Claire Quince, Co-Owner of CBQ Consulting based in rural Ballina, is a devotee of organisations taking a triple bottom line approach to their business – encompassing economic, social and environmental goals and measures. In a global context where businesses are increasingly being held to account for their stakeholder impact, it is imperative to integrate these elements to strategic planning and innovation.
Claire’s unique combination of strategic project management skills, business improvement, psychology and community development experience means she is uniquely placed to advise organisations navigating the choppy waters of change.
How has your professional background culminated in you starting CBQ Consulting?
I began my career working in five-star resorts, and quickly moved on to managing high profile events. I loved that world because it was a way for me to create memorable moments for people.
After a few years of experience and some further education, I shifted into the corporate world. I worked on strategic projects, mainly focused on community development and business improvement. This experience was all about clearing pathways for population and organisational change, and helping stakeholders though that change.
Then, I burnt out. As a remedy, I took a break from the corporate world to study psychology. This is when I learned the art of true communication and recognised the power of taking time to connect with others in an authentic way.
Creating and holding space for my clients while helping them through change is at the heart of what CBQ Consulting offers. Increasingly, businesses are realising the importance of recognising human factors as part of their overall planning. My approach is to help build businesses that measure their bottom line through social and environmental objectives, as well as economic outcomes.
What does genuine customer engagement look like for organisations?
Time and time again I see businesses working in isolation. Change happens fast and often the instigator forgets anyone not in their head needs to be taken on a journey from beginning to end. Regardless of if we’re thinking about staff, customers, suppliers or stakeholders in general, when it comes to human engagement the key is to listen first and communicate consistently.
We’ve all fallen prey to the ferocious energy of an exciting new idea or way of thinking. Often, the difference between the idea taking hold or not is the successful engagement of others. You don’t have to necessarily take people’s suggestions or beliefs on board, but you do need to make them feel heard and understood. Once you do this, it’s far more likely they will hear and understand you.
Tell us about your newest business offering, and what’s led to this offering.
CBQ Consulting started out providing development and improvement advice to small business owners and organisations. This took the form of one-on-one sessions, team workshops and project management.
Personally, my favourite way of working is through small group facilitation and training. My passion is helping people develop, and I was drawn to work with clients in the social service sector so I created a suite of training programs called SHINE, CREATE and THRIVE.
They are designed to help people living with complex barriers to employment gain the skills and confidence to join the workforce (SHINE) or start a business (CREATE) and deal with social challenges of working (THRIVE).
How did Playroom Startup begin?
It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realised the importance of gender equality in business. To be honest, I’d never really felt badly done by in the workplace simply because I was female. Perhaps I was lucky, or maybe just numb to it. Either way, I’d learned to navigate opportunities to my advantage.
This changed suddenly when I became pregnant and even more so when my son was born. I was working in a corporate role at the time and pretty soon after I announced my pregnancy, I felt the organisation begin to pull away. I was then made redundant whilst on maternity leave.
After realising the difficulty of finding well paid flexible employment that was also challenging and fulfilling, I knew I needed to start my own business and include a platform to support other women on a similar journey.
Playroom Startup is a business education program specifically designed for entrepreneurial women with children.
I’d gone through the process of starting a business once before, but without kids and this time was way harder. These days it’s more like shuffle than hustle, I need to be creative with my time. Burnout isn’t something you can risk when you have little people depending on you.
Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I realised being a mum while running a business is possible, but it presents a new set of unique challenges. Unlike other business training programs, Playroom Startup offers the skills needed to run a successful a business, as well as emotional support unique to motherhood.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Back yourself and remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. You can have it all, perhaps just not all at once.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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