WIT Stories with Amanda Gummer

Amanda Gummer WIT Stories

Dr Amanda Gummer is the Founder and CEO of Fundamentally Children. She is the WIT UK Chapter Co-Chair and has been an active WIT member since 2014.

What is the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as a businesswoman today, and why?
Nice guys don’t finish last. I don’t believe you should have to choose between doing good and making money. I am passionate about helping to improve the lives of families and children around the world, but I don’t apologise for enjoying the commercial aspect of the business. I think by being kind, authentic and smart, you can be a ‘nice guy’ and be successful.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in business, and how did you overcome it?
Moving from essentially a ‘stay at home mum’ doing some part time consultancy when my girls were very young to being taken seriously as a businesswoman. Overcoming it has taken time, but I’ve just let my work speak for itself. When McDonald’s is using my name and video as one of their ‘experts’ for the Happy Studio app that we helped develop, it’s much easier to convince people that I know what I’m doing!

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?
Network, network, network – but do it authentically. Look out for things you can do to help others and ask for help when you need it. In the industry, and especially in WIT, there are lots of people who will help you if you ask.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
Being approached by Random House to write a book on Play. Seeing it published was amazing too, but I found the fact that a publisher wanted me to write a book to be incredibly flattering (writing the book itself was a whole different ball game).

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Personally, seeing people take my advice and put it into action to make great products is very rewarding, but you can’t beat the look on kids’ faces when we turn up to settings, especially in deprived areas, with a load of new toys and watch them play in ways the manufacturers never imagined. It gives me hope that these kids have the imagination and tenacity to solve whatever problems the future throws at the world.

What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL businesswomen do right now to take their business or career to the next level?
Set measurable goals. For today, next week, next month and next year. You can drift along for ages and never really understand if what you’re doing is having the impact you want. But if you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can reflect on it afterwards and decide if you need to change anything going forward.

What advice would you offer working moms?
Look after yourself first. I developed a model of family life called Parent-centred Parenting. The best analogy is the airplane safety card. You’re no use to ANYONE if you can’t breath, so secure your own oxygen mask first and then help everyone else with theirs. Get rid of the guilt and believe that the best thing you can give your children is a happy, relaxed, confident, fulfilled role model for them to copy from.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Put the kettle on (I’m British – can’t start the day without my cuppa). Then check emails and plan the day using the ‘do’, ‘delegate’ ‘defer’ or ‘ditch’ technique for prioritization. I try to do this before 9am so that I feel that I’ve got a head start on the day and ideally have 3-5 things that I focus on each day.

How do you recharge/reboot?
I love being in my garden and I’m a sucker for a spa trip, but a glass of wine and a chat with friends is the best antidote to a challenging week.

What does WIT membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career?
I’ve loved being involved in WIT and was flattered to be asked to co-chair the UK chapter. I’ve met so many people, some of whom have gone on to be clients. The biggest impact has been the profile raising by being involved in panel discussions at events such as Digital Kids and the Nuremberg Toy Fair.

What has surprised you most about WIT?
The generosity of everyone with their time and connections – it’s lovely to be part of something so collaborative. The Female Entrepreneur Association had a quote on their Facebook page recently saying ‘I’m not interested in competing, I hope we all make it’ and I think that attitude sums up WIT.

What do you wish other people knew about WIT?
That’s it’s not just for women and it’s not a bra-burning feminist movement. It’s a supportive network of like-minded individuals who recognise that networking doesn’t have to always be on a golf course!