Multi-award-winning business owner, Marian Evans is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Director and Non-Executive Director.
With a background in financial services, Marian climbed the ranks to become one of the industry's youngest and only individuals to be both a Chartered Insurer and Chartered Broker responsible for a book of business of £58million.
She is a formidable Property Investor (including Llansteffan Castle in Wales) as well as the founder of Elevate Business Consultancy. As its Managing Director and qualified Executive Coach and Facilitator, she works with leaders of some of the UK's top organisations. Elevate BC offers Business Consultancy, Facilitation, Executive Coaching and Mentoring, Leadership Training and Development to support individuals and businesses to maximize their potential and return on investment.
Hi Marian! Tell us about Elevate BC and how it supports budding entrepreneurs.
Elevate BC is a solution-focused consultancy, so often entrepreneurs will come to us with their problems and we will help them find the solution. This is usually via either executive coaching, mentoring, consultancy, or a blend of all three. They may need some hands-on facilitation with their top team or some specific advice in terms of increasing the performance of their employees. So, whatever it is, we pride ourselves on mobilising the right individuals to help them find the right solution and consult them discreetly and confidentially to succeed.
How did it feel to win 'Inspirational Woman of the Decade'?
Absolutely mind-blowing, I just couldn't believe it! I have been very lucky to win quite a few awards in the proceeding years beforehand. Growing up, I witnessed other people do great things and I never thought I was going to be one of those individuals that can inspire other people to achieve. I felt hugely humbled that people thought I was inspirational enough to win such an award. It was fabulous but at the same time, very emotional.
What have your greatest career achievements been?
I am very target driven and I am always running towards the next milestone. My greatest achievements would be each promotion; I was the first woman to be promoted into several positions that I held on to whilst going up the career ladder. Also, being one of the youngest and only women to be chartered as a broker and insurer before the age of 30. Being awarded ‘Inspirational Woman of the Decade’ was a massive achievement as well as winning the ‘UK Mentor of the Year Award’.
There have been so many wonderful career highlights but the ones that have had the biggest impact on me are the ones knowing that I've supported someone else to their success. There is no greater buzz than sitting on the sidelines and seeing someone else create or achieve amazing things they never thought they were capable of.
Likewise, what have been your greatest challenges?
There has been plenty of challenges along the way. The odds have been stacked against me during my career. For example, being a farmer's daughter, being the first of my family to go to university and having to do all my education in Welsh and then switching to English when I did my degree at UWE in Bristol. I carried on studying whilst I was working full-time to try and gain an advantage in a very male-dominated sector. Lots of people were not expecting a young woman from rural Wales to amount to an awful lot. I suppose in some ways, those views made me even more determined.
I have had plenty of imposter syndrome and I battled with thinking I was not good enough. But I’ve overcome a lot of this by carrying on and proving to myself that I can do it. Over the years, I have also had some health scares and having two amazing daughters whilst being ambitious has been a challenge in itself.
What advice would you give to young girls at the start of their careers?
Go for it! You have to absolutely feel the fear and do it nonetheless. Nothing is achieved by holding back. I remember reading a couple of books in my early 20s that set the tone that if you really wanted something, you have to go and get it. One of those books was ‘Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office’. Whilst it is important to be a nice and a good person, you also need to be determined, tenacious and courageous. In addition, being authentic is key and learning what you are good at. With this, you can lean into your key strengths and that will set you apart from others. Also, if you need help, then you should always ask for it. There are plenty of people out there who are generous with their time to help others along the route.
What would you say has been the secret to your success?
To me, success is about feeling fulfilled and feeling like you have contributed and made a difference. The secret to that for me has been energy, being positive, believing in the potential of others and helping people smash through the glass ceilings. You must be tenacious and have the right mindset. You need to be prepared to work hard but it is also important to enjoy it along the way because success is not about the material things, it's about looking back and knowing you have done something amazing. I also feel that I'm very rarely satisfied and whilst in some ways that's a bit sad, it does mean that the potential is limitless. I am always thinking about the next thing, which I think is an exciting way to live your life!