A Tea Party With . . . Anna Magee, Healthista.com

To celebrate International Womens Day today, Positivitea spoke to two extremely inspirational women about business, communication and their messages to the young women of today. The first in our series of our very special tea dates is Anna Magee, the Founder and Editor of healthista.com.

The throat chakra is all about communication. What do you think are the most important challenges women face today that prevent them from voicing their views?

There are two things that come to mind. The first is confidence in their own voices and in expressing a view that may be either a lone or uncommon one. Whether it’s in the workplace or with family it takes courage to really express yourself with clarity and honesty. Some of the young women I work with think they are not confident speaking up in meetings or in public but the more they force themselves to do it, the more they find their voices. It’s all about practice. The second challenge women face is the need to come across as ‘nice’ all the time.

Sometimes in business or even at home it’s not possible to please everyone and there will be people that call you bossy or aggressive (Facebook no.2 Sheryl Sandberg wrote about this in her brilliant book: Lean In). This is a defence mechanism on other people’s part and says more about them than anything you’re doing or saying. Men are rarely called bossy or aggressive when they voice unpopular views. The challenge is to stay centred, take a breath and move on.

Some of the young women I work with think they are not confident speaking up in meetings or in public but the more they force themselves to do it, the more they find their voices. It’s all about practice. The second challenge women face is the need to come across as ‘nice’ all the time. Sometimes in business or even at home it’s not possible to please everyone and there will be people that call you bossy or aggressive (Facebook no.2 Sheryl Sandberg wrote about this in her brilliant book: Lean In). This is a defence mechanism on other people’s part and says more about them than anything you’re doing or saying. Men are rarely called bossy or aggressive when they voice unpopular views. The challenge is to stay centred, take a breath and move on.

What message would you give to the young women of today wanting to fulfil their aspirations?

It sounds like a cliche but find something you love to do – something that truly makes your heart sing – and find a way to do it for a living. If you love retail, do that. If you love people and chatting and parties, go into PR. If like me, you love to write, then find a way – even in this crazy digital age we live in – to get paid to write. Passion coupled with talent is a powerful marriage. Loving what you do means what you do never feels like work and that gives you the drive and energy to go to the lengths you need to succeed.

Which women have most inspired you?

It’s a long list, but the women that have inspired me most are the ones I have worked with through the years who have mentored and encouraged me. Two female bosses in particular who believed in me and gave me a chance. Both women became powerful allies – and friends – that have helped me throughout my career and still do. Forging strong bonds with your female superiors and finding mentors is so important because they’re the women that can make the journey easier – their belief in you inspires others to believe in you and also you to believe in yourself.

Positivitea is all about balance, how important is a work life balance for you?

Hmmm, I have to say I don’t have much work / life balance. Because I work in the women’s health arena, I guess going to the gym and exercising and eating well I always do partly because it’s my job and also because I love it. But I only have one day off a week and work from about 8.30am until about 8pm most evenings (that’s life in a start-up for you). I think it’s important not to get too bogged down in the idea of the perfect work/life balance – like the perfect body, it doesn’t exist and if you think too much about achieving it or compare yourself to others you end up guilty and miserable. Many successful women I know make their children part of their work in creative ways and if they need to work late, make up for it by leaving in the middle of the day to attend a school play. Work/life balance is what works for you.

What inspired you to start healthista.com?

I was a serial dieter in my 20s and never knew where to turn for information on diet and exercise. It all seemed so complicated and difficult and confusing and I didn’t know what worked and what didn’t and had nowhere to get expert advice or see how other women did it. That led me to almost two decades of trying so many frogs in terms of diets before I finally found something worked for me (the paleo diet) at around 38! I created healthista.com as an antidote to all that. Our mission is to make being healthy easy, fun and effective. We are a one stop shop for women where they can access the latest in health news, expert advice and real women’s health stories. We have a long way to go and our plans are immense but so far, so good. Having launched in August 2013, the reaction to the site in only 18 months has been astounding – so I think we’re on the right track.

To find keep up with healthista.com, please follow Anna on twitter @annamagee

 

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Jade Massoutier