What’s your background?
I am an unknown single parent, without formal competences, skills or qualifications from Nottingham. I am the eldest of five sisters, mother Austrian, grandfather Polish, and father Indian.
How did you get to where you are now?
By being beaten! I know it sounds so strange that I answer so directly, but my ex-husband put me on the floor and kicked me and for two days I could not get up off the floor. But that was the point when I realised, either I can be a victim for the rest of my life, or I can be a change –maker ……and that is how I have got to where I am today, no excuse, no blame culture , just change maker!
— Madi Sharma (@MadiSharma1) September 2, 2016
MADI – the 1 minute pitch?
MADI stands for Make A Difference Idea – everything I do has to make a difference otherwise ideas, thoughts are just wasted! Ideas come from human capital – you and me, my objective is to implement as many ideas as possible, by empowering individuals. Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see”. Madi Says “You must be the change you want to see – No Excuses”
What’s a typical day like for you?
No two days are the same – I am on an aeroplane 2-3 times a week, minimum. On average I am in three different countries per week. The work ranges from working on policy in the European Economic and Social Committee, making speeches to groups of people about all sorts of subjects, teaching in schools and universities, my Extraordinary Education business, preparing proposals for commercial clients and having business meetings, mentoring on average 10-20 small businesses/women per week, online, friends, family and me time… or writing my books! The first one Madi No Excuses! to be published in the next weeks where I share the very simple process by which all of us can turn our ideas into action….and there is not a business plan in sight!
How do you manage the diverse interests / or are they interconnected?
Everything is interconnected and that is how I function, I can join the dots of how I can help people and how they can help me… the problem is it takes a lot of my time to do all these connections, but of course the majority of the time you do not get paid for doing it. However, if I don’t do it, things wouldn’t change, and I am driven by joining the dots to make life better for those facing challenges… It’s why I love the potential of technology because it should make this process easier – I just don’t understand it, but I know its capabilities and I have a great team who translate technology into “Madi language”.
This is why I choose crowdfunding as a method for publishing my book. Being able to establish close connection with people who are interested in my first book is giving me the opportunity to inspire them, even before they open the book.
— IBWConf (@IBWConf) August 22, 2016
We featured you at the recent event in Kerry, what trends are you excited about for women in Business?
Women are so dynamic, but they never give themselves credit and so they struggle to see the great things they are doing, or the even greater things they could achieve.Women have 86% of the purchasing power… they means they are the largest consumer market with the knowledge, insight and the money! They are users and can drive the change for innovation when they see the opportunity. I want them to realise this opportunity. Enterprise Ireland and many others have recognised this. It’s why I work with the European Centre for Women in Technology and also Girls in Tech because we need to convince women that “they can do it!” Women can work in every sector of the economy, all industries but for some reason they restrict their talents to the stereotypical women’s role. Technology has replaced the muscle power that was needed in industry and it has been replaced by brain power – and there women outshine men every time!!! … Fact, there are more women qualifying for University than men! I want women to think outside of the box and understand their true potential.
Do we still have a glass ceiling / a fractured one / a changing paradigm? How do you see things panning out over the next 5 to 10 years?
There is no glass ceiling, no maze, nothing – there are two issues 1. Weak men who fear strong women, and thus use discrimination to stop competent women from progressing – we see this all too often but men club together to protect their jobs, especially since the crisis, and women fail to work together as a collective to speak out against the injustice. 2. Women are not prepared to fight for what is theirs – they wait to be given what they think they deserve. Well, if we sit waiting, it will never be given, we have to take it, and that means being strong, standing up and speaking out when we see injustice (men and women). Sadly, I see little change over the next ten years because the democratic system we have does not give equal voting rights to women in the decision making process at any level, and without equal voting rights we cannot change the system. On average there are 25% women or less in any decision making body that means every decision, every policy is made in favour of men because they have 75% of the votes.
— Madi Sharma (@MadiSharma1) July 25, 2016
What tips would you give to someone starting out in business today?
Go for it – The biggest regret you will have is that you never tried. Just START! What have you got to lose, nothing… the Fear is all in your head. But ask yourself, what are you frightened of really?… It is not the fear of failure, it is actually the fear of success!! What happens if you get millions of orders? Please just start – I am here to help.
Nothing is impossible. Look at me. According to the “in box” thinking I should never be what I am today. . But today I’m proud to say that I’m changing the world. I was not afraid when I decided that I was going to inspire people and turn 7 billion ideas in to action.
By the way – if you have a brilliant FinTech idea and need investment one of my clients is looking for those ideas, so please contact me! ….actually any ideas that are investor ready I would be interested in!
With hindsight what / if anything would you have done differently?
In truth, I am learning every day and I don’t think I would have done anything differently because each time I made a mistake, I learnt and more importantly, it prepared me for something bigger. The best University really is the University of Life and Learning by Doing.
But, I would tell everyone to please take care with mentors and coaches. NEVER use anyone you don’t know. Never use anyone who has approached you and offered their help, fee paying or free, private sector or public (yes that includes the enterprise agencies). You need to choose who you go to AFTER you have checked out who and why. I lost my first company because Business Link in the UK, the Government support agency, gave me a disqualified director. His aim was to cheat companies and he did it from inside the Government support system. Know who your sharing your information with at all times.
What would be your definition of success?
Success is not defined by how much you have in the bank, how many employees you have, how much profit you make, nor the salary you take home. My definition of success is that I wouldn’t change my life with anyone else on the planet – That is what I want others to be able to say, because then we know they have really achieved a goal of satisfaction. Our brains, skills, talents, our human capital is what defines us, and most of that comes out in our ideas. I will be more than happy if you help me spread our story, or vision, our commitment beads and inspire more people to turn their ideas in to action.
If we can implement those ideas we can change the world together.