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17 and a Half Questions With Leanne Mair

We ask inspiring people 17 and a half questions. This week we have Leanne Mair who has spent the past decade working in asset management. She loves all things related to human interaction and understanding people better, especially focussing on the Black female experience. She spends most of her time thinking about food: What to cook, where to eat and looking for new recipes

1. What I like about my job

Variety. I am so happy that no two days are the same, monotony is a killer. I am currently on maternity leave and I have also been able to really connect with myself and explore and discover more. This has led me to become very vocal about the Black experience, especially as a woman. I feel it is so important to speak out when you can about issues that are just so life-changing and integral to who I am.

2. What sometimes frustrates me

People say ugly things and apologize or excuse it as a joke and think that everything should be fine. Whether it is in the corporate world or in personal life, people forget that what has been said cannot be unsaid and an apology isn’t enough. This is particular pertinent as a Black woman, as people say racist things, but believe that their apology means there is no problem. We all need, not only to be responsible with our words, but dig deeper into our psyche to understand where our beliefs come from. Words hurt.

3. My secret alternative job

There are three main ones. A doctor – I love helping others solve their problems. And though I didn’t manage to do that, I have still managed to fulfill this part of what I believe is my purpose, as I also do work as a coach. Then the other one would be a writer, but I am not sure if I am cut out to write non-fiction although I wished I had written a female version of the Adrian Mole books. Interior designer – I am doing a postgrad course to get this one under my belt. Maybe when I am a pensioner, I will be working on amazing projects.

4. Best strategy to survive a really bad day at the office

Planning drinks with a friend straight after work. There is truly nothing like a good conversation over a glass of wine (virtual still works) and I know that no matter what, the day will end on a good note.

5. When are you in the famous flow

Really late at night, almost early in the morning, when the light is blueish and I can only hear the birds chirping outside. This is when I can write my best articles or I can come up with solutions for whatever big questions have been in my head that I need to solve.

6. Biggest success so far

Still being able to hold on to my identity as Leanne, as I gained the extra title of being a mum. I was terrified that I was going to lose myself under the weight of society’s expectations of a mother, but so far I am happy with the fight I have put up and am still winning. I am all things, woman, wife and mother.

7. Biggest defeat

Before I moved to Germany, I went for a job and had 6 rounds of interviews and was down to the last two candidates and didn’t get it and I was devastated, as I really wanted the role. I have known for a long time that it wouldn’t have been the right move, but the disappointment sat with me for a while.

8. Worst buzzword

Touch base. Are we going to have a proper conversation or not? Is this a trick to make the conversation sound informal, but you are going to grill me? I like clear intentions.

9.  Best reward after a hard week at work

Kids and hubby in bed and curling up on the sofa with a glass of red wine and escaping into a world of crime or Regency romance, mood dependent.

10. Home office or in-house

I am a highly social person and an only child, so a mixture of the two caters to both sides of my personality.

11.  Most important traits a colleague/business partner must have

Awareness. This covers a broad spectrum, as they need to be able to read situations and people. Knowing when to pull back and when to push on. Being aware can prevent so many bad situations, especially foot in mouth syndrome.

12. Your creative hack

Music really gets my creative juices flowing. It has to be from a particular era and that is when I was in my teen years. I could listen to Lauryn Hill’s ‘X Factor’ on loop for hours while scribbling away and contemplating new ideas.

13. First website to check in the morning

LinkedIn.

14. Favorite digital tool

WhatsApp.

15. In which book or series have you learned the most for your (work) life?

The Bible.

16. Which series, book or podcast can you generally recommend?

Series: Restaurants on the Edge

Book: The Social Animal

Podcast: Conde Nast Women Who Travel

17. Most prominent follower on a social channel?

I use social media, but I am not a huge lover, so I don’t have any prominent followers. And if I do? Oops!

17 and a half: What have always made me…

…smile about the digital era: It doesn’t matter how many apps we have to organize everything, I still need to have an actual book-in-hand diary. I am that woman who carries her book and pen. I will still use my online diary, but I still need a physical one in hand. A habit I have had since I was 11.

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