I recently spoke to Nicole Meliora on her ‘With A Story’ podcast

Nicole: All right. So, welcome to the With A Story podcast. I’m really happy today to have with me — Adele Barlow.

So, Adele is the Head of Content and Communications at Makers Academy, based in London, as well as a writer. She’s published for a number of publications and has published a number of books, as well as a number of other things, which — I’ll let you get into.

And she’s passionate about storytelling, startups and elevating women. So, really a perfect fit for — basically everything I’m interested in. So, thanks, Adele.

Adele: My pleasure.

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Listen to the full podcast on Spotify here

Nicole: So I wanted to start off by having you do an intro of yourself and who you are and what you do. …

These men are feminists and comfortable enough in themselves to not only witness but to encourage women into power

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Here in London, we’ve just gone back into Lockdown 2, which feels like the extended, unrequested sequel of a bad movie that’s already gone on for far too long. I know it’s important to stay positive, but sometimes it’s hard to remember why. (I loved this description of lockdown life.)

And then something happens that makes 2020 suddenly feel like a year of hope and change.

“Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction. And see yourselves in a way others have not, simply because they have not seen it before,” Kamala Harris said as she addressed the crowd.

Over the last few days, we’ve been hearing a lot about Harris, about her background and biography and plans for the future. But what I kept thinking about was the two men who played a role in her win — because the truth is, no matter how qualified or brilliant or amazing a woman is — since so much of the world is still run by men, the decision to put her in power often rests with them. …

I recently watched the first episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Kendall and Kylie didn’t even wear makeup, Scott looked 14, smartphones weren’t a thing. It felt like an ancient record of people who have now morphed into completely different beings.

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Then I watched the most recent episode. Kim turned 40. And that made me like time was passing by way quicker than I’d expected.

It’s easy to feel in your mid-thirties that life is past the opening act, especially when Bieber was discovered at 13; Zuck was 19 when he started Facebook; Kim was 27 when KUTWK first aired. …

We’re all figuring out how to function in a slightly cuckoo world

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Exhibit A

Scrolling through the photos on my phone, I noticed a real flower trend: magnolias down the road, daisies in the park, tulips. Where there used to be hikes, group dinners, a birthday, there are petals and leaves.

That doesn’t seem crazy. In fact, it seems healthy to acknowledge the blossoming beauty of spring. But what if flowers are my new friends? Since they’re the only ones I see every day now.

Insert psycho emoji. But aren’t we all going a bit off the wall? If you’re not feeling even a teensy bit of edginess or anxiety or melancholy… good for you, I guess? …

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A flower practicing social distancing

“This is like a film,” your boyfriend said last night, watching Boris address the nation to announce a lockdown. You were half-listening and distracted by the jigsaw on the table in front of you. Yup. You do jigsaws now.

So far, 2020 feels like walking into a bar and thinking ‘oh this could be fun’ then getting bitch-slapped really hard by a random drunk girl. Huh? What? Suddenly everyone’s locked in their homes, and some say this could be karmic payback from the environment (maybe Mother Nature is the drunk girl?) for all the shit from the past few decades.

After all, the canals in Venice are clearing; carbon dioxide emissions are down in China; the list goes on. You’re not sure what to think. Everyone has an opinion. …

What to read if you can’t bear reading one more article with the C-word

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If your brain feels like it’s rotting from a Netflix overdose and you’re looking for new authors to curl up on the couch with — each of the below was easy to binge-read, sharp, funny, and on my recent favourites list.

[1] My Friend Anna: The true story of the fake heiress of New York City (Rachel DeLoache Williams)

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Photo by CapDfrawy on Unsplash

‘This is the true story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress whose dizzying deceit and elaborate con-artistry deceived the Soho hipster scene before her ruse was finally and dramatically exposed.’

You think you know the people you’re closest to. But what if you don’t? And what if the friend you’re spending the most time with is actually the one you need to be the most careful of? I read this in one sitting and it got me thinking about female friendships, loyalty, and how toxic relationships can come in many forms. …

Intrapreneurship: the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organisation

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The WIS 2020 launch

One of my first jobs out of university was co-founding a startup called yMedia. This was over 12 years ago and looking back, it was a lot of fun but also the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life.

Still, I got to create something which I believed was making a positive difference. And that was a great feeling, a founder’s high. While I worked for Escape the City, I stumbled on that feeling again, when I helped to launch the Escape School. After that I went on to work for a startup within Virgin and then at Lexoo.

It took me years of working on other’s startups to learn that you could get the high without being the founder. As startups tend to be over-stretched and under-resourced, this makes them ideal environments for entrepreneurial people. Entrepreneurship is a muscle that you can stretch within someone else’s startup, as long as it’s aligned with the overall business goals. …

Your financial freedom impacts everything else

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Emilie Bellet is CEO and founder of Vestpod, a company dedicated to helping women to be smarter with their finances. She is also possibly the most relatable woman in financial education, or as Refinery29 put it, “The Coolest Woman In Money.”

I went to her workshops back when Vestpod was first starting out, and what I liked about them was the tone. Before that evening, I’d never been in a room only with women, only talking about money.

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I’m in the striped jumper, sharing how clueless I sometimes feel about money

I signed up to the Vestpod email newsletter, full of links like “10 Easy & Sensible Ways to Save Money” as well as “Closing the ‘first promotion’ gender gap.” (For every 100 men promoted or hired into their first management position, only 72 women are given the opportunity to take the same step.) …

Working with early-stage companies helps you grow entrepreneurial traits but it can be hard to know where to begin

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Photo by ROOM on Unsplash

If you want to start your own thing someday, sometimes the best education is the one you design yourself, by working with early-stage founders. In the short-term it’s more cost-effective than an MBA, and in the long run it’ll change you by instilling grit.

Since the process of bringing on early employees to a recently-formed startup is often random and unscientific, it can be hard to understand. To illustrate why some people get hired and others don’t, I wanted to share a fictional story about ‘Jane’ and ‘Barb’. Let’s pretend I was the founder.

(These insights are based on my time working with Escape the City in London, where I often got asked how to ‘break in’ to startups by corporate members.) …

On finding the strength to get back up when you get knocked down, as shared at Makers’ International Women’s Day breakfast

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Photo by Mitul Shah from Burst

When I was 12, I’d see high school kids walk by and think, when I’m their age, when I’m 17 I’ll have it all figured out. I’ll know how to talk to boys, those girls will want to hang out with me. And then I got to 17 and… things were even more confusing.

This kept happening — at every stage of my life I kept waiting to ‘get there’. As I got older, different friends started going through different stages at different times.

These days, half my whatsapp chats have photos of New babies! Engaged! Weddings! The other half have photos from friends who are travelling through Colombia or Ethiopia, or screenshots of text messages from friends are dating here in London. …


Adele Barlow

Leading content/comms at @makersacademy, author of The Almost Girlfriend, Finding Fulfililng Work, and Leaving Law (www.adelebarlow.com)

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