were tripping each other up. And you know, you're kind of bit of jockeying for position, and you know, all of that because you're finding your feet. So I think it's really important to do that. And then the other thing I would say is, it's harder when you run a business, and because it is your own money, as well, it is different when you're with them when you're in a job even in a very senior job. So your the lines between your personal life and your work life become much more blurred, which you know, isn't a bad thing. But you also need to have clearly defined pupil and family time as well. Because otherwise you can find that you're you're you're eating and sleeping and breathe in the business. And all you're talking about is the business as opposed to actually going out and having date night, or whatever it might be. So I think also remember that if you're in business with your partner, that is also your life partner. And those roles, you know, are different. And I'm not saying you can completely separate the two nor should you, but make time for each other as a couple as well outside of outside of the business.


Farah Nanji  57:26

Yeah, don't always bring it home. The work right? And the second question we've had come in from Julia, who's a budding entrepreneur leading a very successful business at the moment, he asked when you're leading huge teams, was there a particular activity you'd like to do for those teams to totally throw them outside of their comfort zone? And kind of develop that bond between the team?


Jeannette Linfoot  57:49

Brilliant question, I love this. Yeah. So I used to always love doing off site events. Because you know, when you when you're in a very high pressure business, which most of us are at certain points, either as a team member or as the leader, you know, you're you're, you're on the hook all the time, aren't you for the performance, the delivery, and that can be quite stressful. So very often, that can mean you don't get the creative space, or the opportunity to spend time together. So at least once or twice a year, typically twice a year, I would take my team off site. And we would have a day sort of strategy planning, so much more around brainstorming, big picture thinking, really allowing the team ideas to come out. Because when you're in the office in that environment, often you don't have the creative space to do that. So I think that's, that has always been a really good, good way to sort of remove yourself from the normal day to day working environment, get creative, think longer term, not just the short term, but then also combine that with some really nice social things as well. So I'd normally do one or two nights away as part of that, we were very lucky because when I was in, in the travel industry, you know, very often when I'd go overseas, you know, I take the team over, you know, on a resort visit. So we'd combined some business, strategic planning and brainstorming, and a nice social, you know, environment to take the boat out for the day or, you know, go on a beach barbecue, that kind of thing. But even if you're in the UK, you can still do that. And it doesn't all have to cost a fortune, you know, a member in my earlier career, actually, when I was heading up the lawn care programme for two, you know, it didn't really have a budget. So I ended up you know, bringing my team back to my house. We had an afternoon planning in the conservatory and then we got some beers and and you know, so it doesn't all have to cost a fortune. So I think even if you haven't got a big budget, you can still do things like that. But the principle of getting away from the normal environment, to creatively allow people to be themselves get to know each other. You get to bond over a beer in the bar where you're relaxed and you know people don't feel like they're they're always in a work situation. I think that's when the best relationships can can be built.


Farah Nanji  1:00:06

100% love it. So moving into our final section of our interview the today, Jeanette, and that's the quick fire round. So just a couple of seconds on each question. And we'll start with the first one. Do you believe luck exists?


Jeannette Linfoot  1:00:21

I think you make your own luck.


Farah Nanji  1:00:23

Okay, great. I agree with that as number two as a travel executive and veteran What is your favourite or top travel destination?


Jeannette Linfoot  1:00:31

Oh, so difficult. Argentina? Argentina,


Farah Nanji  1:00:35

mice and in that same vein, favourite airline? Oh, that


Jeannette Linfoot  1:00:40

is really difficult. Um, I love Emirates. Actually, Emirates is good.


Farah Nanji  1:00:46

Nice. Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?


Jeannette Linfoot  1:00:53

Small fish big pond, no big fish small pond. I've done both


Farah Nanji  1:01:00

big fish in a small pond. And lastly, we love to ask all our guests this question as the closing closing question, which is what are you most grateful for this month?


Jeannette Linfoot  1:01:13

Oh, I am grateful this month for my mum. Because she's had some health issues over the last few months. And she's through all of that. She's 84 She is my inspiration and I am so thankful that I can spend quality time with her. So yeah, this month I'm particularly grateful for my mom Doreen linfoot


Farah Nanji  1:01:31

Oh, love it. Well, wishing, wishing her all the best. And thank you so much for coming on mission makers today. We've learned a lot. And I'm sure our audience has taken away some really, really top tips. And when you launch your mastermind programme, we'll also put in a plug in, encourage our listeners to sign up to that as well.


Jeannette Linfoot  1:01:49

Oh, fantastic. Yeah, everyone is welcome. I just love to help people. So yeah.


Farah Nanji  1:01:54

Awesome. Well, we'll speak to you very soon, Jeanette. Have a lovely day. Thanks for bye. If you want to grab a copy of today's show notes, then head over to mission forward slash Jeanette lynfit. We will also find notes from all of our previous episodes. We've got some amazing guests coming on the show this season, so be sure to share the show with your friends and subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and wherever else you listen to your podcasts you can reach out to me at Mission makers are at DJ dot n one MJ on Instagram. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some really cool rewards like Virtual DJ lessons with me, and exclusive merchandise, don't forget to visit forward slash mission makers. Thank you for listening and until next time, keep it laser focused

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