My Working Day – Riannon Palmer – Founder and Director of Lem-uhn
As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? Business Leader spoke to Riannon Palmer – Founder and Director of Lem-uhn, about her working day.
What time do you wake up?
I think sleep is really important and I let myself sleep in if I haven’t had a good night. However, I’m always awake before eight at the latest, but usually earlier.
Prior to the pandemic, I used to wake at 6am each morning to go to the gym before work. Since starting my own company, I’m able to prioritise my wellness, and be more flexible with my schedule to fit in exercise at lunchtime.
What do you have for breakfast?
As exercise, and in particular weight lifting is a big part of my life, I focus on eating a high-protein diet. I start my day with granola and yogurt, with an orange juice and protein shake.
As I’ve grown older, I definitely see food as important to fuel your mind and body for the day, and make sure I’m eating lots of good foods. From a young age as a woman, food becomes something bad that will make you put on weight. This leads many people to cut calories and not fuel their mind. Skipping breakfast prevents your brain from working at its best, and I hope the diet culture women have imbedded from a young age will slowly die out.
What is your mantra for your working day?
Confidence is key, even if you have to act it sometimes.
Studies have shown that growing up, women are often taught different gendered roles which have a knock-on effect in our adult life. Girls are traditionally taught that their actions should please and make others happy, while boys tend to be taught they can ask for more of what makes them happy. This can lead to a lack of confidence, especially in the workplace. As women we must implement a confident and positive attitude into every day even if it means acting as though you are first, which will, in turn, lead to becoming more confident.
As a business leader, is it hard to separate your business and personal life?
We’re inundated with hustle culture with entrepreneurs constantly speaking of how they wake up at 4am and work all day and night. However, personally starting my business has transformed my life and given me much more time for my personal life. Prior to starting Lem-uhn, I was part of the intensely busy agency culture with little time for a life outside work. I created Lem-uhn as an alternative type of agency that prioritises positivity – something desperately needed in the PR world.
However, like most entrepreneurs, I’m passionate about the business and enjoy working which means sometimes I do open my laptop on the weekend. I think the key to a happy worklife is finding something your passionate about, which makes work enjoyable.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
One key trait that boys get taught early on in life is confidence. As women, we need to build our self-confidence later in life – something a lot harder to do.
Even if you’re not confident, it’s essential to act as if you are. In turn, it can also lead to you actually feeling more confident in the long run. Not only can this help during the interview process as employees look for people who seem confident in themselves as people assume they must be confident in their field, but it also helps with things such as career progression and winning clients and investment.
Positivity is also intrinsically linked to confidence. I like to introduce easy positive strategies into my daily life to lead to a more positive mindset.
Studies have shown that women have higher emotional intelligence, and we should use this to our advantage. In my first company, they assessed and hired employees based on whether their personality type was missing from the team. This led me to look into personality types, and I now automatically discover an individual’s personality type and adjust my manner to suit it. As an extroverted person, my natural behaviour is to be chatty and engage with the individual to build a rapport. However, when I notice someone is more reserved I adjust my manner accordingly. There are many personality type assessments on the internet, 16Personalities is a free online test which is based on Myers-Briggs research. On the site, you can discover 16 personalities, and what makes them tick, and how they act at work.
Who is your business idol? Why?
As a woman, we’re constantly told we can’t have it all: a social life, a good job, a family and personal hobbies. However, someone who’s proving this is wrong is Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble. She is breaking down the barriers of what a CEO looks like and how a company should run. She started her company following a toxic environment at her previous company Tinder, where she was sexually harassed, and created an app which puts women’s safety and networking at the centre. The powerful image of her carrying her son while ringing the bell at the opening of the American stock exchange breaks down the normal concept of a CEO. She is paving the way for a new type of women and showing us that if you want to having a family while running one of the biggest companies in the world, you can.
What motivates you?
I draw a lot of motivation from creating a better type of place to work. 90% of PR professionals have had issues with their mental health, from anxiety to stress. Furthermore, 80% of workers get ‘Sunday night dread’ ahead of a new work week.
In less than a year, I have created a place where employees like their jobs, and have a good work/life balance. When I hear comments from employees like “I’ve never been happier at work” and “I love working at Lem-uhn”, it motivates me to build the company to create more jobs for people to get the same joy from working.
How do you persevere through challenging times?
Building a positive mindset during the good times can prepare you to handle challenging times easier. Although some people are born with a natural sunny disposition, for others it’s something you can train. Each morning, I remind myself of the positives in my life with positive attributions. At the end of each day, I reflect and write three good things from my day. We’re inundated with negative news, at Lem-uhn we counteract this by sharing positive news on our social channels with Monday Motivation, Lem-uhn Loves and Friday Feeling. An endorphin-fuelled workout also boosts my mindset, and helps me to perform at my best at work and in life.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a female entrepreneur?
Prior to the pandemic, starting a business wasn’t something I thought I could do as I hadn’t seen young women, or people, in general, starting their own business. I had always seen older men running companies and with the majority of senior positions in companies. The lack of representation certainly made me think starting a business wasn’t a possibility for me. It’s a huge issue in the business world, and we need more representation of people of different genders, races, backgrounds and sexualities to help show people that it’s a possibility for them.
Although people may not be aware of their bias, I think some people have an unconscious bias against working with young women. I have had potential clients speak to me in a condescending manner that I don’t believe my male counterparts would have had. As we’re building a positive work environment, we ensure we’re working with people who also believe in creating a positive environment.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
My favourite book is The Choice by Edith Eger, which is about the author’s experience of the Holocaust, her work as a psychologist and how we can all live our life to the fullest by confronting hardships and altering our mindset. Through her words, she teaches you important lessons including self-love, feeding your brain with good things, focus on all the possibilities you have in life. These life lessons have helped me grow in both my work and personal life.
Are you hopeful about the future of female entrepreneurship in the UK? Why?
In my life, I have seen a change in the perceptions and norms for genders. Slowly as a society we are realising that your gender doesn’t define you. We still have perceptions about what are ‘female’ and ‘male’ traits, however, we are gradually realising that everyone is unique and has different characteristics irrespective of their gender.
We need to raise our children to ensure they all realise they have the same capabilities, and fill them with confidence. My first niece recently arrived and the first gift I got her was a babygrow with a Shakespear quote ‘Though she be but little she is fierce’. I plan to fill her with self-confidence and remind her she can achieve anything. As long as we are all reminding the future generation of their strengths then I am positive about the future of female entrepreneurship.