Women who Run North London: Alina from Davies & Davies

"You must to be prepared to work very hard and surround yourself with people of integrity."

In honour of International Women’s Day 2019 we’ve sat down with some of the amazing women running businesses in Finsbury Park and Stroud Green to talk about how they got started, what challenges they’ve experienced and what advice they have for aspiring female business owners and leaders. Our “Women who run North London” series has featured these interviews, published across the past two weeks. For the final piece in our series, today we’re spotlighting our very own Alina, who has been with D&D for the last 11 years. After starting out as a bookkeeper for the company, she has worked her way up through the business to become one of the two female directors at Davies & Davies.

What made you want to run a business?

When I started with D&D over 11 years ago, I never imagined I would advance to this position. I started as a bookkeeper working two days a week. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I was given an opportunity and chose to make the best of it. And so I did!

Do you  have a specific female icon or person who inspires you? 

No, there isn’t a specific female icon. However, there have been a few women that inspired me while I was growing up and also whom I met in my adult life. I am most grateful to my mum. She is a wonderful parent to both myself and my sister. The three of us are very close and we have a very special relationship. She brought us up to be independent and to never take anything for granted. I think these are two qualities that are very important when building a career.

Do you think being a woman has shaped or impacted your experience of being in business? And if so in what way?

I believe that it has definitely shaped my experience of being in business. During my career I was lucky enough to be a part of the process of shaping the company’s core values and defining its identity. D&D is not about just providing a service, but  also the best quality customer care to make our clients experience as pleasant as possible. Customers are at the heart of our business and buying a property is one of the most demanding deals someone can face. Our mission is to make this experience seamless for our customers by offering help earnestly, transparently and with passion.

So the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Balance for Better- What does the phrase #BalanceForBetter mean to you?

I believe it the phrase aims to encourage a gender balance in all professions. Women have often hit an unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession. I think campaigns such as Balance for Better can help women overcome their fears and support them built the courage and confidence to believe that they can achieve their dreams.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

Hmmm, I have been given a lot of good advice. I will tell you about a very important one to me: to not take everything too personally. I used to take everything very personally (and still do so sometimes) which is why I have high expectations from everyone around me. I actually consider this to be one of my assets as it has helped me in my career, and enabled me to become the person I am today. Having said that, I’ve somehow overstepped the boundaries and it became unhealthy for me. I used to get too worked up and very upset. So I had to work to find a balance and be able to let go a little bit easier, which essentially helped me focus on finding the best solution and sorting things out most effectively.

If you could give one piece of advice to a young woman who was thinking about running a business in the future- what would it be

I would tell her that you must to be prepared to work very hard and surround yourself with people of integrity. She should always treat customers with kindness. The start-up process will undoubtably be very difficult, which is why having a good team of people to work with is very important for a business to succeed. And sometimes it can be quite an adventure to get the perfect team. But once it’s in place she can concentrate on developing her company, shaping its identity and do her best to make a difference.

Interview by Hannah Lawrence 

Photography by Odera Okoye,at Davies & Davies

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