INTERVIEW : Maddie, Croydon Councillor and Business Owner

Meet Maddie, Croydon Councillor and business owner. She’s got 2 kids, runs an IT solutions business, and working for the people of Croydon to get their voices heard. Read about how rocks the multi-hyphenated method.

IMG_1094.JPGTell us a little bit about yourself…

I am married with two children. My eldest is 4 and my youngest is 5 months. My husband and I have been together 10 years this month and we have been married 7.

We live in the east of Addiscombe and have been here since 2013. I have lived in Croydon my whole life and intend to live here for the foreseeable future.

We have quite a big extended family to which we are very close.

What’s your trade?

I actually have two jobs. My husband and I run our own business called Henson IT Solutions. We do all aspects of IT but we specialise in development especially websites and mobile phone apps. We are a small business but we are growing fast and have 3 apprentices working for us. Our biggest product is Called ‘Plan My Fringe’, a tool for the Edinburgh Festival to help people work out their schedules whilst going to the Fringe.
My other job is as a Labour Councillor for Addiscombe East in Croydon.  I have been doing this since 2014 but have been involved with politics since I was 16.

What made you choose your career?

I got involved in politics because I have always wanted to help people. I always wanted to do a job where I could say that I made a difference at least in some small way. I ended up choosing politics for several reasons. Firstly my family were always very politically aware so I grew up discussing it, which helped a lot. I also (without going into too much detail) had to help a few friends through quite difficult times and it made me want to fight for what was right. The ward I represent is the most marginal in the borough so I have to do a lot of hard work to ensure I keep on top of things.

My business came about largely as a result of meeting my husband. I always had a natural ability with IT but Mark is a programming genius and had run the IT department for a large company. So when the opportunity came about we decided to go it alone.

How your attitude towards work changed since having kids?

I had my first child 10 weeks before my first election and we started the business between the two of them being born so this question is a little difficult to answer. But certainly in respect of my politics, having children does shift your world view. In many ways it hardened my desire to change the world as I had something directly to do it.

What’s your morning routine look like?

Technically I do commute to work but we only live a couple of miles from our office and as I need to nip back and forth between the two jobs meaning I often have to drive. So making use of the commute is  difficult.

How do you balance childcare and working?

My mum is around a lot especially in the evening so she is able to have the kids for us a fair amount. My eldest is at full time nursery. For quite a long time this was only part time, but we decided to send him more, partly was a result of starting the business but also as we felt he would benefit from it. The baby often comes into the office with us when we are both needed there.

The main way I balance however is by ensuring that there are set times which are for the children. The Baby and I always have 3 baby clubs we go to and the eldest has 2 sports clubs. That way I ensure that I have time that is about them. As Mark was also standing for election this year however so we did find it difficult to make sure that they had enough attention then, but we did our best.

In 10 years… where do you see yourself?

I would like to believe that in 10 years time I would have taken a more senior role within the council but I would also like to have grown the business up more.

Best piece of business advice…

That is difficult. In terms of politics it was probably from my Dad who simply told me I should always stick to my principles. In terms of the business it was probably “Don’t miss your drinks round in the office”. I know that is a bit of a flippant answer but it did mean that I got talking to people and it really helped me to meet people and just got me used to networking – even if originally it was just around the coffee machine.

Tips on managing the juggling act…

Make sure that you have your rules. For example I will always ensure I do certain regular weekly events with the family, and I will also ensure that certain things have to happen within the business, for example having a team meeting each week. It helps you keep some semblance of order within your life. It is not about the number of hours, but the quality of the hours spent with both work and family.

Want to find out more about Maddie – visit her website and say hello to her on social media:

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