Rachel Flower

208Home: Rachel lives in Yorkshire with her husband Richard, two children Ruby and Bella, and a crazy cockapoo called Bonnie. Originally from Wales so look out for the Welsh lilt (which is particularly noticeable when she has had a few glasses of wine.)

Previous career: Rachel qualified as a solicitor with international law firm Addleshaw Goddard and then spent 5 years post-qualification with DLA Piper, specializing in IT, general commercial law and IT procurement. During that time she carried out a number of business secondments as part of the launch of an innovative procurement and legal consultancy model.

She made the move to in-house solicitor and worked for BT plc for nearly 5 years, taking on the role of Commercial Director within the Global Services Major Projects division. This threw up so many fantastic opportunities to interface with internal stakeholders right across the spectrum of IT delivery – from design to release to testing to implementation and service management and financial control. During this time Rachel also gained bags of experience in
negotiation, supply chain management, dispute resolution, Board-level engagement, team management, cost savings, change management, compliance and mediation.

Rachel founded Serenwood in 2009, having identified a need for hands-on legal support. Serenwood originally grew as a resource pool of talented lawyers who loved working closely with their clients, and building trusted advisor relations. Solving business problems which need “more than the law” . Rachel turned her attention to coaching and mentoring other women to run sustainable businesses, and supporting women in leaderships roles. She is active on the speaker circuit for leadership and female entrepreneurship and you can visit her page www.rachelflower.co.uk to learn more about the group programmes and online mentoring she offers.

Downtime: Outside of her business, Rachel is kept busy with her two girls and singing with the fantastic barbershop chorus The White Rosettes.

Get to Know Rachel Better

First ever job: From the age of 11 I earned £10 every Saturday making the sandwich lunches at the local cricket club. I would butter hundreds of pieces of bread and make ham, tuna, egg and cheese sandwiches served with crisps, fruit, cake and orange squash. I loved earning my own money and got early experience of managing my time, setting up processes, thinking up Plan-B solutions, and holding my own with lots of gobby men.

First record bought: “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. Oh dear.

Favourite book:  Very hard question as I am a prolific reader and I often have 2-3 books on the go at once. I love fiction but I also read a lot of self-development. I read a lot of books on leadership to fuel my passion around empowering women in business. I’m also fascinated by neuroscience, and to counter balance that I’m found every night reading to my kids…Enid Blyton, JK Rowling, Roald Dahl. Magic.

Favourite film: I’m a huge fan of musicals so love classics like Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. I’m so happy that my girls are now old enough to sit and watch films, I’m a big fan of Disney and Pixar films too. Toy Story series is amazing and Finding Dory made me weep. I love how they take massive adult themes and make them accessible to kids.

Favourite gadget: I’m not huge on gadgets although I do love anything which make my life easier. Nothing beats a pen and notepad. It took me ages to buy a kindle. I think I’m a little resistant to technology because it has the potential to make us disconnected from simple pleasures of conversation, good food and nature. When I embed technology in my business I’m always thinking “how can this help me get my message out wider, in a way which connects and makes people think differently”.

Favourite holiday: We went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean a few years ago and it was the best holiday since becoming parents, because we got to see many different places in a short space of time without doing much physical travelling. It’s very hard to travel and sight see with little people in tow. Every year we go to the Yorkshire Coast and there beside the sea is where I feel most content and peaceful. Water is very soothing to me. 

Luxury she cannot live without:

What is your motto in life? Don’t wait. I’m a big believer in seizing the day and creating your own destiny. There’s always something good to be found in even the most difficult of situations, so look for the gifts in adversity and move forwards as quickly as you can.

If you were allowed one dream perk what would it be? I have already created my business to be full of my own dream perks. I love being able to pick the ideal clients to work with, to have an office in the middle of the countryside, and to work hours which suit me and my family. My ambition is just to continue doing great work which makes the world a better place, and for each day to be fun, varied and challenging, and always learning.  

If you could pick a celebrity to join the Serenwood team who would it be and why?  . It depends what you mean by “celebrity”. Modern world seems to be full of influencers and viral sensation celebrities who don’t have good integrity or heart. I’m not interested in followers and likes. I look for people who are committed to doing good, who have a spark and a beautiful soul, and who talk the same values-language as me. There is nothing more powerful than conversations with people who believe in you.

Who is your role model and why? My mum (who passed away in 1998) is my everyday role model, she was kind & funny & a fantastic mum who taught me that I could aim for the moon and reach the stars. She taught me to believe in myself and back my own horse. My dad died the same year and I miss them both very much. I know they would be very proud of what I have achieved and this knowledge pushes me on. Life is short so we have to make the most of every day.

If Rachel did not work for Serenwood, she would be… a West End star. If they come a-knocking I’m off. The joy of entrepreneurship is that you create your own job description every day. I can be whatever I want to be and do whatever I want to do…my business fits around that.

What is your favourite inspirational quote? “If you want to feel rich, just count all the gifts you have that money can’t buy” from the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

What is your superpower? Using my intuition to find creative ways out of tricky situations. I love working out what makes people tick and helping relationships flourish. And many people tell me that “calm” is my superpower. I help other people to step back and see different perspectives, and am able to operate well under pressure. I help others feel calm and the world definitely needs more of that!