Madeline McQueen is an award-winning Forbes Featured, Executive Coach and TEDx Speaker. She is also the founder of The Compass Club, a place for women in leadership to thrive. In a career, which spans 35 years, she’s graced the stage to inspire the workforces of brands ranging from Saatchi & Saatchi and WPP brands to Google, SKY and Nike. Madeline uses a methodology of clarity, confidence and empowerment to harness her client’s self-worth so they can leverage their personal development for professional success. She’s currently writing a personal development book with publisher Hay House through their Diverse Wisdom initiative.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before the venture/ corporate journey?
I grew up in the East Midlands in England, UK to Caribbean parents, I’m the youngest of six girls. I was always a talker and learned to negotiate with my sisters at a young age. My dad suddenly died when I was 10 and that shaped me.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business/initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
To build the confidence of those I worked with, I’d been dabbling with confidence as my main work for a while but not sure if that would really work or had legs. However after working as a business coach and consultant, I realised that confidence was often the underpinning challenge for leaders, so I put my stake in the ground and decided that it was something that I would lead with. I switched from business coaching to executive coaching and it’s all gone from there.
What motivated me to really say yes to my business was the numerous stories of women who were kick ass at their roles but crippled by a lack of confidence. I felt strongly that I wanted to be a catalyst for change for them.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
I run a club called The Compass Club, it’s all about helping professional women in leadership find their North Star. That may be where they ultimately want to take their career, building their confidence, learning to own their value or finding a community that they can grow in. This is truly important to me as I can only impact a few women by delivering one to one coaching. However, in my community that number is unlimited. The more women are able to see themselves as worthy, let go of old narratives and get clear about what they want and have to achieve it the more we are in a position to positively change the narrative about women and push for greater equality. I want women to thrive and to help each other thrive. That is what The Compass Club is about.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I recently won a “Most Aspirational Award” from the acclaimed Inspiration Awards which are focused on women. It’s the first award that I have won and I don’t usually go for them and so it was all the sweeter as someone else nominated me. I set up a club called The Compass Club exclusively for women in leadership for them to grow, find community and to use their personal development for professional success. I am also the Chair of an organisation called Do It Now Now Ltd a social enterprise focused on helping Black Community Interest Companies, Charities and Entrepreneur’s access funding and education to make their organisations a success. I also sit on the board of NoMore.org a mission focused organisation based in the USA which is seeking to eradicate domestic abuse and violence and sexual assault in all it’s forms, globally. I’ve hosted some of the largest Tech conferences in Europe and introduced onto stage greats such as Steve Wosniak (co-founder of Apple) John Romero (creator of iconic games such as Doom and Quake) and co-founder of Eventbrite Renaud Visage. These are just a few of the many accomplishments that I am proud of.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would love to see far more equality, equity and diversity across every sector of our society. The eradication of patriarchy and racism as well as many other ism’s and most importantly for me, I would like to see women step into their power much more without apology. Further, I would like to see women work together rather than compete with each other since we are 50% of the world’s population, change will come when we use our collective power for the good of all.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
There are some phenomenal women leaders in the workplace, many are super qualified, experienced and deserving of their positions. I believe that there is a divide between those who are looking to crack that ceiling open for all women and those who are looking to crack the ceiling for themselves only to seal it back up again. Whilst a lot of progress has been made the data tells us that there is still a substantial way to go. You only have to look at the gender pay gap or intersectionality to know that there are major obstacles to climb. Sadly, most women can tell you about a woman in leadership who blocked them or made their lives difficult. That’s something that we need to change. There is light at the end of the tunnel however, the more women in leadership open doors for other women and share their wisdom and learning, the sooner the glass ceiling will have no option but to shatter. Women’s leadership today is moving forward but it’s still very limited by gatekeepers who are both male and female.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
I would say that it is great to get your professional development qualifications but if you really want to make a difference in how you stand out in the market work on your personal development. This means getting really clear on your goals and why they are important to you, working on your self-talk and narrative, dealing with confidence issues, asking the difficult questions and owning your value/worth. Do your research and ask for more. Work with a coach, get a sponsor or mentor and build your network. Keep reading and developing yourself, and lastly, know your negotiable’s and your non-negotiable’s. That clarity, confidence and empowerment is a game changer for thriving as a leader.