'We all have a TED-worthy story'

Helen Packham
Helen Packham

Eighteen months ago, mum-of-two Helen Packham went from being a self-proclaimed 'housewife in hiding' with an anxiety disorder to sharing her story on the TEDx stage in front of 1,500 people.

Now a businesswoman, coach and speaker, Helen – who lives in Southwick – is introducing a new annual conference to the Brighton business scene to inspire others who might be having a crisis of confidence, suffering from anxiety, nerves or at a crossroads in their lives.

Entrepreneurial Leaders Live is aimed at small business owners struggling to stand out in a crowded market, those who want to know how to attract the most ideal customers and win more business. This two-day event is being held at The Harbour Hotel on Brighton’s seafront.

Speakers include Ann Daniels, the first woman to walk to the North and South Poles, and there will be workshops, a chance for delegates to tell their stories, and ends with a half-day in the hotel spa to relax.

Helen said: “I want to share the message that everyone has a TED-worthy story inside them, and that sharing their stories is a force for good. The positive ripple that occurs when someone does this is huge. Giving business owners and entrepreneurs the platform to do this is part of my mission to get people sharing their stories all over the world.”

Helen, who grew up in a small village near East Grinstead, moved to Brighton in her early twenties, and worked at Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Working up the corporate career ladder doing leadership development and executive coaching for large corporates, after having her first child, Helen said she suffered a complete lack of identity, zero confidence, self-doubt and negative beliefs which resulted in her having to leave her job.

She retrained as a parent coach and launched her first online business in summer 2014. Helen said she was never short of clients but often felt burnt out, exhausted and chasing her tail doing things of no real value. She was stuck playing small, not charging her worth, and with no confidence to do anything about it. Then came baby number two and her marriage fell apart.

So she went on a journey of self-discovery. She found her purpose, values and mission. Her marriage got back on track. She hired a coach and started dreaming big. And she believed she could achieve, so she did. She became a business coach, event speaker and speaker coach, enabling entrepreneurs who are hidden stars to step out, tell their story and make their businesses shine.

Helen said she has since hit all her financial goals, is working with clients all over the world, has been featured in Huffington Post and Raspberry Magazine, on podcasts, and given a talk to 1,500 people as part of TEDx Brighton 2016.

“I meet so many small business owners and entrepreneurs struggling to differentiate themselves from competitors in their field,” Helen said. “They don’t know how to bring themselves to the forefront of their brand in an authentic way that doesn’t feel awkward or pushy. My experience in leadership and entrepreneurial development has taught me that storytelling is at the heart of this.

"And yet so many of us don’t know how to share our stories or aren’t sure if they’re relevant to our business or what people want to hear. I believe that sharing our stories is a foundational key to business success. It connects us with our audience, shows us in our true colours and helps us to stand front and centre of our brand.

"I’ve helped many corporate leaders and entrepreneurs make a big impact through storytelling and speaking. I wanted to make these skills accessible to others, so decided to create an event that focuses on helping business leaders use their stories to stand out, make an impact and win more business.”

The Leaders Live conference will be held on June 28 and 29 from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day.

To find out more, visit: helenpackham.com

Photo credit: Entirely Catherine Photography