Hello! I’m Emma Walker, A Stay At Home CEO.

Emma Walker
Emma Walker

I’m a marketer, project manager, writer, and feminist, with an international reputation for my creativity, risk-taking and down-to-earth approach to both business and life. After a 16-year career in the arts, culture and heritage sector, I set up my own business in 2014.

I left university with two year’s experience as a Box Office Manager for West Yorkshire Playhouse, then the largest box office in the UK outside of London. At Leeds City Council I was promoted three times in a year and won Employee of the Year after being nominated by my colleagues across the local authority. I led the Audience Development team at Arts About Manchester, and then aged 27 I became the youngest CEO in the UK. Yet it wasn’t until I had my son that I realised that life shouldn’t be ladder shaped, and that careers can be so much more interesting and enriching than simply climbing to the next rung.

I’m as ambitious as ever, but life is fulfilling now that I am using every string on my bow.

More about Emma Walker

I work with clients to ensure the delivery of one-off projects and integrated campaigns, plus I support many businesses on a retainer basis.

My services include research and development, planning, social media strategy, leadership mentoring, data analysis, marketing and communications, copy writing and advertising.

I’m regularly invited to lecture and speak at events internationally on audience development, digital marketing and leadership, and I’ve written for the Guardian on the subject of women in the workplace.

My writing involves the themes of feminism, motherhood and the workplace, and this includes a large scale international project. This will be announced later in the year. I am involved in projects supporting women who have faced workplace discrimination simply for having a child.

The sectors I am currently working in include tourism, retail, craft and design, political campaign work, and the music industry.

I also work with parents who have left their previous careers upon having children to set up their own business. This work can involve mentoring at the beginning of a new project, or leading the growth of an already established business (and everything in between!)

With eighteen years working in marketing and communications, audience development and creative project management, along with a decade of leadership experience, I am the ideal person to work with you to help you to grow – or improve – your business.

I am also able to recommend relevant people, networks and development opportunities to ensure the best possible outcome for your project. Until May 2014, I was Chief Executive of a national arts organisation which developed audiences for Scottish craft and design around the world.

I have led creative and groundbreaking campaigns for sports stadia, national arts companies, theatres, museums, galleries, audience development agencies and music venues in England and Scotland. I am known internationally for my open and honest approach, specialising in projects dealing with emotive subjects and working with audiences who need extra support to get involved.

More about A Stay At Home CEO

Having a child changes your life in ways that I didn’t imagine when I was pregnant. I knew there would be sleepless nights, fewer pints and more evenings in front of the tv. What I didn’t realise was how my sense of self would be altered, how my professional life would change beyond recognition or how I would suddenly feel limitless possibilities opening up to me.

While I was on maternity leave, a BBC Breakfast feature on maternity discrimination shocked me. The reports of 50,000 women per year losing their job for becoming pregnant appalled me (this figure has now reached 60,000) and shook me to the core. I mentioned it to mother’s I’d meet in play cafes, library singing sessions, toddler groups…eyes would fill with tears before looking to the ground, and then sometimes, stories would be told to me in quiet voices, of how they had been punished for starting a family.

Almost two years on, I am meeting more women than I dare to count who have suffered at the hands of their employer simply for becoming pregnant. Edinburgh is filled with women from all walks of life who are struggling with the impact of losing a promotion or perhaps their job entirely, whilst balancing the job of becoming a mother. I know every other city and town and village in the UK face this too.

Throughout my career, I have nurtured up-and-coming talent. Work experience staff, trainees, student artists…I learnt from a wonderful man in the early stages of my career that to be fulfilled professionally you have to encourage others to be fulfilled too.

I believe that we all should take some time for a little #SheforShe and this is mine. As well as writing (under the name A Stay At Home CEO) about maternity discrimination in publications and for my blog, I am also working on a project which will create a platform for women and their families (and their employers, if they are brave enough) to share their voice. The goal for A Stay At Home CEO is to create a world where women and men can parent their children and embark upon paid work in equal measure. It is 2016, after all.

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