Founders Diaries: Michaela Jeffery-Morrison on building a 'Women in Tech' fempire
6 min read
10 May 2018
Real Business gets to know Michaela Jeffery-Morrison, the woman behind London's growing Women in Tech fempire, Maddox Events.
Founder: Michaela Jeffery-Morrison
Company: Maddox Events
Your business in a sentence: We are the world’s only company dedicated to creating large-scale conferences which champion diversity and inclusion.
Your legacy: what do you want your business to be remembered for?
In two years our Women in Tech World Series has grown from one event in London to seven events globally. Our London event, Women of Silicon Roundabout, has grown from 300 attendees to over 4,000. We also recently launched events in Finance and Construction, with Law to come later this year.
This growth is testament to the positive impact we have on women’s careers, and in driving diversity and inclusion within businesses.
We want to be remembered for our positive impact on the gender gap, influencing culture change within industries, and empowering individuals to fulfil their potential.
Describe your business model
By selling tickets and partnering with businesses interested in championing minority groups, we are able to generate enough revenue to cover our costs and invest into growing our events around the world.
Therefore it’s crucial that we understand the needs of women and other minority groups within different industries, and provide tangible value. Through inspirational keynotes, panel discussions, classes and career development workshops, we provide all the content and networking opportunities needed for an individual to flourish.
How do you measure success?
To us, success is the impact we have on our attendees. We measure this by interacting as much as we can with our attendees at our events, and with post-event surveys. Only by providing incredible experiences can we grow sustainably.
What are your growth plans?
Over the next 12 months we will be launching events in Dubai, Dublin, South Africa, Hong Kong and Latin America.
How did you fund your business?
We have three co-founders who self-funded the business.
What is your biggest technology boost?
Common to most businesses, a robust customer relationship management system is crucial. Maintaining great relationships with attendees and clients is key. We also rely on having a flexible, easy to use web content management system, because our events never stand still – they are developing on a daily basis.
In five years…
We see ourselves as being the ‘go to organisers’ of global events for minority groups and business wanting to be truly diverse and inclusive in all large industries.
Your highest point was…
Engineering the largest women in tech conference and in two and a half years seeing it grow from 300 to over 4,000 people.
Your lowest point was…
So far we have been fortunate enough not to have had any major mistakes that have significantly impacted us. However, we have definitely learned the importance of bringing A class talent to the business. And as with any new business, we have had to pivot our products slightly at times as we’ve learnt what our market really needs and wants.
If you could go back in time, what would tell your younger self?
It’s not a bad thing if you don’t know everything that’s going to happen to you. In fact, it is a good thing because you are on a journey, which means things will change. And in the bad times, rather than asking “why did this happen to me” to ask “what lessons can I learn?”.
What is your biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs?
Know your weaknesses and recruit for them. If you are starting out build a business with people who have different and complimentary skill sets to you.
Guilty pleasure: What’s a vice, hobby or side-project you indulge in?
I’m planning to run my own bar!
What would make you a better leader?
Continuing self-development by reading more books, attending conferences, growing my network and undertaking more management and leadership training.
What’s the one app you use the most?
Whatsapp. To me it demonstrates the importance of a great name and a product that simply does the job its customers want. There are many other message apps out there, and many were pushed out of the market earlier on, but they tend to overcomplicate the user experience by offering more features than are actually needed.
What does a day in your life look like?
I make sure I wake up early as I am most productive earlier in the day. Being disciplined in this way to maximise my productivity is vital. Similarly I eat well, consume lots of water and prioritise going to the gym for an hour a day. Everything else is work work work.
What’s on your reading list right now?
The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries.
On your watch list right now?
The Defiant Ones