A Somerset businesswoman, who runs a self-care company for busy women, says people should “call out racism” in their social circles so “life can be better for everyone”.
Radstock-based Yvonne Bignall, 55, who set up her business YvonneB more than a decade ago, believes lockdown has meant people are looking at issues they had previously not considered.
The best-selling author of Suck it Up or Change has worked during her career to tackle inequality, including volunteering with W4 – an organisation providing mentoring to women in developing countries.
She said: “I think more people are willing to re-educate themselves, which has been shown in increased sales of books about race and black history in the wake of protests.
“If it leads to people calling out racism within their own circles, it’s a good start. It’s important to act and speak out so that life can be better for everyone.”
Yvonne was inspired to set up her company in 2009 after working as a business coach and noticing many women were failing to look after themselves.
“I noticed a recurring theme with many of my clients was a constant lack of self-care, which led to difficulties in other areas of their lives. This included finding it hard to focus, always being tired, indecisive, feeling resentful and generally not valued.
“I knew that if women invested in their own wellbeing they could accomplish so much more.”
She credits her parents for instilling in her resilience and an entrepreneurial spirit.
“Without shadow of a doubt, I believed I could achieve whatever I set out to do thanks to my parents’ influence,” said Yvonne, who heads Women’s Power Hour on Somerset Valley FM.
“I think my parents were entrepreneurial as they left the life they knew behind and were driven to succeed abroad.
“My mum is a driving force – great at making connections and facing challenges head-on. In contrast, my dad was a great listener – quick to absorb and learn. They were an equal partnership and together showed me I could do anything I wanted to do.”
Yvonne believes in the power of role models, mentors and finding opportunity from adversity.
“We should all have the right to be treated with respect and equal opportunity, no matter what our sex, race or class is,” she said.
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“It helps to have role models as a source of inspiration, mentors for guidance and supporters for encouragement along the way. I know I did. It’s my personal belief that opportunities can be found at difficult times and we have seen that change is possible.”
Yvonne’s advice to other young aspiring black entrepreneurs is to be prepared to embrace the challenging moments.
“They are part of the journey. Know that resilience and persistence make a difference. And never feel you must have all the answers; be prepared to ask for help; it is the ultimate sign of strength,” she added.
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