Courageous Conversation: With Carol Burrow

Brand consultancy and design studio Single Malt have started an exciting series. The series, Courageous Conversation, covers topics from inequality, the gender pay gap and women in design right through to debates around “print is dead” and the struggle of the work/life balance.  The first post in the series discussed the prevalent issue surrounding the number of females in senior design roles, the stats are appalling, check it out here.

As the second post in our Courageous Conversation series, this post discusses all things coaching, technology and choosing work as a way of living with Majik House's Carol Burrow. 

We first met Carol during a pitch for a new website for Majik House back in 2016 and we have had a firm client relationship and friendship ever since. Working closely with Majik House and their new brand, Absoluxe Suites.

Carol is an inspirational business leader and coach, we were delighted to sit down with her and find out a bit more about her role and business life.

What is your role at Majik House? 

My title is Business Director, but what that really means is that I am very involved across Majik House and produce the overall strategy for the businesses progress. I don’t design or install the systems but I am pretty much involved in everything else!

What do you love most about your business and role?

I love meeting the clients at the start and then visiting them in their home after we have finished, gaining their feedback. I love this part because they speak about how we deliver the systems as much as the actual systems themselves. They grow to enjoy our team working in their homes, although they are glad when it is all finished! Without fail, and without realising it, the client will use the word “magic” in their feedback, so they will say something like “it works like magic!” That always makes me smile with pride!

Could you tell us what else you work on besides Majik House, what else keeps you busy in your working life?

I have a strong work ethic, or maybe I don’t see it as work? I am involved in two other businesses… First up, I have my own consultancy, Carol Burrow Consultancy. Here I do several things; I work with businesses to help develop their strategy and I develop teams of directors to work to their optimum. My second business (well, third) has just this month opened. Absoluxe is 4 luxury suites based in Kirkby Lonsdale. This is a business where we have joined forces with another business, Aquajade, to deliver ultimate luxury for the guest right in the heart of Kirkby Lonsdale.

We saw that on international women’s day, Majik House tweeted that only 11% of women are in tech, why do you think this is?

The industry sites that it is because there are so few female role models in the technology industry, so it becomes a bit of a vicious circle. I decided to research your question a bit further and a fact was uncovered that made me laugh (but it does have a serious side to it)…. Apple released a health app that measured absolutely everything except menstruation. When they realised a mistake (a woman pointed it out), it took them 12 months to rectify the app! We need more women in technology!

Do you think being a woman in your industry has been of significance (positive or negative) or do you not think it has played any role?

I think, but I am only speaking for myself, what I add to the business is a way of making technology less “detached”. For me the technology delivers a better home – lighting control and correctly designed lighting is paramount to give your home atmosphere and warmth; a home cinema is a way to bring the family together, and great sound throughout the home makes it more atmospheric. This is how I will describe it to a client, as it has more appeal than the stark delivery of buttons and screens to press. Which is how the guys may often describe it!

Recently, I’ve been discussing a lack of confidence with women with several colleagues and peers. How do you think more women can be comfortable in their own skin and have more confidence?

I encounter this quite a lot in my role as a business coach. However, there is plenty of evidence produced to indicate that where there are women in a business team, and on a board of directors, the productivity and results derived are greater than when it is just an all-male team. We bring a level of emotional intelligence to the table that can ensure how we behave delivers good results. Confidence is a state of mind, and each of us has to determine what is it that affects why we lack it. In my experience, the women I work with are very humble about what they add in terms of value to a business, the community etc. The truth is we give and deliver a lot of value. Women require and request constructive feedback to grow and develop, and it is a skill that more leaders and managers need to develop. There is a formula for giving feedback in a way that produces positive results!

One of your recent business ventures has been in a totally different industry, how have you found stretching out of your comfort zone? 

Every 1-1 coaching session I embark upon, I start with a diagram and explanation about stepping outside your comfort zone. The coming out of my comfort zone was applicable on several levels – a new type of business and working with other people who we know but had not worked with. I always operate on the proviso that there is an answer to everything, you just have to know who to ask. At the moments I have felt most daunted I have done exactly that, asked the right person for information and direction. The not surprising thing I have learnt is that no matter how good a communicator you think you are, you always fail someone or forget to tell someone something on a journey that relies on communication. That’s when the s….flies!

In all of your different ventures, what do you think drives you and gets you out of bed in a morning?

Apart from the dog needing a walk at 6.30am each day! I love researching anything, so it is about learning something new each day and knowing I will only know a fraction of what there is to learn, so make each day count.

What does success mean to you?

Success is not seeing work as work but as my chosen way of living, I never feel like I am trapped doing something I don’t want to do.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to your younger self today?

I wish I could!…

  • No problem is unsolvable
  • There are always choices but some are better than others
  • Be accountable for who you are.

What's next?

If you want to find out more about Majik House or Absoluxe, take a look at our blogs all about them. 

We have loved chatting with Carol as our first guest on the Courageous Conversation blog! We have loads more content coming up and a few more exciting conversations so keep your eyes peeled!