In our busy 21 century women seem to getting more and more opportunities and at the same time they manage to use them wisely, such as have cultivating careers and successful personal lives. It seems that women are succeeding in every avenue of life. I have always wondered how those busy women manage both – and they look calm and relaxed while working full-time as well as being a good wife and mother – and keeping the family happy? “I manage to get the energy from my friends and then I bring it back for my family”, shares Rachael Sterrett, a successful Irish entrepreneur and a mother of two.
The very beginning
“I come from Northern Ireland but I lived in England for 13 years before coming to Denmark. Before that I lived in Japan for 4 years where I was teaching English. I am married to my husband Joe, he is American and we met at university in Scotland. We have two boys,” says Rachael as she continues to humbly introduce herself, “after my husband finished his PhD, he got offered a job here in Aarhus. That’s why our family came to Denmark.”
She agrees with my thought that new beginnings in our lives are usually stunning. The excitement of moving mixes up with the new experiences, and the experience of meeting new people enriches you. “Initially there were lots of new things, so many different things here in Denmark. When I first came I did something like a diary of my first 100 days. People say when you start living in a new place, the first 100 days are the most important for your self-confidence and well-being,” says Rachael.
Hardships lead to success
Yet the beginnings, no matter how interesting they seem, can also bring a number of challenges to cope with both in personal and professional lives. “My husband came first to Denmark, then I came here with my children. In Denmark children don’t start school early, so my boy who was 6 had already started school in England and I didn’t want him to go to kindergarten again. Besides, when we came I mainly helped my children to cope with the Danish school system and the language as much as I could and it has been quite a process. So at that time I left my professional life a bit behind,” shares Rachael.
Arguably, achieving success is hard and constant work; it has to be planted, tended and watered, to ensure it grows. “My background is in marketing,” shares Rachael. “And therefore I thought I would get a job more easily. I spent a lot of time initially understanding the job market, what working in Denmark might be like; but I got disappointed very quickly realizing that it’s going to be really tough. And I was a little naïve about that. Therefore after a year I said to myself, “Okay, I am going to give myself a job.” I started going to various events for international entrepreneurs, trying to decide if I actually wanted to start something or not. I went through different stages where I was thinking what I could offer to the Danish market that related to my skills and what I like to do. Finally, in September 2012 I decided that I would register the CVR number,” smiles Rachael.
Rachael’s business is called Getting it write. She combines her skills in marketing and communication to work with Danish companies who communicate internationally in English. “I am not a natural entrepreneur, but being in this particular situation, I decided to try it. I wanted to have my professional identity back. It’s very important to keep a professional identity, I enjoy working and meeting different people,” explains Rachael. “Coming to a different culture with my family was much more demanding than I expected. It was difficult to establish a network as a family and as a professional.” Yet it seems that Rachael managed to overcome the obstacles and now she’s radiating joy. Rachael adds, “You just have to be strong and do your best as well keep networking and getting to know new people.”
Singing in a choir, knitting, gardening, and camping are only a small part of what Rachael does with her free time. “Well… I happened to be singing in a Danish choir, where they sing in English. I knew quite a lot of their songs and went there because a neighbor of mine invited me. However, my free time is usually spent with my children and in that case we think about the activities that we can do together, such as camping and this year we hope to go camping in Germany,” says Rachael. “I love gardening but I don’t have a garden… and when I find myself to be in a stressful situation, whenever I have a change, I come back to my needles. I feel the connection with my home; my mother and grandmother taught me how to knit…” and she then excitedly adds, “maybe I should be in a knitting business instead?”
I felt privileged to be in a room with such a talented, life-loving and optimistic woman. Thank you Rachael Sterrett for sharing our story with us!