Raise your glasses to Wolverhampton’s Helen Lees on International Women’s Day

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In the spirit of International Women’s Day, it seems fitting to raise a glass to those women who are smashing all their goals - both at home and in the work place.

Helen Lees is one of those women who, faced with a redundancy and a small toddler at home, decided that the only way to achieve success was to follow her passion. Local to the area (Helen went to school at Smestow), she was determined to make her business a success locally, while also appealing to a nationwide audience.

With a career within the pub and bar trade, from waitress to head office, Helen knew she should invest the rest of her career in something she knew well and cared about.

She says, “My biggest driver was the fact that people – many people, expected me to fail, that still drives me daily and always will. I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to succeed but equally remind myself that if I don’t enjoy it then it’s time to re think.”

Despite the odd peak and trough, 8-years later and her business – MyPubGroup.ltd in Claverley has expanded from a garage in Wolverhampton to a team of 28 staff 18 of whom are also female.

Rachael Nixon, Head of Operations at MyPubGroup, comments: “I started at FindMyPub.com in a part time role. This quickly grew, and I have been given many opportunities to develop professionally. Helen is so supportive of all her staff in both their professional and home lives that it makes being a working parent at FindMyPub.com a truly viable and fulfilling career, in a company where I am surrounded by like-minded people.”

Not forgetting a whole host of dedicated pub companies who use Helen’s website to use one of the growing services by the Group.

  • FindMyPub.com matches empty pubs with willing landlord’s. It helps everyone who is interested in a career in the pub industry, from new starters all the way through to clients wanting to purchase multiple sites.
  • FindMyPubJobs.com enables all would-be candidates to search and find the right hospitality job for them via this easy-to-use online platform.
  • RecruitForMyPub.com is fully branded end-to-end outsourced recruitment division that allows pub companies to off-set the challenge of recruitment and put it in the hands of specialists.

Helen comments: “I never set out to create a pub-based recruitment business with a majority female team, but I’m happy that it has turned out that way. I’m a problem solver with a brewery background, so when a friend asked me to help search for an empty pub and I saw the lack of information out there, I set about to change it.”

Recruitment and retention is an area of the industry that has always been contentious, and MyPubGroup.ltd not only gives information to pub companies, landlords and tenants, but is also a helping hand to curate long-lasting relationships and ultimately, a problem solver.

Helen says, “I know what it feels like to be made redundant, with a one-year old and wondering how to find the next job. I wanted to put right something that I believed as an industry we didn’t do well. Placing the right person into the right pub is in my opinion, one of the most important elements of recruitment. A large part of the issues we face post recruitment could be eradicated if we got this first crucial decision right.”

Indeed, the level of service that Helen and her majority female colleagues offer has been inspirational, coupled with a tour de force of better working conditions and transparency that the recent legislation has introduced.

Of course, Helen has come a long way since she first invested her savings in MyPubGroup.ltd, she is now a Mum-of-2 boys and finds comfort in her time with the family, even if she is a fishing widow on a weekend. “I really love my time at home but I am a fan of a bit of sunshine, my office nickname is Vera from Madeira!” she says.

“The one thing I’ve found it hard to balance as a working woman is time. When I started the business, I didn’t realise how time hungry it was going to be, and I find myself constantly balancing my time at home with kid’s phone and laptop free vs time at work. This predicament has been a huge challenge but it is one that I hope I got right.”

And of course, with a history as an area manager and field-based recruiter, Helen sticks with her one rule from the early days ‘Beer Friday’s’ – “It’s my key to success!” she agrees.

On this International Day of Women, we can all say “Cheers!” to that.