Fearless in Training is a creative consulting agency that Founder and CEO Madeline Pratt established to help companies implement the safest and most inclusive environments for their employees. At present, that means finding ways to cultivate a culture of inclusion and being mindful of the lingering threat of coronavirus.
Fearless in Training specializes in helping ambitious entrepreneurs develop and hone innovative marketing, branding and business development that is beneficial to all. From small start-ups to large publicity-traded entities, Madeline—who is also the founder of Womxn Talk Money organization—is happy to help leaders at all levels of the business ladder learn how to operate businesses effectively.
Madeline recently discussed her business via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to enter into the field of business consulting and why did you gravitate towards this field?
Madeline Pratt (MP): I first realized I could go down the consulting path when people started asking me if I would be interested in doing different types of freelance consulting work for them. I was still employed full-time at this point, and I was flattered that other people wanted my insight and feedback on their business goals. I’ve always said my biggest goal in business was to have people pay me for my brain power. The more freelance work I did, the more I felt the pull to work with lots of different companies as opposed to primarily working for one company, and from there the seed was planted to start my own consultancy.
MM: Was it tough to establish and manage both Fearless in Training and Womxn Talk Money? Have you any other companies?
MP: It’s funny, one company was started intentionally and the other was started a bit by accident. I am the kind of person that when I see a problem that I can solve, I just jump on it, which is how Womxn Talk Money came to be. The goal was to help close the gender gap when it came to public speaking opportunities, and although it’s felt like a bit much at times to juggle both of the companies, it helps that the values and ethos of both brands are very similar. I sort of see Womxn Talk Money as the child or little sister brand to my primary company Fearless In Training.
MM: What changes do you think companies need to make in order to become more inclusive?
MP: First and foremost, I think that more companies need to be led by women. So much of the working world has been created by and curated for men, it’s no wonder that so many women are leaving the corporate ranks to start something of their own. I also think that leaders of companies need to think about more than their bottom lines, and instead focus on the needs of their team. It will vary from company to company, so you need to listen to your staff and be open to their feedback on where you could be doing better, and then using that feedback to construct and execute a plan of action. Also, it’s important to remember inclusion isn’t about quick fixes, it’s about shifting culture, and to do so you’re going to have to bake these types of honest conversations into the ethos of your business.
MM: What changes do you think companies need to make in order to keep their employees safe from Covid?
MP: Let people work from home whenever and wherever possible. Allow people to be flexible in the hours they work, especially if they’re responsible for caregiving activities. Also, respecting that everyone’s comfort levels will differ. Some people will be chomping at the bit to come back to the office, whereas others might have fear and anxiety about being in close quarters with people. Respect your team’s individual needs, and as long as they’re getting work done, let them do it when, where, and how it works best for them in this climate.
MM: Economists are predicting a bad recession soon, so what technological tools or strategies can businesses use to help them weather the storm?
MP: If you haven’t already, set up your business to operate as much as you can online. If you’re in retail or hospitality this means setting up online shopping or ordering so that you can expand your geographic reach and attract new customers. If you’re a service-based business, focus on implementing tools like online booking solutions, online payments, and online meetings so that you can serve more clients virtually and efficiently. Also, from a strategy perspective, it’s a vital time to be revamping your online marketing strategy so that you can focus on getting more eyes on your business that are an ideal fit for your offerings.
MM: How do you think people can find better work-life balance?
MP: I honestly think that until our government mandates better universal leave policies, we’ll struggle to find this balance, and continue to have to wrestle with solutions. For me the biggest thing I’ve had to focus on is being flexible with myself, and doing my best to roll with the punches when work or life needs more attention and gets off kilter. Also, it’s critical to take moments to unplug. It seems simple, but shutting off your phone or leaving it behind all together can make a huge difference in the moments where we are not technically working but still feeling like we have to be “on” 24/7.
MM: How do you foresee online businesses changing the jobs landscape in the future?
MP: I think that we’re going to see a boom in entrepreneurship post COVID, as people realize they want to be in control of when and how they work, and also have more ownership over their economic destinies. My hope is that these newly minted founders also lead to creating more flexible/virtual work for freelancers or employees. I also think that monolithic, older corporate companies are going to have a harder time competing for talent because they won’t be able to offer the flexibility, innovation, or creative opportunities that online based businesses will.
MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to discuss?
MP: I am currently working on the manuscript for my first book, “Catalyst,” which will be coming out next year. It follows my journey and the story of my career, and is written to inspire other women to stop asking for permission to let go or burn down the things in their lives that don’t serve them so that they can rebuild a life of meaning, passion, and purpose. I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can share it with the world, and I’d love to come back and talk all about it when it’s published!
To learn more, visit the official website of Fearless in Training.