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In conversation with women leaders - Vanessa Green

Oaklin is conducting a series of interviews with inspirational businesswomen, exploring their journey to date and providing advice for others aspiring to follow in their footsteps. The aim of this series is to highlight the successes and challenges of being a woman in business so that other women can learn from these experiences. As we continue this series, we will also explore topics that greatly impact working women including how to seize potential and understand strengths.

Vanessa Green

Vanessa Green is a wellbeing coach and speaker. She has been part of the fitness industry for eight years. After dealing with severe anxiety, she created ‘Habit Heartbeat’, a set of wellbeing coaching practices to help individuals prioritise their wellbeing and feel unapologetic about it.

Tell us about your journey so far and what led you to this role today.

My journey has derived from my love of health and fitness. I wanted to educate myself on how to exercise effectively and help others achieve their fitness goals. This slowly led me to become a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, which I have been doing for the past eight years. More recently, after suffering with severe anxiety, I became aware of how to create routines and consistent habits that helped me to get through my anxiety. I realised I succeeded in overcoming my anxiety and created ‘Habit Heartbeat’ to empower professionals and young people to prioritise their wellbeing. The idea is to give young people the right tools, which was something I lacked when I was younger. The goal is to help individuals cultivate new habits that aid in navigating through anxiety and other potential mental health challenges they may be facing. 

What has been your biggest achievement and your biggest lesson?  

My proudest achievement is being able to stand in front of strangers every week to motivate, inspire and encourage them to complete a workout, which they could struggle to complete on their own. In turn, they come back each week not realising they are forming habits in the process. 

In terms of biggest lessons, I have got two I would like to mention: 

The first is to not invest energy into things you cannot control and the second is to understand that change is a process that takes time and effort. Setting realistic goals is fundamental to be able to navigate the ups and downs of change. It’s important to understand that unexpected events occur in life, and it is how we react to changes that matters. 

Who is/are your key role model(s) and source(s) of inspiration?  

I don’t have a known role model as such, but I would like to mention my father. He’s always been a strong advocate of moving your body and exercising, so that has had an influence in my life and career journey.  Additionally, over recent years, I have drawn inspiration from diverse sources like books, podcasts, and influential individuals I've encountered within the realms of well-being, healthy living, holistic health, and mindfulness. There are a lot of sources I have come across that I have used in my coaching career. For instance, books by Deepak Chopra on healing and personal development, and Jay Shetty’s weekly podcast. A great author I enjoy reading is Brené Brown. She writes about self-improvement and emotional wellbeing. All these sources have inspired my work.

In your opinion, how can organisations drive meaningful diversity, equity and inclusivity within the workplace?  

Organisations need to acknowledge their commitment to these principles. They need to set clear measurable goals and prioritise a diverse hiring process ensuring an unbiased selection process. Training programs should educate employees about biases and promote inclusive behaviours. 

As individuals, we should all strive to create a culture of belonging where everyone’s voices are heard. From a leadership perspective, it is about setting an example by promoting diverse talent into leadership roles and regularly assessing progress through data collection and employee feedback.  

What advice would you give to women looking to take the next step into leadership?  

  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses and believe in yourself and your capabilities. Stay true to yourself and be authentic in your intentions. 
  • Be aware of yourself so that you can recognise your anxiety triggers. This awareness allows you to manage your emotions effectively when you are in anxiety inducing situations and circumstances. 
  • Set goals for yourself so you can define a clear roadmap to achieve them. This also provides you with a sense of direction and purpose. If you are continuously setting goals and breaking them down, they will become more manageable. This is also linked to the ability to be resilient to navigate changes and setbacks.  
  • Be a champion of diversity and inclusion before you get into leadership. Leadership is a journey and progress is not always linear so you have got to be open to continue learning through your experiences.