This year, International Women’s Day is all about pressing for progress. A day of celebrating powerhouses making gains for themselves, and – simultaneously – those around them. We pulled aside our CEO, Marie Owen, to find out the secret to how she does this on the daily.
Marie is without a doubt an anomaly.
She has fearlessly shaped her own life, as well as that of her colleagues. From thin air – or, rather, a kitchen table – she launched the (now) largest service production company in the UK. When pushing for progress in our own lives, whether or not we have caught the entrepreneurial bug, we can all take a page out of Marie’s page turner.
Marie’s all about the, “why not?” response to the game of life. Her attitude has remained as consistent as the LS culture she has moulded. Described by her staff as the ‘life and soul of the party,’ it is one of growth and opportunity. She is fearless in her uncanny ability to evolve where necessary, and possesses sharp business and interpersonal instincts.
“For me it was, and still is, about doing something brilliantly - I won’t settle for second best and have high standards based around some very simple values: common sense, honesty, being nice and treating people well.”
The burning question upon hearing a talent-filled, vibrant success story, making waves across industries and geographies, is: How does this mum of three teenagers and a dog –who’s been married for twenty years with an enviable shoe collection, and who is frequently spotted rocking skulls or leopard print (a theme her dog’s bed adheres to as well) – accomplish the stuff of many people’s mere dreams?
She hates the word busy, but that is obviously what her life looks like.
“It actually makes me really effective. I like to think about what I’m doing when I’m in the moment. My family are a major part of my life, but when I am at work I think about work, and when I am with family I focus on family.”
No surprise, it is all about having the right attitude for Marie.
Despite doing well at school, Marie decided not to take a Uni course, but rather to take a “fun job” for a year at Edinburgh Airport before deciding what she really wanted to do with her life. She ended up becoming an air stewardess and staying in the industry for nine years. As a further nod to the game of life, little did she know that her time spent in the air would set her up with invaluable experiences and learnings to enable her for successful entrepreneurship in a whole new field.
From the wisdom this exemplary female founder has ascertained, here’s what she would advise those starting out:
“Make a plan. Go out and speak to as many people as you can about the plan. Have a clear idea of your ‘Why?'. Why do you want to start your own business? Focus your mind; do you want to change the world? Do you to provide for your family? Do you a want flexible working schedule? Be prepared for it to be harder than you think!”
Marie likes running, languages (after a few glasses of rosé at the Cannes Lions, she’ll flawlessly direct her Uber driver home), Morrissey, Flamingos, and she loves socialising (drawing around her a great circle of friends through work, as well as from her school days). Not necessarily in that order.
The Dalkeith native has a disdain for flying, despite her time as cabin crew. But, as she is jet setting all the time for work, overcoming this only serves to further demonstrate her capabilities to face challenges head on. She also dislikes confrontation (even though she’s a kick ass boss), meat, and rude people. Again, not necessarily in that order.
She believes starting her company was the “easy bit.” LS Productions (FKA Location Scotland) was born in 2006, and bear in mind, running a company was new to Marie (as was using a laptop!). Marie had a lot to learn, but, she’s always had the uncanny ability to ask the right questions, believing, “you are only stupid if you don't ask the question and once you do ask, you generally find out a lot of other people didn't know either.” Now an entrepreneurial veteran (and award winner), Marie ultimately got the answers to her initial questions right.
Marie is a staunch believer in treating people well, and looking after them superbly.
“Trust your common sense and be kind to yourself. That’s a lesson for all of us.”