OrangeDoor Managing Director Dina Green has been fortunate to have worked with some fantastic female mentors throughout her career. As part of our focus on women leaders in the events industry for International Women’s Day this week, she shares her story…
Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to develop relationships with some very special women, who have been instrumental in teaching me how I can remain true to myself, whilst enabling me to thrive. They have helped confirm my belief that to be a success you need to be kind, brave, have fun and most importantly be yourself.
My career began at a small PR agency, where I was hired by the senior account director Julia Fenwick. The story I told in my interview of how I blagged a place on an over-booked flight home from Bangkok with only £20 in my pocket won me my spot at the agency and was the foundation of my relationship with Julia. Her mentorship over the years has had the biggest impact on my career and has led to a lifelong friendship. She taught me so much and I was thrilled when she set up her own agency and asked me to come with her. Her entrepreneurship and bravery excited me, and ultimately gave me the inspiration to set up my own events company, Custard Events, at the age of 24.
Running my own business, alongside working part-time in catering and events was seriously hard work and at times very lonely. This was an important lesson to learn at such a young age. As the business began to grow, I swiftly took on a lot of staff and soon realised, that fulltime staff need paying every month, regardless of how much work you have! However, through the adversity of not balancing the books, I gained some very valuable wisdom.
After Custard, an important project for Barclays Bank, led to me being offered the highly coveted role of leading the in-house events team. It was there that I met another highly influential female mentor. This woman was incredible at her job, but her attitude was, that as a female, in a very heavily male dominated world you should play by their rules. My mother who was responsible for my strong work ethic holds similar beliefs.
Despite learning a huge amount from these two women, I have also learnt that women are much stronger and work better if we don’t try to be men. Being a woman has many positives in the business world. Being conscious of making sweeping statements; it has been proven that women are great communicators, are more open to work/life balance and flexible working as well as being strong empathetic leaders, encouraging teamwork.
After leaving Barclays, I worked for several big global agencies, including Invnt, Jack Morton and Freeman, but I missed being my own boss. I was in the process of setting up my own agency when I met Elizabeth Heron, CEO of OrangeDoor. It has been amazing to work alongside such an experienced female leader and businesswoman, one who shares so many of my own personal ambitions. Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and dedication to the industry has allowed our clients to approach their events in a whole new way. With our team, we have been able to adapt the focus of our business and move towards a people, profit, planet approach and we are looking to gain B Corp certification in the near future.
Throughout my career there have been several highs, and of course some lows. Over the years my experiences have taught me that I am emotional and there have definitely been a few tears. However, no matter what, I enjoy every aspect of being a woman in business and I know, that being true to myself doesn’t stop me from being a great leader, in fact the female mentors in my life have shown me (and continue to do so) how empowering it can be to be yourself and lead. So, as we head into a new era, I will be putting on my red lipstick, favourite shoes, and embracing it all.