Following the great feedback from our #SaltSession: Women in Tech event in London, we would like to continue the discussion around diversity with an interview series presented by Salt. We have reached out to more opinion leaders to get their thoughts and advice on how they have grown their career.
Our first inspirational interview is on Women in Technology with Sarah Jones, CEO at Sprii.com, the online site selling Everything for Mums.
What is the biggest deterrent to women succeeding in the workplace?
I’ve faced no challenges being a woman in business. I think if you are passionate and are prepared to work incredibly hard, then naturally that earns the respect of everyone you interact with; be it a potential business investor or your colleagues and peers.
In your opinion is it getting harder or easier for women in tech?
I think the Middle East is embracing women in business like never before. If you reflect on the panel I recently took part in for Entrepreneur’s Achieving Women Forum, it featured Entrepreneur’s from all walks of life. Real, engaging and knowledgeable experts sharing their experiences and best practices; it’s this kind of platform that encourages women in business to continue to smash that glass ceiling.
What are you most proud of?
Raising USD4.1m in fundraising since Sprii’s inception. I don’t think I have ever worked harder to achieve the next stage of expansion; it’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.
In a management position, how have you found it best to promote and nurture women in the work place?
Have a development structure in place, so your employees can see a path for their progression. Little goals and targets are great ways to motivate week-to-week as well.
Regardless of gender what is the one piece of advice you would give to someone in the midst of their career?
Be a sponge! Soak up everything and everyone around you. In any organisation, if people are willing to share their knowledge with you and invest their time training, then pay attention and be humble with it. It’s a small world out there and employers remember inattentive or lacklustre employees.
Any reading/website you would recommend?
I listen to Dubai Eye each morning for a round-up on regional and international affairs and always check publications like Arabian Business, Inc. Arabia and Entrepreneur Middle East for the latest in retail and tech news.
What is your biggest stress reliever?
Sleeping until noon on the weekends and making time to actually switch off. I play Paddle Tennis every Sunday evening, which is my way of unwinding after a busy day in the office.
Is there one piece of advice you wish somebody gave you at the beginning of your career?
Prepare to give your business everything! I’ve missed important occasions, worked on my wedding day and closed funding on my honeymoon. Did I know it would be quite as hectic as this in the beginning? No, because I love what I do, it’s naturally become my way of life.
What is your professional mantra?
Hire a rockstar team who believe in you as much as you believe in them. They are the core of any successful business, so make sure you find the perfect fit!
About Sarah Jones
‘A true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer’. Sprii.com chief Sarah Jones is living proof of this. Bitten by the bug at just 14, Sarah set up a profitable eBay business importing items from across the globe and selling in the UK, igniting a love for e-commerce and developing an acute business mind in the process.
Four years later, a degree in Economics at Edinburgh University beckoned, which not only heightened Sarah’s financial acumen, but also her highly competitive nature! Her placement at Deloitte London in the retail M&A team led to an international secondment in the Middle East just a few years later.
Which is where the Sprii.com story really begins, and to a point, where Sarah the CEO figure emerges. Described by her friends, as “a relentless enterprise of fresh ideas and innovations” she’s never lost the thirst for clinching a business deal first hand and is a self-confessed workaholic. Her phone is never off, her mind is always active and her passion for driving the business forward is unrivalled.
Spotting a gap in the e-commerce market on arrival, Sarah secured funding for her startup in a matter of months, growing it rapidly into the site that it is today, an e-commerce site that focuses on selling “Everything for Mums”.
Awards & Accolades for Sprii.com and Sarah Jones
Small Business CEO of the Year Award, a listing in Arabian Business’s 50 Most Influential Brits in the UAE, the E-Commerce Enterprise Agility Award and was selected for Google’s prestigious BlackBox accelerator program in Silicon Valley in 2015. 2016 proved equally successful, winning ‘Online Business of the Year Award’ at the Gulf Capital SME Awards and appearing on Forbes Middle East’s ’50 Of The Most Promising Start Ups’ list.
For more information visit: www.sprii.com
Stay tuned for our next #WomeninTech #SaltSessions interview……….