The Fold Woman: Lizzie Penny

The Fold Woman: Lizzie Penny
April 10, 2015 The Fold
Lizzie Penny

Could you tell us a bit about your career background before starting Futureproof?

After graduating from Warwick Business School with a First Class degree in International Business I spent some time at Sainsbury’s launching their Be Good to Yourself range. I then joined the Diageo Graduate Scheme where I worked on brands including Guinness, Smirnoff, and Pimm’s. I also worked at Mars in their sales team, and started my career at Arthur Andersen as an accountancy Scholar, so I had quite broad business experience before starting Futureproof.

What made you decide you wanted to start your own company?
There’s a quote by Ferdinand Porsche that really resonates with me; “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.” During my time in the marketing team at Diageo I struggled to find an agency that aligned with the commercial objectives of my brand as well as doing outstanding creative work. As a consequence I decided to set up Futureproof to become that agency. There’s clearly something addictive about it, as I’ve just started up my second company, Huckleberry Partners, which uses technology to unite talented individuals who want to work flexibly. We are creating a global community of specialists who can consult together across a number of different disciplines and sectors.

What has been your biggest milestone since starting Futureproof?
It is hard to pin down one particular moment as the last six years have been such an incredible journey. It’s hard to top the ‘heart missing a beat’ moment when I see some of our creative work; I love seeing The View from the Shard work on the tube, or Crosta & Mollica products in the supermarket, or Monkey on my Facebook page. It’s an honour to be able to work on these fantastic brands.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own business?
Surround yourself with an exceptional network, both inside and outside work. And really interrogate your own measures of success – these aren’t always financial and it’s important to build your personal goals into your business plans.

Lizzie Penny

You’ve recently taken on a Non-Executive Board position, can you tell us a bit more about that and why you think its important to gain experience outside of our day to day roles?
I’ve taken on the role of NED at The Ethical Fashion Forum where I am supporting the CEO to build on their brand and create their global marketing strategy. I’m a big believer in continually stretching yourself and taking on the next challenge, and I wanted to see another business in operation beyond the ones that I have founded. The experience has been a great learning curve so far and I am learning a lot about sustainable fashion, which is a real passion of mine.

What are some ways you like to unwind from work?
Since having my son, my free-time has become even more precious. I work 8am-3pm so I love collecting him from nursery after the working day, and building a few towers for him to knock down! I also love going out for a glass of wine or a cocktail or two with friends, or getting out of London for a weekend.

Lizzie Penny

Do you think the way women dress can have an impact on their career?
Although I am a firm believer in meritocracies and people’s career success being driven by their capability, you should always consider your appearance : when you dress up it shows the client that they are important to you. I recently attended a lunch where I was one of only two women amongst 60 men: I certainly stood out in my yellow dress in between the black, grey and navy suits! I love colour and if I’m in monochrome I’ll always try to add a splash of colour with my accessories.

What is your typical 9-to-5 style?
On days that I’m in the office I usually go for tailored trousers or jeans, with pumps and a blazer with some statement jewellery. If I’m out at meetings or events then I usually like to wear a dress and heels.

Lizzie Penny

And finally, what is your favourite piece from The Fold collection?

I love the Le Marais Emerald Green Little Jacket because you can dress it up or down and I love bold colours. I also love the Sakai dress for these chillier Spring days.

Pictures from Amelia Allen Photography

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