Marie-Claire Andrews. Entrepreneur.
“In secondary school I was told to be a lawyer and thought I would be too – mostly because I was argumentative and liked the limelight. Apart from being a lawyer I thought I’d like to be a musician too, a pro pianist. But while I was shit hot as a 15 year old pianist, once I went on a scholarship to a private school where there were a heap of other scholarship girls, it was clear I was mediocre on the keys. And I got performance anxiety too, so that career aspiration faded away pretty quickly.
The most telling ‘fail’ I had was actually in High School, in not being picked as head girl. Sounds trivial now, but it hit me so hard I can still feel the sobs and the shaking when I heard the news. I was sitting in the orchestra in the prize giving ceremony where they confirmed head and deputy head. I heard them pick who I thought would be head girl as deputy and waited proudly for my name to be called next. Cue random girl’s name. Actually I TOTALLY remember her name (nice girl, sure, but WTF). Not anyone of my crew had gossiped about it being her in the lead up. I finished the evening, and stumbled home in tears with my parents. I was so hurt and surprised that I wasn’t picked, I spent years wondering why. It rocked me for a long time, and even now I want to say, crazy eh, as if it’s a small thing that I should be over – 25 FUCKING YEARS LATER!!! But I was so disappointed in the head teacher for that decision – and that’s what’s stayed with me.
Now I don’t put senior people on a pedestal. They can make shit decisions just like everyone else. Their choosing head girl was a shit decision, because while at the time my fifteen-year-old-me was all like ‘I’m so rubbish! No-one loves me!’, my 40 year old self is like ‘I would have smashed that role and made it awesome. Idiots for settling when they could have soared’.
“Back then there were entrepreneurial tendencies, even though neither my parents or I knew what an entrepreneur was.
One of the things I’ve really had to learn is I had to develop a lot of tenacity. I learnt that from my husband. The spiritual name his mentor gave him (yup, long story) is ‘Tenacious Ferret’. He is just that, he keeps going when everyone else would be sipping a wine and watching tele, and he’d be running into rabbit holes when everyone else would be lazing in the sunshine. He’s taught me that sleep is for dead people and work life balance is bullshit.
Advise? Go hard while you have the energy – and I don’t mean on the dance floor – travel, learn, work, stay up travelling, learning and working, meet everyone, go everywhere, absorb it all. Quickly. You’ll get tired. Now I have the wisdom, I don’t have the energy.”
“One of the best things I’ve ever done was live on a boat for 8 years. No mortgage is very liberating! We sold it in the end to start one of my companies – but the experience from start to finish was cool. Even the tough bits like crossing the Cook Strait (scary sea) in high seas thinking I’d die for eight hours. I learnt to appreciate hot running water and being cosy, and that everything in the work arena that I thought was hard, clearly wasn’t. I wasn’t going to drown making an investment presentation or doing a performance management review so frankly, how hard was it?!
Right now I’m loving being part of my community and local people again via the 3MILE CO-WORKING space I’m setting up. But I’m torn between that and a huge entrepreneurial opportunity with the EVENT TECH TRIBE. Both of them appeal to my ego (which constantly needs stroking), and my need to see a change in the world as a result of my efforts.
I’m not having kids, so I have to leave another kind of legacy.”