Eve Simmons, Editorial Assistant for The Female Lead talks to us about finding herself in the same room as Michelle Obama, preparations for The Female Lead book and her love for being part of a female led start-up
- Tell us about you – what motivates you?
People are fascinating. If you take the time to speak to someone on the street for longer than five minutes, you are 90 per-cent likely to find out something really interesting that will stop and make you think. I’m motivated by human beings and their complicated – but sometimes beautifully simple – stories. I think if we all took a little more time between the skinny lattés and Twitter updates to stop and talk to each other, the world would be a much better place. We spend too much time in our own heads and I think it’s tragic, so I guess my motivation is the desire to share, learn and celebrate.
- What does a day in the life of you look like?
Not particularly exciting! I get into work at about 8.45 (apt time for stress-free porridge making in the kitchen) and the first thing I do is log onto The Female Lead’s Twitter(oh god – how did I become one of those girls?). It’s a bit pathetic, I know, but Twitter has been a really key tool in spreading the world of The Female Lead and has led to some pretty hefty connections for The Female Lead book too. I’ll usually have a scout around for stories about amazing women or newsworthy female issues and schedule them to be tweeted throughout the day. Oh and Google Alerts too – they’ve been an unlikely blessing! The working day varies depending on whether I have any interviews book in or events to go to or if there’s a piece I’m working on. I am lucky enough to be invited to lots of events filled to the brim with inspiring, kick-ass women so if there’s something on I try my best to go. You never know who’s stories might be on offer… Otherwise it’s chasing women to take part in The Female Lead book – which is much more time consuming than it sounds! Most of the chasing and scheduling has to be done in the afternoon, and sometimes later into the evening as most of the women we deal with at the moment are U.S. based.
- What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
I’m definitely not much of a dare devil – even small lifts make me nervous. I guess leaving a very large news corporation and international publishers to begin working on a relatively new start-up was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. Having said that, I’ve never looked back for a moment and I’ve never been happier.
- What does Balance mean to you in your life?
Balance is being able to enjoy each and every aspect of your life to its full extent. I’ve always found that if one aspect of your life is off kilter and taking up too much head-space, it tips the scale and trickles into the other areas of your life. Work hard, stay late, do overtime but stop when it makes you unhappy. Life’s unfair, random and, to be honest – can be pretty shit – so you may as well enjoy the few things that are under your control.
- Who is your role model and why?
How long have you got? I have about 10 million! I would say my amazing mother Simmons who is obviously the most remarkable woman in the world, but that’s painfully unoriginal so…
Our founder, Edwina Dunn is a very special woman. Not only has she achieved a huge amount in her career and fought her way up in the male dominated industry of data science, but she is absolutely dedicated to using her position to helping the next generation. Her passion for encouraging young people to achieve their goals is infectious and her enthusiasm spurs me on to believe that we have the power to drive a worthwhile change. Not to mention the fact that she is honestly one of the kindest and most generous women that I have ever met. Oh, and she’s a great provider of sweet treats for the office – which always helps!
- What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve read, seen or done in the last month?
Sometimes, I have days at work when I think, “surely this can’t be my job?”. A few weeks ago, I had one of those days. I heard Michelle Obama was making an appearance at a girls’ school in East London so last minute, I managed to wangle my way onto the press list. Not expecting to get anywhere near close to the action, I thought I may aswell pop down for an hour and see if – at the very least – I could sneak a tweet out of it.
When I was shown my designated seat with a clear view of the stage, I couldn’t quite believe my luck. Low and behold, out came FLOTUS from behind the curtains (accompanied by the scariest friggin’ mafia-style security team EVER), and I was transfixed. Speaking with such honesty, devotion and conviction, The First Lady explained to a room full of teenage girls, in one of the poorest areas in London, how they could set about achieving their dreams. Although Michelle’s face (and mightily toned arms) was a mesmerizing sight, what I really couldn’t take my eyes off was the look on the girls’ faces as they watched one of the most powerful women in the world tell them that they were “brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, talented” and ultimately held the key to the success of the next generation. I felt my toes tingle as I watched something flicker in each and every one of those girls, almost as if a switch had gone off and suddenly, all the doors were open and everything was possible. It was the most inspiring and thrilling event I have ever been privileged enough to attend and I pledge to support FLOTUS forever.