I’m from the UK. London originally, but I’ve moved around quite a bit. While I was still at university, studying Global Political Economy, I created a business startup, which received an award. After graduating, I worked as a client manager for what is now Thomson Reuters. It was a very high-level job, and, as all young women in my position, I felt like I’d done really well for myself. I’d worked hard to get to where I was and that’s what it seemed to be all about: success, success, success.
I felt like I was on a conveyor belt through life. We had the bombs go off in London, which was a bit frightening. A few things like that in a row got me thinking, ‘I love this country. I like my job. I know some really great people. But there’s more I want to do’. So I made the change. I was 28—had never taken time off—so I decided to take a gap year and go travel, go explore. That first time I came to Barcelona, it was crazy fun. I didn’t do anything productive besides get my TEFL, understanding it as a passport to travel; although, thinking about it, no one has ever asked me for that certificate. But the friends you make during the course are priceless. Eventually, when I needed a place to settle—after living in Nice and travelling around a bit—I chose Barcelona because I love the city and had great friends to come back to.
I went back to my old roots, working on a variety of projects with different businesses. Startups are what really interest me. It was through a friend of mine that I learned about Hub Dot. It had been around for nearly a year in London and was doing incredibly well. My friend’s sister-in-law, Ana Pinós, wanted to set up the programme here. I knew right away that it was a project worth getting involved in.
Hub Dot is a very personal organisation that promotes real connections, in person, not just over the Internet. People crave these connections. In a world of economic crisis and too much social media, people want to be able to give dos besos, hear the passion in people’s voices when they talk about a startup or project idea, and see smiles on faces after ideas and advice are shared. Women want to be social, active and involved in the community.
There’s an impression when you first move to a foreign city that it’s hard to make friends besides other internationals. Hub Dot reaches out to all women, bringing everyone together no matter what their background; whether they have an established career, a dream or no career at all, or whether they simply want to share their time and passions with a group of like-minded women. Through Hub Dot, they have the opportunity to mingle with all kinds of women and be inspired. That’s what we’re really striving for with Hub Dot. And Barcelona’s a perfect location for such a startup. It’s a cosmopolitan city with quite a mix of people—with the foreign residents being a really important part.
For me, personally, Hub Dot has been an incredible opportunity to meet more and more influential women. If you look at all the Meetups being facilitated by women, or inspiring organisations like Esperança—a charity that provides food to the homeless, founded by Barcelona residents Julie Stephenson and Julia Fossi—you see how truly creative and caring the women here are. There’s always something new to learn from someone you’ve never met before. Plus, you get new ideas for things to do in the city.
Our next Hub Dot event will be in February. We had our launch in October. There were 12 women who gave speeches. Two minutes each, with two in Catalan, two in English and the rest in Spanish. We wanted people to speak in whatever language they felt most comfortable, however they could best express themselves. It was an incredible success. February’s event will have a ‘New Year’ theme—it’s all about reinvention. I think at the beginning of the year, we’re really thinking about what we want from the year ahead and how we want to shape our lives. A lot of the speeches will be by women who have had obstacles in their lives, how they’ve dealt with them and how they have succeeded afterwards.
My other passions in life are promoting cultural awareness, especially with travel. Appreciate where you are: the customs, the language, the food. Also, the sea. I love the sea. I’ve been sailing all my life; swimming and surrounded by beach life. And I’ve recently taken up surfing.
I like to see people happy. If I can see people around me generally happy, then I’m happy. If I can help people accomplish that happiness, I would consider that one of the best achievements in life. If I could stay longer on a surfboard that would be great, too.
For more information and to get involved with HubDot, visit www.hubdot.com.