If you are a career woman in 2017 and you haven't yet heard of the Step Up Club, your life is about to change. This London based endeavor is spear headed by Alice Olins and Phanella Fine. Alice spent a decade working as a fashion writer; including a stint as the features fashion editor at MarieClaire. Phanella began her career as an international finance attorney working billion dollar deals in New York/London, eventually getting promoted to the first ever female hedge fund manager of JP Morgan. Need career (or life) advice? I couldn't find better women to ask.
Together, Alice and Phanella formed Step Up Club. I was graciously granted an interview that I am ECSTATIC to share with you below.
Kelly: How would you describe Step Up Club to someone who has never heard of it?
Step Up Club: The Step Up Club is a modern voice in the women's career conversation. Conscious that we’re all time poor, it's our belief that in just 10 Minutes a Day all of us can boost our confidence, expand our network and reach our individual type success.
Founded and run by career experts, Alice Olins and Phanella Mayall Fine, the Step Up Club isn’t just changing the way we talk about careers, it’s broadcasting a message of self-belief and practical determination through every corner of today’s workplace, both at a grassroots level and in collaborations with well-known brands.
The Step Up Club is currently fronting Karen’s Millen’s global #WomenWhoCan campaign, and its launch video was watched over 1.5 million times in its first 3 weeks. Our book, Step Up: Confidence, Success and Your Stellar Career in 10 Minutes A Day [Random House], continues our unique approach to career development and made the front cover of the Daily Telegraph, as well as being featured in Marie Claire, Red Magazine and The Times.
Our latest venture, Step Up School, is an innovative, year-long programme designed to take one group of women through a life-changing career journey. We think what's most exciting about Step Up is where we're heading. Our revolutionary Step Up School Online will launch early next year, alongside even more big brand collaborations, exciting events and inventive content that always blends substance with style.
K: Who are Phanella and Alice?
Step Up Club: We are career experts and the Step Up Club’s stylish, practical and support approach is a true mix of us both. Phanella is an accredited executive coach with a background in corporate law and equity finance. Alice is a fashion and lifestyle journalist with previous tenures at some of the UK’s biggest broadsheets and glossies.
K: Do you get enough sleep at night? Is this something that matters to you?
Step Up Club: Balance is a key part of our Step Up message and we’re careful to practice what we preach. In the early days of Step Up, when it was very much a passion project on the side of our busy day jobs, we frequently worked well into the night on our Step Up ambitions. But as Step Up has grown, we’ve become better at putting in boundaries around our time - helped by our hire of a full time assistant. Except in the face of a huge deadline, we switch off our laptops by 9pm each night and leave our phones switched off downstairs until after breakfast the next morning. The result: more, better sleep.
K: How old were you when you realized you wanted to make a lasting impact on the world?
Phanella: As a child growing up in New York, my dream job was to be President of the United States. So I’ve pretty much wanted to have a big impact from day 1.
Alice: I think I've always had a belief that I could do something big; that life was there for the taking. I don't think I've ever had a lightbulb moment, but I've certainly always dreamt big.
K: What, in your opinion, should people be reading?
Step Up Club: Our book: Step Up: Confidence, Success and Your Stellar Career in 10 Minutes a Day. It’s yet to come out in the US, but is available on Amazon world wide. It remains one of our greatest achievements: a dense, practical guide combined with an emotionally supportive, engaging tone of voice. We’ve had emails from readers all over the world telling us how it’s changed their career journey, ambition and self-belief so hopefully we’re not too biased!
K: What are you looking forward to in the next year?
Step Up Club: The launch of Step Up School is a huge one for us. The ability to spread our support to women across the world is a truly exciting prospect.
K: Wardrobe staples?
Alice: Jean + trainers/stupidly high heels (depending on the situation) + fresh, bouncy hair + silk blouse. Oh and a nice handbag. Done.
Phanella: Floral dress, knitted sweater or jacket and heels. Plus I am surgically attached to my red lipstick.
K: How do you find balance between work and family life?
Phanella: Organisation is one of my strong suits and this has always fed into relatively clear boundaries between work and family lives. But the more Step Up grows, the tougher this is getting. When work starts to encroach too much, I reset my boundaries and remind myself of my priorities.
Alice: I have just downloaded an app called Moment, which measures your phone use. Just this alone, has helped me feel more balanced. In today's crazy world, I think balance is as much a mindset as it is a practical solution - work and life are inextricably blended, but if I can snatch time away from the emails, the phone beeping and the general feeling of being connected, I feel automatically more balanced. My children demand me to be disconnected, and I love just kicking back, knowing that my phone is switched off, and getting stuck into their little worlds.
K: Little luxury you can’t live without?
Phanella: I love my sleep so a brilliantly comfortable bed with great cotton sheets.
Alice: Time alone to go to the gym.
K: Best piece of advice you ever received?
Phanella: Stop taking the broken cookie. At home, women are often brought up to put themselves last, to support others first and take the broken cookie for themselves. But at work, you need to learn to take the whole cookie - the credit, the plum assignment, the pay rise - for yourself.
Alice: There isn't one pithy quote that comes to mind, rather a whole host of women who have shown me what is possible in life; that we can all stay true to ourselves, be kind, determined, tough and vulnerable, and achieve the goals - and life - we want.