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GREAT IDEAS: Leadership Bold Moves by Ella Baché CEO Pippa Hallas

Leadership lessons from famous family business CEO

Ella Baché CEO Pippa Hallas knows imposter syndrome. 

As the first family member to work in her family's business in 20 years, she once struggled with being shut out by managers, and feared by her colleagues. 

"Walking in with my surname freaked everyone out in more ways than I can even to this day comprehend,"  she recalls in her new business book Bold Moves.

On dealing with imposter syndrome:   

  • Persevere. Tell yourself it's your right to be there and no-one can take that away from you.
  • Find mentors and role models outside of the business, and spend time with them. 
  • Work hard, lead by example, and learn the inside workings of the business. 
  • Life's too short to work with rattlesnakes. Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off. 

Pippa had qualifications and a career in marketing both inside and outside Ella Baché, but taking on the CEO role of an established family business meant she had to try to carve out her own voice. 

On finding your voice: 

  • Keep it simple.
  • Present a clear and consistent message that is universally understood.
  • Stand for something meaningful.  
  • Be curious, committed to learning, and protect the creative vision.
  • Learn to de-power bullies so they don't override you. Let them be heard, then ask questions, but don't try to out-bully the bully. 

Pippa says Ella Baché has taken full advantage of digital marketing, using a number of platforms to amplify its voice in a personalised way. 

On marketing: 

  • Small companies now have the same access as billion-dollar companies. 
  • Social media offers an amazing opportunity for brands to share their story with consumers seeking transparency.
  • Data and speed is key. Companies like Ella Baché operate at breakneck speed.
  • Communications have to be relevant, personalised, interesting. 
Pippa says the thing that rattles her most is when she hasn't protected her space and the rhythm of her day.  She says this is usually when she's packed too much into her diary and she should have said "no" more often, instead of "yes." 

On designing a better life:
  • Learn to say "no." If someone says "Have you got 5 minutes?", try saying "No, sorry not now," and go back to them later.  
  • Listen to your instinct.
  • Surround yourself with people who push you forward and give you momentum. If they don't, it's okay to go your separate ways.
  • Figure out where you are going to make the greatest impact and spend time doing that. 
  • Set boundaries and rules, and don't be swayed by others. 


Pippa's GREAT EIGHT (8 getting to know you questions we ask all our authors)

What's a book you'd recommend?   I love human stories and I just read Michelle Obama’s book Becoming and she’s incredible. What a fantastic female, and so elegant and positive. And talk about going from the outhouse to the penthouse and not losing your values in between.

How did you get your first ever job? I just walked in and asked for it. I just am one of those people that from a young age I was really energised.

What's something that frustrates you about business leadership?  Complexity. I’m a great believer in simplicity. I think if you can’t explain it in a really simple way, then you really don’t understand it. 

What’s one of the best moves you think you’ve ever made to improve your career? Continuing to learn. So this is, I’m sure, no secret for you, but so many great leaders just have this curiosity at their heart and certainly Ella and my
grandmother did. I commit a week every year in January to growing and learning. And so I can keep my own stimulus going and bring it back to the people I work with.

How do you cope with stressful events? I try and anchor myself in the things that I love. So obviously my kids, nature, the ocean and yoga.

What's been your lowest moment and how did you recover from it? My lowest moment was certainly two years ago when I lost my mum to cancer. And it was eight months of... Absolutely tested my brother and I to the limits. And I’ve got two young children. I was caring for my mum where she lived at home by herself. So that’s where she wanted to be. So my brother and I were caring for her and trying to run a business at the same time. And how did I deal with it? I threw everything at it that I could, and learnt that you really can’t control what happens in your life, but you can control how you respond to it. And I just kept really, really focused on that.

What do you think might be the next trend in leadership?  Yeah. Look, I think it’s an amazing time in leadership. I love that the next generation is embracing sustainability and authenticity and emotional intelligence. And I think all those things there are going to come together or are coming together and we’re seeing it happen so quickly and it’s a leader’s ability to deal with change. And it’s the only thing that’s certain. 

What is a fun fact that’s not widely known about you?  So I’m a vegetarian. I always say, “I don't eat toenails, snouts, or anything like that." 

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