4 continents, countless countries, 1 failed start up and an incredibly large black book. What hasn’t Michelle van Vuuren done?
Founder of MVV Global an incredibly successful property consulting and sales company. This global citizen is a strong supporter of female empowerment.
“We have a lot more in common than we do in difference and more importantly if countries were clever they would realise in community there is employment and wealth and productivity and growth. You can argue there is money in war but there is also a lot of money in peace.
“I think the great thing about more women in the world is that feminine energy. We have got great women now, look at Angela Merkel or Michelle Obama and then people like Christine Lagarde she’s the head of the Monetary Fund. When we see women in these incredibly powerful positions I think we’re definitely on a track for change and I’m very pro-that.”
When it comes to female bosses, Michelle comes up top. After her first business failed due to a lack of knowledge, she refused to let it get her down and learnt from her mistake. Now MVV Global is a huge property company which never sells a house for less than £2m; “we buy and sell anything that’s got gravel and ground”, but at the moment she is turning her attention to Battersea Power Station.
“It will be the biggest and sexiest penthouse in Battersea Power Station. Apple is going to have a five-storey headquarters in the building and then right at the top, the cherry on the apple is going to be this amazing penthouse.
“London is such an iconic city and having worked on buildings as iconic as the Walkie-Talkie [20 Fenchurch] and The Shard, I think one of the sexiest buildings right now being developed in London is the Battersea Power Station. It’s up there, it’s a historic building, it was on the cover of a Pink Floyd album, what’s cooler than that? It’s a super cool building it’s crazy.”
As well as being a powerful boss, Michelle helps support other women through mentoring. Women are constantly under the impression they have to do everything, be a perfect mum, best friend, wife and boss. Of course this isn’t the case.
“I was flying all over the world, I went from a blue card to a gold card member of BA within four months, it was insane I literally went around the world a few times. The challenge with that was I had got married very young and you know when you commit to something you commit.”
“I started to think, I’m very busy but the one thing I was not looking after was my marriage. Because you can’t travel all over the place, be very busy building the world, I think what people must always remember as women is that we think we can do it all, and I sometimes think we don’t give ourselves enough of a break really we all have limitations to our bandwidth.
“As women we always take on a lot and we forget that something will give and you know whatever goes up must come down. We have limited bandwidth, you cannot be the best mum, athlete, friend and wife. We can be the best that we can be, but we have to manage our bandwidth.
“I think as women we’ve got to be more conscious I think if I can teach women anything it’s to be more conscious of our bandwidth, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to say to someone, I’m sorry I just can’t right now. I’m not saying no I won’t, just not right now.”
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Words: Amy Jo Taylor