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Interview with Performance Coach Claire Brumby

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Get to know Claire Brumby—an extraordinary keynote speaker and entrepreneur whose journey is marked by triumphs and resilience. Claire founded a globally recognized healthy snacking brand that reached 21 countries, showcasing her entrepreneurial prowess. Post-exit, she transitioned into an accredited ICF coach and leadership trainer, passionately unlocking potential for individuals and SMEs. Get to know Claire in this exciting interview.

What inspired you to start your heathy snacking brand, and how did you navigate the early stages of building the business?

Surviving a life-threatening Pulmonary Embolism in 2005 was the catalyst which generated the inspiration to launch Scrubbys. I was extremely ill for 18 months during my recovery, part of that was to embark on understanding and researching nutrition and healthy eating to better aid my healing…that led to researching the category and discovering a gap which existed in healthy snacking, the idea and brand was then born.

Navigating the early stages of the business was extremely difficult, not least due the fact that trying to raise launch capital was near impossible, add 3 young children, working full time and not having any knowledge of the food industry, we had quite the mountain to climb. For me the secret is in persistence, knowing your why and knowing that challenges will always be there, once you get you head around these, it leaves you more clarity for the doing.

Your journey includes transitioning from entrepreneurship to coaching. What motivated this shift, and how has your background as an entrepreneur influenced your coaching style?

When I exited the brand in 2016 I decided to work exclusively with food businesses as a mentor and consultant, it was during this time that I became a professional speaker too, but the truth is, I had for many years wanted to be a coach and when the pandemic struck in 2020, it felt a natural segway to pursue this, so I dedicated over a year to 100+ hours training, 200+ hours coaching and became an ICF accredited coach, I also trained in NLP and DISC too.

My entrepreneurial background influences my coaching style in that clients have described me a very energetic and like an espresso shot! I guess this is typical of an entrepreneurial profile! I also think due to my background in having to find solutions, I am a very curious person, being curious in coaching is I feel crucial, we as coaches when using our curiosity can help facilitate otherwise unexplored thoughts, which can elevate our clients and remove invisible obstacles.

In your book, “The Winning Mix”, you share insights for food business success. Can you highlight a key lesson that you believe is crucial for entrepreneurs in the industry.

This isn’t so much a lesson, more like a couple of crucial things which I believe will set any food businesses in good stead. Firstly, from the book, one of my ‘Claire’s Diamonds’ which can be relevant for any business in any industry, and that is “Innovation + Positive Disruption = Your best chance of Success” if you take the time to fully immerse in this, I believe you can take on any obstacle, any sector, and any competition.

My second would be around fully knowing and understanding your commercials inside out. When I was a food consultant, I had many entrepreneurs come to me who had spent so much time and energy on marketing and had big ideas but neglected to get a handle on their commercials right through the supply chain, from production to listing, and this is a crucial element to get right and fully knowledgeable about from the off.

Entrepreneurship often comes with challenges. And you share a specific challenge you faced and how you overcame it, providing a valuable lesson for others.

A specific challenge I faced was knowing when to walk away from the brand, and how to do that. For me the dynamic in the business changed when we grew the board of directors and brought investors into the business. I think as entrepreneurs it can sometimes be hard to accept when it’s time to move on and know that there are times when the business (your baby) needs more than you can give. In my case the brand needed more to become the vison we had for it; a factory, UK based and using produce from then UK, this is all happening now under the new owners, which is what the brand and us as founders deserved for it to become, given all the years we gave it.

A valuable lesson to share here is, know when to walk away. I love the phrase ‘Never Give Up’ but for me it doesn’t mean in the context of what you may be working on, or your business, I mean don’t ever quit on yourself, never give up on you, and if that means walking away, getting on a new ride, then don’t be afraid to, you always have a choice, you just have to find it and then have the courage to take it.

In what ways have your experiences, including pitching on Dragons Den and engaging with royalty, played a role in shaping you as a business speaker and author?

Pitching on Dragons Den at the time was an ordeal. Behind the scenes so much was going on personally and professionally, and the consequence of pitching while carrying all of this was my confidence and self-belief took a massive battering, to the point I thought that I was just done, I didn’t think I would come back from the low place I found myself in. Building myself back up, finding and owning my personal power came after the Den, so this helped shape me into the speaker I am today. I speak from the heart, I share personal stories, I identify with the audiences I speak in front of, and I have a deep desire to help unlock what may be holding them back.

I met several members of the British Royal Family at St James Palace, and the timing of that could not have been more perfect, in that, quite like when I entered the Den, I wasn’t in the best place, and meeting them gave me a real boost. It also helped me see a great life learning, about people, and that is, no matter who you are speaking to and meeting, we are all human, we have the same needs, we all have feelings, and we all have a desire to be seen and heard, this is something I keep front and centre when I take to the stage. It’s always about the audience, about the people, about how I can help and serve them.

The same thread runs through of how this shaped me as an author, I gained confidence, self-belief and a great understanding of people so putting the words down in my debut book (book No2 is being written as I type!) felt like I’d found something I was meant to be.

As a successful business owner and a mother of three, how do you manage the balance between your professional and personal life?

This is something which has evolved for me and is a question I get asked quiet often by mums in the audience when I speak, and my simply answer is to be kind to yourself, cut yourself some slack and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I think we can become so obsessed in the pursuit of the elusive balance that we forget to ‘be in the moment’ I find the more we can remember to do this and be ourselves, not succumb to what the societal narrative might be at any given time, the ‘balance’ really does sort itself out. I guess in a word it would be to ‘relax’!

You’ve spoken at conferences for global corporations like Asda, Bupa, and Kellogg’s. How do you tailor your presentation to different audiences an industry? What messages or insights do you aim to convey to your audience during speaking engagements?

I have a very thorough process the minute I embark on working with a speaking client; this includes a comprehensive call where we deep dive into the desired outcomes from my keynote, how does the client want their audience to feel? Do they want the audience to take action? If so, what? Are they looking for a change in behaviour? How will they know this has happened? This call is the foundation, and we work together from there. I immerse myself into the culture and language of the organisation so whilst I can get my message to land, it also resonates with their makeup. Always when I speak there is a message of confidence, self-belief, mindset, leaving comfort zones, facing fears, taking action and personal power, it’s my job to land that whilst taking the clients objectives and key outcomes on board.

Among your various achievements, including awards and swimming the English Channel, which accomplishments hold the most personal significance to you, and why?

Great question! The achievements where I have had to overcome personal challenges will always hold the most weight for me, because they offer magic inside them. When we undertake something which pushes us mentally and physically beyond where we have a preconceived, often unqualified belief that we can achieve, and we surpass that, for me, it’s like an invisible barrier is removed, and we dare to dream, what else might be possible? For me that is the best feeling, because not only do we question what’s possible within the same aspect, i.e. the challenge achieved, it has the ability to make us think the same in other areas of life, and that’s the magic.

What do you enjoy most about being a keynote speaker, and what do you aim to deliver to your audiences?

Without a doubt what I enjoy the most is the people. I love to meet new people, from all walks of life, I love the energy in the room, the energy exchange between me and the audience. I love the spontaneity it can bring; I love the potentiality of what’s possible when minds meet. I love the impact I never take for granted that I have the opportunity to make. I love when participants come up to me at the end, or email me afterwards and share what my words prompted them to take action with, I’ve had city relocations, having conversations they have been avoiding, promotions they have decided to go for, making conscious choices to not undervalue themselves anymore, decisions to take a leap on something they have procrastinated on, so many more, this makes my heart sing!

What I aim to deliver to my audience is to see, feel and harness the power of themselves. For them to believe they can, for them to take the action, for them to feel powerful and unleash themselves from any limiting belief and to deliver the understanding that they hold the power to write their history and change their future.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs starting their journey, what would it be?

This is really simple; know yourself and define what you want. There is a diamond in book about this, and it is – “Any road will do if you don’t know where you’re going, but you may well end up in the wrong place with the wrong life/business on your hands”. Being self-aware is a superpower.

Looking ahead, what are your future goals, both in your professional career and personal life?

I am writing my second book currently, so my immediate career goal is to achieve bestseller success with that and take it internationally onto global stages with me. Next year will see me speaking on more international stages. Personally, having turned 50 years old this year I am paying even more attention to health and fitness goals and aging healthy, so I am including more swimming achievements and some gym milestones.

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