Ladies in Startups

Celine Crawford introducing '15 mins of Femme'

Ladies in Startups-ElevatHer App


Tell us a little about yourself?

Counting down from 5 together.

5. Five, the number of languages I speak.

4. Four, my areas of expertise that include Executive Leadership, Storytelling, People and Scaling up.

3. Three subjects I am deeply passionate about: Diversity in the workplace, Mental Health and Balancing Parenthood with workhood.

2. Two sports I would gladly challenge anyone to: Tennis and Table Tennis.

1. But first and foremost, I am a Mum.


Tell us a bit about your journey?

Having lived in Germany, Nigeria and Lebanon before landing in London, I played tennis at a high level and initially contemplated a career in Sports. I eventually decided to take the academic path and thus started my career in Banking at the age of 19 after studying Business and Finance. After over a decade in equities helping publicly listed companies with their communication within the investor landscape, and finally equipped with my British passport which gave me freedom, I quit my job to look for a more meaningful challenge. These newfound wings landed at Smarkets, at the time a small startup made up of twenty people. Today a leading fintech company with offices in London, Malta and LA with 140 people our aim remains the same: making the event trading industry, namely betting on politics, sports and current affairs, fairer and more transparent.

Four years later, as Chief Communications Officer, and the only female on the Leadership team, also overseeing the People function I am excited about the growth phase we are embarking on. Moreover, the company transparency echoes deeply with my own need to be transparent and I am a huge advocate for workplace diversity, what it takes to navigate parenthood/work as well as mental health.


If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?

Invest in your network. The more diverse our connections by function, experience, demographic, gender, the more useful as you will benefit from novel inputs, fresh perspectives, divergent opinions and influence. These inputs create the mental maps of our world, and since these are biased towards our own perspective some people fail because they navigate their careers according to incomplete maps. Having an accurate map will help you avoid tension between your mental models and lead to a more fulfilling career and happier life!


What is most important for you?

This is my second decade of work and my first foray into motherhood. Doing things with purpose and intention has become much more prominent as I contemplate 2020. Being a parent means that profit without purpose becomes less appealing, and the idea of leaving a planet better off than I entered it is paramount. So sustainability, equality and transparency are important components of the projects I choose to take part in. I also feel a strong sense to pay forward my learnings from development programmes, mentors, growth networks and thus enjoy being a mentor myself to peers or young people starting out their career.


What are you most excited about for the future?

Last year I suffered a miscarriage. It was a harrowing experience that shaped me dramatically. When I opened up about my experience, the response was tremendous. I realised that we all go through significant experiences in silence. I felt a strong urge to speak out and share my experience with others to help bring to light subjects that are often overlooked, overheard or simply overwhelming. This is how my passion project ‘15 mins of Femme’ was born. A podcast aiming to give unloved, topical or misunderstood issues their fifteen minutes of fame.

What excites me most about the future is being a leader that is open and honest about what it takes to overcome the obstacles or challenges that life or work throw at you. If you are in a position of influence where you can tell a story, you have to treat that position with respect and be mindful of the example you are setting. I am lucky that my own values marry well with my current workplace values where transparency in the form of salaries as well as mental health is encouraged.

If all leaders led with honesty and honest insight, the possibilities of collaboration and growth are endless. And that is a fulfilling journey to be a part of.


How do we get in touch if we want to know more?

You can reach me via email at crawford.celine@gmail.com or via my personal podcast 15minsoffemme@gmail.com . I am active on LinkedIn and Instagram @15minsoffemme.