From a career in HR to running her own business and helping others to manage their lives, Carolyn Hobdey is a go-to woman. Here she talks about her journey and why she has moved back to Yorkshire
How do you look back on your time working in HR?
It was the most amazing experience – both personally and professionally. I worked for some fascinating organisations and with a wonderful mix of people. It was hard, though. I dealt with situations that were complex and emotionally challenging. I had a front row seat at what it means to be a human trying to navigate life.
Was there a particular moment when you decided you wanted to run your own business?
From a position of my own brush with burn-out due to toxic environments, I experienced how we cannot show up to be successful in any area of our life if we don’t take care of ourselves. We’re not a home ‘self’ and a work ‘self’, we’re one ‘self’ and we need to develop leaders and teams from that perspective. It’s what sparked a passion to help organisations to create conducive working environments; I realised that I wanted to do that across multiple businesses rather than from within one business as their HR lead.
What does Being Human At Ltd do?
Being Human At takes a holistic approach to leader and team development. We create successful individuals and working environments by attending to their mental, emotional and physical health; we call this our Head, Heart & Health approach. Using a framework called SIMPLE, we create bespoke programmes for businesses that blend leader and team development with nature-based immersive experiences such as learning about team dynamics via sheep herding! It’s impactful and memorable for our clients.
When did you become known as The Midlife Mistress and do you like the moniker?
This was a label I applied to myself! It reflects the other half of the work I do known as ‘The Broad Room’, where I work with professional women to create an emotionally literate space for them to learn how to show up as unapologetically themselves. It’s the part of my business where my books and courses reside.
How would you sum up what we’d find in the books you have written?
Lots of use of the word ‘Twat’! Beyond that, they are about my own experiences of navigating life, and what I discovered as I pulled myself back out of a dark place. They are full of stories and tools to support others to do the same and get the life they want, not the one they think they ‘ought’ to have.
Why is the menopause a key topic for you?
My menopause began at 19. I had Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) that I believe was triggered by a trauma I experienced. I didn’t learn this until I was trying to have a baby and was told at 32 that my menopause was already over. It was a huge shock and life-changing news. I realised as my career continued that, despite being a woman open to conversations about menopause, it just wasn’t being spoken about, especially at work.
How does the business side fit in with your personal life in Harrogate?
The great thing about working with my business partner, Paul Porter, is that we both recognise the need for balance. We work hard, but we live what we do for work, so we flex our hours, our working days and our personal/professional lives. I’ll work from the hairdressers, for example, and Paul conducts calls whilst out in nature walking his dog, Peg.
How long have you lived there and what do you love best about it?
This is my second stint living in Yorkshire – I loved it so much I came back, so I’ve been here for 18 years in total. I’m hoping that I will achieve honorary Yorkshire Woman status at some point! I moved back to Harrogate in January 2015. I love the variety of the landscape and the people – they are by far the best bit.
It sounds like you have plenty of hobbies in your spare time…
Yes. I box and weight-lift, so I’m at the gym five days a week. I also dance Latin & Ballroom, sing in The Stray Notes choir and am a car enthusiast.
Can you pick out your favourite places in the area?
There are so many great places to choose from in Yorkshire. Some of the ones nearest where I live include Grantley Hall, without question. The setting is stunning and the refurbishment of the Hall is outstanding. From the staff to the spa to the gym and the restaurants – there’s nothing not to love about this place.
For a pub, it has to be Three’s A Crowd in Harrogate. Great venue, lively atmosphere and a fabulous Sunday roast.
For a local landmark, I have to choose the iconic Betty’s. I’m biased, but I think the Harrogate one of the best. Consistently good, and people far and wide across the UK have heard of it when I’m on my travels.
Fountains Abbey is one of my favourite places on the planet. The history and enormity of it remind you that our lives can be so much more vast than any one of us individually. Stunning grounds and a sense of tranquility. I also have a soft-spot for a walk along the River Wharfe.
Describe your perfect Yorkshire summer day?
It would have to start with a session in the gym – that sets me up for the day ahead. Then a well-deserved brunch before setting off into the beautiful countryside in the car for a drive followed by a walk/time in nature. I’d like to finish the day with a glass of bubbles and great food – ideally at Grantley Hall with a stay over! All done with friends and loved ones. They are what make it special.
What’s next for you?
So much! More Being Human At organisations across the UK and helping them to create communities, not just workplace cultures. Connecting with more ‘Broads’ in The Broad Room to help them live life unapologetically. And more twatting – the final book of my ‘Twats Trilogy’, Twats At Work, is a work in progress currently.