An award-winning North East entrepreneur and breakthrough coach is sharing the secrets of her success with her own signature training programme.
Sarah Pittendrigh, a mum-of-one from Northumberland, founded luxury wedding and event styling business Simply Bows and Chair Covers in 2009, and has since franchised the firm, with 10 offices around the UK.
Along with her husband, she has also diversified their family farm by converting the traditional stone buildings into a stunning development of eight barn style homes, which have now been sold.
However, during lockdown, with Simply Bows and Chair Covers unable to trade, she found herself at a crossroads.
Sarah said: “When the world stopped, I looked back at the last 20 years and realised I’d worked so hard and been so busy facilitating everyone and everything else that I’d lost the most important piece of the puzzle – me.
“I decided to work on myself as I would my businesses and used the method I’d drawn upon to build and scale them, to refocus myself and to reframe my own personal goals.”
The result has now become Formidable Over Forty, her one-to-one breakthrough programme for female founders and businesswomen who are trying to juggle busy careers with family life.
Sarah, who was named the Daily Mail Natwest Everywoman Female Entrepreneur of the year 2015, said: “My road to success was definitely bumpy, and I went through redundancy, bankruptcy and serious ill-health along the way.
“However, I bounced back stronger than ever, and that’s why I’m passionate about working with other women who are struggling to find the right balance and have lost sight of their purpose, to help them be the best they can be too.
“My clients range from women CEOs running multi-million-pound businesses and owner managers right through to women returning to their careers after a gap whilst raising their family – a real cross section.”
The six-week Formidable Over Forty programme offers delegates one-to-one coaching with Sarah herself, to work through their challenges and identify what is holding them or their business back. It is an opportunity for them to claim back some time to invest in themselves.
Sarah added: “I understand the challenges these successful women face, both financially and mentally, because I’ve been through it all myself.
“My coaching isn’t by the book; the programme is based on my tried-and-tested I Can method, which I used on myself when I found myself questioning my future at 49.
“My mission now is to share this powerful tool with other women so they can move forward in a more purposeful and meaningful way.”
Joanna Feeley, CEO of Trend Bible, is one of the women who has benefited from Sarah’s coaching.
She said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Sarah – I feel like a different person! There’s nothing like having a coach who really understands the unique complexities of being a female business owner.”
Founder of bespoke events company, Moonflower Events, Gemma Hinze found her passion for her business once again thanks to the Formidable Over Forty programme.
She said: “Sarah helped me to find a version of myself that I had only hoped existed. I have become the person that now has self-belief, confidence and a strong can-do attitude. I now feel ready to chase and achieve the dreams and goals that I once allowed myself to believe were not possible.”
Sarah added: “It’s so important to me to be able to share some of my hard-won knowledge – but I’m not stopping here.
“I am looking to add two retreats a year to the programme, where women can step away from their business to create space for clear thinking to identify and design an action plan for growth and their future goals and aspirations.”