We first met Jodie last year at our Innovation event. At that time Jodie had taken the decision to leave private legal practice to follow her own path.
Jodie, what a year! Social media has been buzzing with all of your news. Tell us more about what you have been up to.
Last April, when I was talking to Ascension about taking a leap of faith, I never imagined that I would have seen the year I have. As you know, I felt that the traditional structure of private practice did not offer me the opportunity to innovate and create a flexible environment. Therefore, I took the decision to set up as a consultant continuing to advise clients on employment issues. The real breakthrough came in March this year when I launched my own regulated law firm Thrive Law based in Leeds city centre. I had one employee working for me, I got my second in June and have just taken on my first solicitor! My drive for innovation is taking me into the AI space and will soon be launching an app and a website designed to connect legal services to a wider market so watch this space!
Other than the buzz of setting up your own firm, what has been your high point?
Getting on Sky News was amazing as well as and other media such as Yorkshire Post and Stylist magazine. Whilst supporting mental health is important to me, to be asked out of the blue to speak in the media and at events about mental health in the workplace has blown me away. This level of visibility happened so quickly after the birth of Thrive it was so great to see so many people supportive of what I was doing as it is off the traditional track.
I have to include taking on Beth as well. I taught her at uni so to see her grow, get one of the best marks on the exam and now succeed as a paralegal makes me so proud.
As you know, Ascension is all about having the DRIVE to succeed. What has been the most challenging aspect?
Having to wear so many hats and dealing with everything. There are no other directors or partners so I feel like I am firefighting most days. Sometimes I can take things personally so have to keep my perspective as not everyone believes in what I am doing. The recent PR has been amazing, everyone wants to be in touch but that does mean that I have hundreds of messages a day to deal with, so I would love to get an EA!
Putting yourself out there has been great in terms of raising awareness about mental health but as you say, it has implications. How have you dealt with some of the less positive elements?
For me, part of being resilient is surrounding myself with the right people. I have a coach who is amazing in so many ways and gives me the opportunity to bounce things off her. She has helped me not to take things personally and I now always sleep on an issue before responding and remove any emotion. I focus on the fact that the end reader could be a judge or regulatory body, which helps me stay objective and measured.
I also have an FD who works with me. I literally could not have gotten to where I am without these two ladies.
I listen to audio books for my own professional and personal development. I think it is so important to be open to learning. I am currently reading Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ – amazing!
When I was working from home I found that there were no boundaries. Having proper office space helps with that so that home is home and I ensure I have ‘me’time.
In our last Ascension session, we talked a lot about being your ‘authentic self’ as way to build resilience. How has this helped you?
I have worked with MIND, Workplace Leeds and Mindful Employer for many years on a pro bono basis. Through these organisations I have developed a huge passion for supporting mental health in the work place and breaking down stigmas. Launching my new brand – Thrive Law – also prompted me to launch a campaign to change the law in this area to push for parity with physical first aiders and mental health first aiders. (Sign here for my petition!)
This has always been at the core of what I do and my values so I feel liberated being able to talk so openly about mental health and helping so many people along the way. This has helped me to follow my gut instinct. We can sometimes over think things and not trust in our own judgements. If your gut says it’s right, then it probably is!