Inspire Award Winner 2012 - Claire O' Connor
Name Claire O’Connor
Claire O’ Connor, Managing Director of Baby Ballet, one of the UK’s leading preschool dance concepts has been nominated for her services to the local community and dance industry. An award winning Mumpreneur, Claire has helped mum’s build a flexible career around their family and other commitment and now has 49 franchised areas.
What are your secrets to your success?
If there is a secret it lies in true hard work, great determination and real belief in what you are doing and why you are doing it. For me personally there have not been any overnight results, it has been a long, long journey, but making sure you really feel proud about the things you do achieve along the way, rather than always thinking that you have got lots and lots to do which is not achievable on a short term basis. Unfortunately there is no magic wand, even at baby ballet!
What does the Inspire Award mean to you?
It is a real privilege to receive the Inspire Award, it makes me feel really happy and proud of all the hard work I have put into building the business. At the beginning all I had was an idea and a lot of determination, so to see the business grow and to receive an award like this which underlines all the hard work which I have put in makes me feel really proud.
What words of wisdom would you give to students studying at Calderdale College?
Work hard to realise your dreams and keep your dreams at the forefront of your mind. I have never lost sight of my vision and I think that is what has kept me on the path through really tough times, so I would say take your dream and keep it close to you at all times.
Did your qualifications help you get where you are today?
I learnt such a lot from the college experience and the experience that goes with college and education.
What were your dreams as a child?
My dream as a child was to be happy, I am very family orientated. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I fell into Baby Ballet by complete chance and then once I got that idea I really believed it and wanted to build a business. As a child I didn’t have any dreams other that being happy and healthy I suppose.
I could not have done any of this without the support of my family and friends and other business people in Calderdale. It has been such a hard long journey to get where I am and I am sure there is going to be a hard road ahead as well, but without them there is absolutely no other way I could have done it.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 items could you not live without?
Three things would be my family, friends and I do quite like access to my emails.
What’s your grand plan? Where do you see this heading?
I want it to be a global children’s brand. I love the fact that the franchisees are getting the chance to have their own business and fill children with confidence from an early age.