In conversation with Distrkt’s Camilla Topham
Raising a family and leading a successful career is a tough gig regardless of gender. It can be hard to balance these two significant parts of life unless surrounded by a supportive network. As part of our series on International Women’s Day, we’re delighted to feature Camilla Topham, Co-founder of Distrkt, an F&B and leisure agent, who proves it is possible to participate in work and home life as she has barely missed a bedtime in the last four years!
Camilla is astutely aware of the challenges women face in the workplace and even launched Distrkt when her daughter was just six months old. Her work ethic led to Camilla’s introduction to Anne-Marie, one of our founding partners, who share similar values on how a business should operate – prioritising empathy towards peers trying to achieve a career while having a family.
We took advantage of IWD to meet with Camilla to gain her perspective on this annual event while gaining an insight into her work and home life juggle. This is what she had to say:
– What does International Women’s Day mean to you and why do you think it’s important?
IWD is important because it creates a space for women to celebrate their achievements and those of other women and with that generates a sense of solidarity which is fundamental in creating change no matter how incremental. IWD also shines a spotlight on the challenges that women are facing and encourages conversation. This year’s theme is ‘Break the Bias’. Working in the property industry as a female founder I’ve found the enormous bias that exists towards women incredibly frustrating and hindering. By shining a light on this, IWD is giving us all a space to speak out and connect over our experiences.
– Which women inspire you and why?
The women who inspire me are the women who raise other women and who lead the way in instigating change in a system that does not serve women. All working mothers inspire me, all women trying to form a career path in a man’s world inspire me, all women who don’t conform to patriarchy and do things differently inspire me. These are my clients, colleagues, friends and relatives… oh and Christine and The Queens (who is all of these things but not a friend sadly!)
– What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To be resilient. To quote Aaliyah (!) ‘If at first you don’t succeed, just pick yourself up and try again’. You can do anything you put your mind to but you need to grow a thick skin and keep trying. If something doesn’t work out then move on, it is usually it is making space for a better opportunity.
– What are you most proud of?
I am enormously proud of launching Distrkt when my daughter was just six months old and that we have managed to establish a more feminine way of doing business. I have been present for her and despite contrary belief, I have barely missed a bedtime in the past four years! We have proved that it is possible to be successful and also to participate in family life. It’s not been easy but I hope it is easier for the next generation. We have also shone a light on the impact of miscarriage and menopause on women both of which are not talked about and treated with shame. We intend to keep raising women, celebrating them and looking after them and we hope that our peers follow our lead.