Wonderful Women Interview with Entrepreneur Danusia Malina-Derben
Danusia Malina-Derben is an entrepreneur and C-Suite Expert. In the autumn of 2018, Danusia launched School For Mothers™.
School for Mothers work with working mothers and especially Senior Female Leaders to harness their talent, power, and influence. Danusia is also host of the School for Mothers Podcast, which disrupts the narrative of motherhood. It offers new conversations about what it takes to be fulfilled as WOMEN, once we become mothers. Each episode of the School for Mothers podcast brings unfiltered conversations on motherhood, work, culture and way more.
Within 6 months of launching the podcast, it reached #1 on the UK iTunes Business Podcast Charts toppling Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Week fame as well as Gary Vee and Guy Raz, all mega business giants.
Her upcoming book about work, motherhood and freedom is a polemic that shatters taboos and myths. Danusia is a sought after keynote speaker and frequent media contributor on women’s career success.
She is a mother of 10 including her ‘last baby’, triplets of 6 years old.
It’s a joy to share Danusia’s brilliance on the blog!
Describe a typical day for you?
I’m an early riser so I’m sometimes awake at 5 am. If I’m lucky, I can get what feels like a half day’s work done in a couple of hours. I adore quiet energy when everyone is fast asleep and I’m able to focus. I’ve been known to be at a fitness class for 6 am but I have to roll with different cyclical times for this – term time, school holidays etc all make a difference. My first hot drink is an Earl Grey tea and my second a decaf black coffee.
Our home is a busy one but people are always surprised it’s not a crazy loud one. Before everyone goes to school or college we make our beds, pop washing out and breakfast together. We’re old fashioned as we eat a lot of meals together and chat over our day. Once everyone is at their school or college I jump on a train to London for client meetings or I work out of The AllBright (women’s member club).
When I’m not in London I work from home and take time out to walk along the beach with Dickie our Daschund. We live in Hove on the coast – the seashore is an amazing source of inspiration and nourishment.
As we’re a big family, we have a set routine and build spontaneity into that. Our home keeps pin tidy because we hoover every evening before we settle down to eat/chat. I couldn’t sit down in a mess and in the words of one saying, ‘A tidy house helps a tidy mind’ – it’s true for me!
Our youngest children, BGB triplets, have supper at 6 pm and when they’re settled, we eat together later so that we can chat without kids around. We’re not into rubbish TV and love a good Netflix series. I might work a bit on my laptop in the evening but am mindful to make sure life’s a great blend of socialising too.
Bedtime can be anything from 9.30pm to 1am – it all depends on what’s going on!!
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Creating a harmonious big family life at the same time as setting audacious goals for myself in business, has to be my greatest achievement. It would’ve been all too easy for me to give up on my own talent because of all the pressures women are under to compromise on what we want once we become mothers. Raising ten happy children and insisting on my own career potential, feels pretty revolutionary.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Mont Blanc pen in a red monogrammed pen case, perfume testers from Acqua di Parma, a small spiral notebook, Me-sheets, pink tangle teezer brush, business cards in a tiny gauze drawstring bag, spare contact lens, bottle of water, spearmint gum, make up bag with basics all in tiny sized tubes, tangled headphones, portable phone charger, iPhone in a red leather case with bank cards, and sunglasses.
What are your ambitions in life?
I like to check out the size of my ambitions. Are these micro, mini, medium, mega ambitions? And on top of this, I also like to use my brazen-ometer when I think about my ambitions – in other words, I ask this question: how brazen is this ambition?
Being apologetically ambitious is still frowned upon, especially for mothers. My ambitions for myself are to continue to expand my mind, to keep reading a fresh book each week, to be at peace with my body as she’s an incredible workhorse piece of art, to be the best mother I can be with the resources I have and to bring the messages I know only I can bring to the world, no matter how off putting being visible, seems.
I’ve a responsibility to live fully and to be a role model.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That reducing decision fatigue is crucial. I try to eliminate non essential choices from my life so that I can focus on the things that matter. In practical everyday terms this means I develop repertoires – of food, music, clothes. Repetition is key. It saves time, creates consistency and clears energy as I don’t have to clutter my thoughts on these items.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
My vision is that School for Mothers will be firmly established as a go-to for companies wanting to retain and develop their senior female talent. Our podcasts (School for Mothers and School for Fathers) will continue to have global reach and be changing the narrative about what’s possible for women and men once they become parents.
I suspect my keynote speaking will blossom into mega auditoriums holding thousands, it’s looking that way…from a professional perspective deepened impact as a thought leader is on the cards.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur/ creative?
If corporate/business life was designed with ‘care’ in mind we’d probably not be seeing as many people striking out on their own. The two worlds require different skill sets and I’d suggest any budding entrepreneur thinks carefully about what it truly takes to run a business. Read up about these skills and talk to entrepreneurs about their challenges, mistakes and learning. Ask them, ‘What would you do differently if you were setting up a new business now?’ Read Vicki’s ‘MUMBOSS’ of course!!
What advice would you give to a new parent?
I give advice to new parents when they ask for it. The best advice is to ignore people’s unsolicited opinions unless you’ve sought them out, in which case listen…..
Finally, happiness is…
Personal, and changes. It’s multi layered. Happiness can be a fleeting moment when all things feel ‘right’ in my world. That rightness isn’t static. It often includes a sense of meaningful contribution beyond myself, my children at peace with themselves and me feeling my potential is being developed.