The Businesswoman Who Wants God To Increase Her Capacity For More

Claudine Reid MBE, one of the most well-known entrepreneurs to emerge out of Britain’s Black Christian community, recently published her first book about business. She spoke to Keep The Faith about her business journey, overcoming breast cancer and her plans for 2023.

KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): What inspired you to write your book, Priorities of a Social Entrepreneur?
CLAUDINE REID (CR): It was a long time in the making. I have always wanted to write, but I just didn’t have the time, the inclination or the process to make it happen. Whilst the country was in lockdown during the pandemic, I had an overwhelming feeling of the importance of sharing our stories, especially the entrepreneurial journey. I connected with Camelle Daley and the rest is history. 

KTF: What are the key points/lessons you want readers to take away from your book?
CR: There are many I tried to fit in, to make it as educational and inspirational as possible, but these are the main ones: 

1) Life is not linear; things do not always go in a straight line 
2) There will always be competing priorities 
3) Each priority requires a strategy and a framework 

KTF: How does it feel to be one of the most well-known social entrepreneurs and businesswomen within the Black faith community, as well as being highly respected within the secular business space?
CR: Gosh! The goal has always been about service to those whom I’ve been called to serve. The recognition and the respect came because I was working. It wasn’t what I had been looking for, but I do understand it came as a result (of the work I’ve done). I’m not even sure how to answer this, because to whom much is given, much is required.

KTF: What inspired you to go into business?
CR: That’s funny because I’m not sure it was about ‘inspiration’! It was more about a calling. I got into business to support my husband’s vision. The reason I stayed is because of what I became in the process. I could see that God was using business to stretch and challenge me in order to grow and increase my capacity for more.

KTF: You were headhunted for your role as Chair of Lloyds Bank Black Business Advisory Committee.  What was your initial response when approached for the role in 2019?
CR: The short answer was: “OMG!  Why me?!” After I got over the initial shock, excitement set in about the possibilities and the impact we could make in the Black entrepreneurial community.

KTF: What would you say are your main achievements since taking on the role?
CR: I would say supporting the bank to create and implement recommendations from the 2021 and 2022 report findings, which all led to supporting the Black business community, by creating an eco-system of support for all stages of the life cycle of business. I would also add raising the profile of the contribution of Black entrepreneurs to the UK economy.

KTF: You are managing director of a business – PJs Community Services – that was started by two Christians. What steps do you think churches can or should take to encourage greater entrepreneurship in the Black community?  
CR: 1) Engage with the business community by showcasing the important role business plays in society; for example: job creation, social mobility, community and generational wealth; 2) Celebrate the progress of the entrepreneurs, showcase their work, and create opportunities for them to network and promote their goods and services; and 3) Invite successful entrepreneurs to share their stories to amplify the message.

KTF: In your book you talk about your experience of breast cancer. How has being diagnosed, undergoing a mastectomy and breast reconstruction affected your approach to life and business?
CR: It brought home the understanding of my mortality and the time we have here on earth.

It made me live life more intentionally and challenge myself to do bolder things. It also increased my trust in God and my appreciation of my family and loved ones. 

KTF: What would you say is your greatest achievement as a businesswoman?
CR: Firstly, leading and sustaining a company for 30 years — through two recessions and a global pandemic; secondly, creating over 10,000 jobs; and thirdly, walking through the challenging times and seeing my spiritual, emotional and mental muscles grow.

KTF: How has your family helped you in your journey to business success?
CR: They are my number one support network. They keep me grounded. I would not have been able to do the journey without their unwavering support.

KTF: What role has your faith played in your life?
CR: My faith is like insulation, a hedge of protection keeping me sensitive, stable and safe from the external challenges of life.

KTF: How will you be spending Christmas?
CR: Like every other Christmas: with family and food.

KTF: What are your hopes and plans for 2023? 
CR: That God will increase my capacity for more.

Visit www.claudinereid.com for further information.  Claudine’s book, Priorities of a Social Entrepreneur, is available at www.amazon.com

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