We can all learn a lot from Sharmadean, particularly when it comes to her outlook on life and women's equality.
Who is she?
Sharmadean Reid is the Founder and CEO of Beautystack and The Stack World. Her mission is to create economic and social empowerment for women through technology and media.
Okay, so you want to know what those businesses are.
The Stack World is a woman-to-woman community and network that covers five key pillars: beauty, wellness, business, culture, and society. They 'create spaces for intelligent, ambitious women who see themselves as infinite learners with insatiable curiosities.' Doesn't that description make you want to sign up like, now?
Beautystack was founded in 2018, which 'uses visual menus and social network mechanics to convert clients to book beauty and wellness treatments.' They believe that marketplaces shouldn't be driven by ads.
In an online world oversaturated with ads desperately trying to nudge us in the direction of a purchase, this viewpoint is refreshing.
Her work makes female empowerment and equality take centre stage
Her businesses are of course female-oriented, and with values underpinning them that would make anyone want to work there.
Beautystack was founded on the core belief that beauty services are perfect for providing job opportunities for women and empowered entrepreneurs. It wasn't developed simply to provide beauty services – it was also developed to offer a flexible, safe opportunity for women to work.
Unfortunately, women struggle to find the flexibility they need in their careers. With Beautystack, Sharmadean wanted to make sure that every woman's work schedule worked for them, rather than against them.
Even if you are not a business owner, we all would benefit from adopting this mindset. We should prioritise making our schedules work for us, rather than us trying to work around our schedules. If you aren't able to request flexible hours, it’s still worth making a change during your time off, and spending that time off wisely.
Safety was something else she wanted to tackle when starting up her business – part-time, low-paid work still poses a risk to women, even today. If you've ever had to take public transport late at night or worked in a less-than-fancy bar, you'll know exactly what she's talking about.
With Beautystack, I’m allowing women to work flexibly, on their own terms, and to choose the clients they want. On the app, you can see a client’s profile before going to do their treatment. It puts control and safety back into the equation.
Too many times we've had to sacrifice our safety for the stability of a paycheque. We should ensure that our safety is at the forefront of anyone's minds, whether that's an employer or a close relationship. We should be more like Sharmadean and only settle for what serves us positively and safely if we can.
Outside of the two businesses, she is also an advisor to the charity Art Against Knives, which trains women from disadvantaged backgrounds to be professional nail artists.
Oh, and how could I forget? She was awarded an MBE in 2015 for her services to beauty and women.
She has great book recommendations
Although it's from 2018, her Twitter feed dedicated to books she's read is a goldmine of good reads. And no, they're not all 'techy' books, they're books that we could quite gladly read before bed.
A few that stood out to me were:
- Grit by Angela Duckworth; 'why passion and resilience are the secrets to success.'
- The Empathy Instinct by Peter Bazalgette
- Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter by Paul Gauguin
Most of the books she reads aim to teach us something profound and will make us question our current thought patterns and the world around us in some way. They'll expand the mind of the reader, and in this digital age, I think that is so important.
Inspiring women in tech
Even in 2021, there are only 3% of females who say that a career in tech is their top choice, and only 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women.
Whether this is because males tend to subconsciously gravitate more to technology careers, and women not so much, is unclear. But worryingly this statistic could also be because there are barriers to be broken down for women to have a successful career in tech. Over a quarter of female students state that they've been put off by a career in technology due to the male dominance of the industry.
Let her inspire you to do the tech thing you've always wanted to do, and be bold by walking the path that not many other women do, or can.
She is the best kind of working mom
On top of the businesses, she's got one of the biggest commitments any of us could ever make: she is a mother, who's co-parented for most of her son's life. Sharmadean doesn't keep her views over childcare a secret; she rightly wishes that there was more government subsidized childcare available full-time.
She's not this stereotypical successful working mom who has to break her back to achieve things. She's highly successful without compromising on her values, and without having to give up her morals or a good work-life balance.
Whether you're a woman, a woman in tech, or just a reader looking to be inspired, I'd say that Sharmadean is a pretty inspiring place to start.