Friday Interview: Viv Grant
Former headteacher and now facilitator and coach, Viv is a very inspiring entrepreneur. I have had the pleasure to interview her.
What is it that you do?
I work with senior leaders in schools; specifically Head teachers, Deputy Head teachers and Assistant Heads. I use various coaching tools and techniques to help them remain connected to their vision, passion and moral purpose, so that they are able to overcome the stresses of their roles, and maintain their ability to lead and inspire others.
Do you think your role as a coach is a natural progression from your days as a head teacher?
Most definitely. As a Head teacher you have to continually be at the top of your game. As rewarding a role as it is, it is also extremely stressful. When I left headship and began work with aspiring school leaders, I found myself reflecting on the types of support that I had received and the types of support that they appeared to be asking for.
What stood out above all else was that along with the need for support with the operational and strategic sides of the role, they also needed support to help them address the mental and emotional challenges that the role brings. Their reflections echoed my own experiences of being a Head teacher, and hence my decision to set up a coaching company that would specifically help school leaders to develop the emotional and psychological resilience necessary to succeed in their roles.
You’ve worked with minorities, do you think diversity is positive for the British economy?
Yes, for over thirteen years now I have been involved in a number of regional and national initiatives designed to support diversity in the UK.
I firmly believe that diversity is positive for the British economy. We only need to look at reports that organisations such as Race for Opportunity produce to see that diversity benefits us all. To quote from a recent blog on their site,
“Research from McKinsey shows that the most ethnically diverse companies were 35% more likely to outperform the least diverse – suggesting that not embracing a diverse workforce could have real consequences for a business’ bottom line.”
Do you have any advice to provide to new migrant entrepreneurs in London?
I think the one key bit of advice I would give is: “Believe in yourself and never give up. What you bring as a migrant entrepreneur is unique and special and you have to hold onto that, even if other voices tell you something different. If you have an idea and you believe that it will make a positive difference to the lives of others, then go full steam ahead and pursue that idea and never, ever give up on it!
Have you found there to be any cultural quirks that migrants should know of before doing business with British entrepreneurs?
That’s a tricky one. Although my parents were migrants from the Caribbean, I was born here in the UK and so I may not be so aware of ‘cultural quirks’ as those born outside of the UK might be. So I think in relation to this I would say, it is important not to overgeneralise. British entrepreneurs are not a homogenous group. So when doing business with a British entrepreneur, remember that they are as individual as you are and seek as far as possible to do business with them person to person. For me, in business it is the relationship that matters, and showing a genuine interest in an individual has and always will be the best way to do business.
Viv is one of the mentors at the Migrant Business Accelerator.
If you wish to help migrants become entrepreneurs and change their lives for the better, get in touch with This Foreigner Can Social Enterprise.