Meet Lauren (Stewart) Tack, Founder & CEO of Invigorate Platform, she was were named one of Management Today's 35 Women Under 35, the UK's longest running, the most prestigious list of young, female business talent. a Young Digital Leader of the Year finalist by DigiLeaders100 and one of the Top 100 Women in Tech by WeareTechWomen, London's most talented women in tech.
Who is Lauren (Stewart) Tack? Define yourself.
I am tech founder whose sole mission is to help exciting, game changing businesses succeed. I am curious, passionate, focused, and analytical – I blame my engineering degree and corporate consulting background for that mix! Outside of work, I am a newlywed, friend, daughter, and sister who likes to keep active through cycling, yoga and tennis. Cliché but I love travelling with locals and exploring new places.
How were you as a kid?
Like every strong female leader, I know, my report card said ‘bossy’ and I’ve always found comfort in finding clarity in a situation and plotting the course of action to navigate through.
I grew up the youngest of 4 daughters, all of whom are much older than me, so I learnt many life lessons through them at a young age.
I also played competitive tennis all the way through my school career, so I have been trying to balance work and play since the age of 5!
“Hard work and sacrifices put you in right place to seize opportunities and be lucky”
You hold a bachelor’s in industrial engineering at Stellenbosch University and a master’s in business & Management Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Why did you choose those courses of study?
I was good at math’s and science and interested in business, but I did not want to study a general business degree. Industrial engineering was the perfect combination of all three.
You worked as a Digital Strategy Consultant at Gartner, the world’s largest technology research firm. Strategy Consultant at Oliver Wyman, Angel Investor at Startup Investor, how did you jump from that point to found your company Invigorate Platform?
I was working on a policy project and spotted a big problem I wanted to solve. I always wanted to start and grow a business and here was this great opportunity. It was the nudge I needed to go for it.
Tell us more about Invigorate Platform, what is about and what does it make unique?
Invigorate accelerates the success of ambitious businesses by providing them with impactful connections and quality expertise. We’ve an advisory marketplace that effortlessly matches fast, growing businesses with experienced advisors to take them to the next level, fast.
You were named one of Management Today's 35 Women Under 35, the UK's longest running, the most prestigious list of young, female business talent. a Young Digital Leader of the Year finalist by DigiLeaders100 and one of the Top 100 Women in Tech by WeareTechWomen, London's most talented women in tech. What´s the recipe for your success?
I’m not sure it’s a guaranteed recipe, but hard work and sacrifices put you in right place to seize opportunities and ‘be lucky’.
“Wake up every morning with a clean slate and a fresh perspective. It’s hard to do but it is a combination of many ‘grind’ days that make the journey sweet”
You are a very busy woman and I see you have participated in different organizations: TERN (The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network) and The Passage, a homeless service, what does it drive you?
The principles of life and business are quite simple. To be of service to others.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
A bit of exercise, a smoothie, and a coffee. Meetings, work, meeting with clients (all remote at the time of response due to the pandemic!). I like to spend the evenings cooking with my husband and going for a nice walk after which I’ll tinker and close out a few emails.
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
I love engaging with customers and helping them solve their problems. I’m a people’s person and so much of my job is about bringing together people, it’s just awesome that tech enables us to do it even better and more quickly. Hardest part are the sacrifices.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
Listen to your customers, they will guide your business
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
Wake up every morning with a clean slate and a fresh perspective. It’s hard to do but it is a combination of many ‘grinds’ days that make the journey sweet.
“Being completely true to what you want is the hardest part – we beat ourselves up for working too hard, or taking time off to spend with kids and family if you ‘feel’ like you should be doing something else”
In your opinion, what are the reasons girls don’t want to study careers in STEM? And what we should do as a society to change that fact?
It’s a combination of role models, information, and encouragement. Not that many women took on STEM careers in my mother’s generation (a handful), many more in mine and I hope that the next will see it as normal to be a woman in STEM. I also think there isn’t enough information out there on the various opportunities and doors STEM can open. You don’t have to be an engineer, mathematician or scientist after studying it but it gives you a very strong basis for your career.
Everybody has had dark moments in their lives, what have you done to get out of that phase?
Absolutely, life is about the highs and lows. I think it’s important to acknowledge everyone has these moments and just by normalizing it you realize it too shall pass.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to play tennis, attend gym classes (spin and Zumba are my favorites) and ride my bike on the weekends.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, I don´t know if you are married and have kids, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
The reality is you must craft a life that works for you and what sits right with your values. There will always be sacrifices but I think you accept and thrive in your situation more if you feel you have some level of control or choice. So, by actively choosing a path or making decision it makes it easier to deal with the consequences of that. Being completely true to what you want is the hardest part – we beat ourselves up for working too hard, or taking time off to spend with kids and family if you ‘feel’ like you should be doing something else.
What are your plans for the future?
Continue to empower more businesses to thrive and become the next generation of business leaders.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I’ve been so lucky with the mentors I’ve had throughout my career that have pointed out when they think I’ve put my own glass ceiling over my head and have given me the nudge to say ‘you can do it.’ Being an engineer, working with senior exec’s and now working in tech, I’ve often been one of the only women in the room. I actually don’t notice it and that is an incredibly freeing feeling!
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
Do it, start small, keep learning – there isn’t a right way.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Lauren and what´s not?
Lauren is a tenacious and driven whilst being empathetic and compassionate.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
Michelle Obama. Her book Becoming resonated with me on so many levels. She overcame so many stereotypes and ‘glass ceilings’ but nothing held her back. Her ambition, her pride, her perservance are so inspiring.
Name: Lauren (Stewart) Tack
Company: Invigorate Platform
Designation: Founder & CEO
- Twitter: @invigorateplat
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurencstewart/