Behind the Business: Madeline McQueen


What do you do for work?

I am executive coach and trainer, what I do is about helping people find clarity, confidence and empowerment whilst providing vital the tools and strategies to help them achieve success on their terms. I really like helping people see and then step into their personal power. I also deliver professional speeches and enjoy hosting conferences. I have just launched a speakers agency for diverse leaders to address the lack of colour on stages.

When did you find the work you love?

It’s difficult to pin point the moment as it has been a journey. It didn’t just turn up on day, it evolved. I’m one of those people who felt that I was a “Jack of all trades and master of none”, so I did a lot of hand wringing over the years about where I should put my stake in the ground. I’ve always loved working with people and had a sense of what they needed, my friends laugh at me when we are out and often say that I’m working again, as random people tend to tell me their innermost challenges. Its crazy!

A few years ago I realised that my work is about helping people embrace their magnificence. We’re all born magnificent but it’s other people’s labels and life’s curve balls that make us feel otherwise.

How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?

I started off my working life in customer service and I was good at it. When I moved from my home town in Leicester to London, England, I was offered a job in sales that just seemed to fit me, it was all about relationship building and questioning and listening skills. I progressed to corporate computer sales and sold the most Toshiba laptops in England in 2000, signing a £2m deal with a massive oil company. I was promoted to manage a team responsible for around £14.1m in revenue a year. It was a difficult transition moving from a customer focus to a team focus, I initially struggled but I made it work.

Then I had a miscarriage which was devasting but we had a great doctor who told us to try again and so we did and I immediately got pregnant with my second child. I already had a daughter that was about to go to school so I decided to quit there and then. It took me a while but I knew that I didn’t want to go back to working for anyone, I wanted to be around for my kids and lead my own destiny. So, I became business coach and consultant working with entrepreneurs and business owners on sales and systems and process.

I found that before I could work on the business I would have to work on the business owner first and build them and their confidence up, challenging old beliefs and championing what they had already achieved and were capable of achieving. I started to realise that working on the person was most important for me. I love seeing the lightbulb moments watching people truly see their personal value. So, I segued to executive coaching and haven’t looked back.

The crazy thing is that all of this time, I was managing my husbands business and speaking career. So, after being asked by lots of people to manage them I decided in December (after much toing and froing) to create a speakers agency for people of colour to readdress the lack of colour to be found on stages across the world.

The journey has had lots of ups and downs and it’s not easy. I’m working on where I want to be in my business and I am getting there, I’ve taken the pressure off and accepted that like fine wine, it takes time.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?

Believe and trust the process, it’s OK if it takes time. I find that with all of the hustle porn out there we are not allowing ourselves to trust our self-development process. It takes time to build a successful career, but the way most people talk you’d think you could do it in an instant. It’s not possible, certainly not without a massive hand up which includes money, resources and network. That is the exception not the rule and is rare. I would also instruct myself to focus clearly on what I want, visualise it as though it has already happened and then move towards it and then celebrate my successes. That’s been one of my best life lessons.

How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?

I have a great family and they are my inspiration I love being with them; my husband and daughters as well as my niece and nephews. Also, every time I go out and deliver and see my clients have lightbulb moments it makes me what to do more and create more for them and others like them.

What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?

Building in downtime. Working for myself I love that I can get up late some days when I’m not on client site or work late if I need to. If I feel that I’m not 100% I will take some time out, watch a programme that I love or a movie, go get a massage or get my nails done. It’s important that I spend time talking with my kids, reading a good book or just hanging out with my hubby or friends. I work hard during the week, sometimes into the night, but I’m really good at saying “OK Madeline you’ve been working back to back, now it’s time to chill, have some down time and relax.” It’s no good achieving great things if you don’t have the health or time to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

How does being a woman affect your work?

For me it’s a really positive thing. Years ago, I went to Anthony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar, when he was in London. He made a point about women’s power being in their flow and that really resonated with me. I grew up as the youngest of 6 girls to Caribbean parents, being black and a woman has always meant that I’ve had to step into my personal power to be seen and heard. I’ve found that my womanhood is my super power. It enables me to tap into my intuition, compassion, ability to manage different scenarios and use my forward thinking. For me, being a woman is a truly positive asset to the work that I do. That’s why I have no problem working with men, I don’t need to pretend to be like them to be powerful. My womanhood provides a power all of it’s own.

How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?

I’m pretty practical and organised so to be able to tick things off my list of things to do gives me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve been through some really hard times but something that always helped me through is music, I love a wide range of music from gospel to rock and everything in between. Music certainly moves me and I love to dance, that always lifts my spirits and reminds me that “I can.” I live by a few sayings and thoughts

Firstly, the fact that is if am breathing, I have life and if I have life I have hope and if I have hope I can change anything and make my life better.

Secondly, It will pass, it always does

Thirdly, What’s for you won’t pass you by – so it’s OK if it’s not for me

Fourthly, Life throws you curve balls so get your bat out and give them a good whack!

How do you ensure you practise self-care?

Believe me if I don’t, my family ensure that I do and since I can’t take them nagging me it’s a priority! When you are solution focused and raise your family to be so, it comes back to bite you in your personal down moments, as all of your words of positivity and self-care are thrown back at you!! It does make me chuckle sometimes. I’m 50 this year and over the years I’ve learned that my health is my wealth, so the minute I start to feel a like sluggish or low, I jump onto self-care. I also try and keep Friday evening and Saturday free to just be no work.

What does money mean to you?

Access. It provides choices and allows you to do things you might not otherwise be able to do. But to be honest, it’s not the be all and end all to me. I’ve had some tough times with money. We put our oldest daughter through private school when we really couldn’t afford to do so but she’d been offered such a terrible school we weren’t willing to let her fail. It was difficult we had no money but it’s amazing how when you are clear about what you want you make a way to make it happen. I have recognised that money comes and goes but if you are determined and focused you can make it and wield it’s power. So money for me is a vehicle, but it’s not+ the only way to travel.

What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?

Save, save, save… tomorrow might not be promised but it’s on its way and as long as you are alive there is no stopping it! I’d tell myself to invest and to learn about the power of money.

What’s next for you?

Growing my current client base and creating digital programmes for them. The world has changed and so many people are time poor, they need a variety of ways to access the support and information that they need, so, this year I’ve committed to ensuring that I have at least one digital programme. I’m also looking at creating a monthly mentor group for those who want more accountability and inspiration in order to achieve their goals. The other thing is to really grow my talent agency, I’m keen to really put it on the map and to ensure that underrepresented voices are heard. For me empowering as many people as I can in a variety of ways to step into their magnificence is crucial.

Visit Madeline’s site here

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