A few weeks ago we wrote a little blog entry on marvellous Women to coincide with International Women’s Day. We’ve felt inspired to show off some amazing Women in our lives that we have been lucky enough to hang out with and photograph, and what better time than now, as we launch our Women’s Portraiture Collections to the world!
In the first of our Spotlight series we ask Kate Webb from Responsible Safari Company some burning questions…
Tell us who you are, the name of your business and a little about what you do…
Hello! My name is Kate Webb and I am Managing Director of Responsible Safari Company a company which I co-run with my husband, Dom.
The Responsible Safari Company (RSC) is a Social Enterprise Tour Operator based in Blantyre, Malawi specialising in Sustainable, Educational, Philanthropic & Experiential Group Travel to the country. Operating since 2008, RSC provides specialised planning and logistical support for School Expeditions, University Field Trips, Charity & Adventure Challenges, Donor and CSR Groups as well as Independent Travellers. Specialising in tailored Educational Workshops & Challenge Events, RSC work in partnership with inspiring Community Initiatives offering immersive learning opportunities for students & businesses to gain an insight into key global challenges facing rural communities in Africa. We are committed to creating sustainable growth through social enterprise, reducing the dependence on the aid industry and driving tourism generated income to rural communities.
What inspired you to start your business, and what drives you as a woman in business today?
We ran away form London when we were 22 as we didn’t feel a sense of belonging or achieving something fulfilling. So we took the opportunity and travelled around Africa for a few years, absolutely loved every moment and knew we had found something truly wonderful where we felt not only at home but somewhere we could make a difference.
We took teaching jobs to keep us financially secure, it was important for me to know i had job security whilst building the business so i could make sure we were financially sound and safe. We made plans around camp fires of our dream business and RSC was born!
Inspiration comes from so many places but in this particular time I would say seeing the gumption and determination of the Women I spent so much time with in Malawi gave me so much of what I needed to drive forward. They filled me with strength and made me feel like I could do anything. As did my husband, Dom. We pushed each-other along, combining skills and interests, whilst behind it all had such passion for creating a full time gig we both loved! These things and my family still drive me in the same way today.
Tell us a little about your most recent shoot with Venetia and what personal branding means to your business.
Venetia had heard about the work we do in Malawi and sent the best email I think I’ve ever received telling me how totally in love with the work we do she was and how she’d love to support us on the next trip we did! When we spoke on the phone it further cemented my initial feeling that she was my kind of person, passionate and honest with fierce determination to do good things. It was a bit later on we realised we needed some professional imagery for the company and there was only one option!
I’m not desperately keen on having my photo taken, nor my husband, but we felt so comfortable with Venetia it was truly a pleasure! I cooked her lunch and we spent the day hanging out, talking and laughing and taking photos in-between.
What is your greatest achievement as a woman? (Can be in your business, your personal life, something massive, something silly, something you feel proud of)
Trying to learn how to balance having my own business and being a full time person in my children’s life, Sam who is 3 and Emmie who is 1, especially in this crazy wonderful time before they go off to school. I feel like I am just about getting there. It’s more something I see to be my biggest achievement in the future as it is one I will work constantly on. This in itself gives me a tremendous sense of achievement and if I can try and find that holy grail of balancing both my professional life and my personal life then all is well in my world.
Name a woman that you admire and tell us why (can be anyone at any level)
So many. But one that springs instantly in to my mind is a brilliant woman who lives in Exeter, her name is Katy Toms, and she is coming with us on our next expedition. Katy is a Senior Civil Engineer, included in the ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2017’, Katy is incredibly humble, committed to her career and knows how to push boundaries. She does a huge amount of mentoring and has the natural ability to get the very best from people. I think she has sprung to mind for this as I see her getting it spot on in terms of female empowerment, she just gets on with it, doesn’t come across hard nosed but is furiously focused, gets things done, makes good decisions and is always there to help…in-fact a bit like Venetia!
This years theme for IWD is #pressforprogress – Are you happy to share a point in your life where you feel you have had to stand up for gender parity / work hard against / press for progress etc.
I think for me as a Woman in this business and also adding in the cultural differences from the UK to Africa i have absolutely felt like my worth is far less than my husband’s, even though we are in the same role and I have more ‘educational bits of paper’ than him! It has been very difficult to prove my worth and ability and earn the respect I deserve. For me also, I am just as proud being a good Mother as a good business person, I think it’s hugely important to recognise this.
And finally, If you were organising a parade in celebration of IWD, which Woman or Women would you create a statue of for pride of place on the float?
I would put Venetia, myself, and my family (Dom, Sam & Emmie) on it! I’m all for gender equality 🙂 We would dance in beautiful bright outfits all the way together.