Leaders and entrepreneurs in focus: May Flanagan, Global Green Family

Pursuing purpose while running your own company and the opportunities presented by remote working to empower others. An interview with the Founder of a website that aims to ‘make sustainability simple’

‘I am able to get a positive message out there about saving the environment and our impact on it as consumers,’ says May Flanagan, Founder of Global Green Family, a website that aims to change the way people think about everyday products and raise the standards of sustainable living.

In this interview with Business Impact, Flanagan underlines the importance of networking for other budding entrepreneurs and outlines why Bill Gates’ penchant for lifelong learning makes him her ideal mentor.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current role and what it involves?

As the Founder of Global Green Family, I am always thinking of what’s next for our organisation and the brand itself. I also spend a lot of my time strategising, analysing Google Analytics, and staying on top of trends to make sure that I am always aware of what’s going on with our organisation and what’s new in the sustainability industry.

Did your Business School/university experience help get your business off the ground? If so, how?

I did business studies and information technology (IT) at school as an A-level student in the UK. These subjects definitely sparked my interest to study accounting and finance at university. Looking back, I think having a good understanding of these subjects helped me get my business off the ground because I had the skills necessary for its upkeep, such as learning how to budget and having an eye for detail in all aspects.

What single piece of advice would you offer undergraduate and postgraduate students of business and management who plan to start their own companies after completing their studies?

If I were to offer a single piece of advice, it would be to network. There are a lot of opportunities that will come your way if you get your brand out there.

Mentorship schemes in business are becoming increasingly popular. Who would have been your dream mentor when you were at the outset of your career and why?

My dream mentor would have been Bill Gates because of the noteworthy qualities he possesses as a leader.

He has passion for what he does, which is supported by a deep knowledge in his area of expertise. Bill Gates also has this winning, ‘always learning’ attitude and an eagerness to gain more knowledge and expertise in the tech industry. Bill Gates is also resilient – he is committed to his craft day and night in the pursuit of success, even when faced with many challenges.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities you’re currently facing, both as a leader and as an organisation?

As a leader, I think the pandemic has had an influence on how people feel and this has definitely changed priorities for me.

Being flexible in my approach to running the company has been challenging. However, through remote working, new opportunities have arisen and I get to help make people feel more empowered during these trying times with my website.

From the organisational perspective, I find it challenging to keep organic search visitors increasing as user intent is changing. Plus, Google’s algorithms are updated regularly so it can be really challenging for my website to rank higher and remain one of the best in our niche.

Do you feel that leading a company has enabled you to make a positive impact? If so, how?

Definitely. Through Global Green Family, I am able to get a positive message out about saving the environment and our impact on it as consumers. I am happy that I am able to educate people and have an influence on sustainability.

Please outline the importance of sustainability to your company’s strategy and why you feel it is important to business approaches as a whole today.

Sustainability is everything we stand for, as exemplified by our organisation’s tagline, ‘Let’s Make Sustainability Simple’. It is our ambition to transform the way we all think about everyday products in our lives. We also aim to inspire people to use eco-friendlier organic natural materials that will enrich our own lives and have a better impact on the planet we live on.

Which three words best describe your approach to leadership (or your management style) and why?

Empathy, humility, and empowerment (of others).

‘Empathy’ because understanding the people that work with me and seeing how they feel is crucial to me because that has an impact on their work.

‘Humility’ because of the importance of understanding that the people that work with me have their own aspirations. I  try my best to help them on that journey by recognising their perspectives and letting them know they are doing well.

Lastly, ‘empowerment of others’ because I believe everyone is equal and unique in their own abilities and are presented with opportunities to succeed. I truly believe that if people are happy at work they will do their very best not because they have to, but because they want to. That’s what truly makes a difference, because as they say: ‘People are your biggest asset’.

May Flanagan is a digital marketer, fashion writer, and the Founder of Global Green Family, a website that aims to help consumers to be more mindful of their impact on the planet.

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