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Celebrating Women in Business – Interview with Claire Daniels Trio Media

To celebrate International Women’s Day I have interviewed a handful of amazing, inspirational businesswomen to understand what motivates them and what challenges they have faced in business.

This has been an absolute pleasure and I’m so excited to share this interview with Claire Daniels from Trio Media and celebrate her as a successful business owner.


Who is Claire Daniels?

Claire Daniels is CEO of digital marketing agency, Trio Media, who are based in Leeds. The company was founded in 2017 but in 2020 Claire bought out the original founding directors to take the mantle of the agency. Shortly after the takeover, Claire was awarded as CEO of the Year by CEO Monthly; handpicked due to the success she achieved in driving the business forward during the pandemic.

Claire’s background is in strategic in-house marketing roles, so she understands the challenges faced by marketers when managing an agency and that’s how she implements a different approach at Trio.

Claire is also an avid supporter of the environment and is a Conservation Circle member of Rainforest Trust UK.

What led to you setting up your own business?

I’ve always had a very entrepreneurial spirit, although I can’t take the credit for setting up Trio Media. I’ve had several side hustles and business interests alongside previous roles I’ve worked in, but coming into Trio Media I knew I could lead the company forward; combining my enthusiasm for helping small businesses with my knowledge of the marketing industry to make a real impact.

What are your proudest business achievements to date?

Successfully growing a business during a pandemic and taking the role of CEO

Awarded CEO of the Year

Appearing on Sky News, ITV and BBC News in a previous role

What has been your toughest business challenge and how did you overcome it?

My toughest business challenge was a personal one; a couple of years ago my brother passed away and I lost all enthusiasm and motivation for work. I’ve always been really ambitious, and it was very hard to get my mojo back. I quit my job, tried starting a business on my own, learned a lot of lessons and ended up consulting at Trio Media. It led me to where I am today though so I’m very grateful.

How do you motivate yourself?

I’m naturally motivated because I enjoy what I do. There are a lot of quotes and cliches about loving what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life… I’m not quite sure I believe in that as it is very hard work, but it’s rewarding and I love it. Working with great people that inspire me also helps and I like to listen to podcasts and also loud music to get really pumped.

What are some of the biggest advancements or changes that you have seen in your industry?

Working in the digital marketing sector we always have to be one step ahead of the game. Despite COVID, we’ve seen a huge surge in new business as more organisations are realising the power of having a presence for their business online. We’ve been playing around with virtual reality, allowing people to try on clothing or accessories whilst they haven’t been able to visit retail stores, along with helping more businesses deliver training programmes online.

Do you think it makes any difference being a female business leader – either positive or negative?

I think it’s only positive. Being a female leader means you have the ability to inspire others.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Personally, I have had a very successful career and don’t feel that gender has been a barrier to that at all.

That being said, I have witnessed underlying discrimination in almost every business I’ve worked in and I think there is a lot we need to do to achieve equality and shake off unconscious bias.

For me, I’ve probably felt more discriminated by age at times, especially when I was younger, as I was hungry and knowledgeable but being young people naturally think you’re not capable.

What qualities do you think make for a successful business owner?

I think you have to be really open and honest, to build trust with your teams and with clients and suppliers too.

Being confident, and calm under pressure, also helps.

Finally, it helps to be organised as running a business is mainly about spinning a lot of plates!

What are your personal values do they differ from your business values?

I have very much reflected my personal values into my business.

My personal values are honesty, trust and loyalty.

I’ve just onboarded some new starters and it takes a lot for me to hire people that I think will be a good fit and will stay in the business, as I want people who will be loyal to the business and in return they will get my absolute trust and loyalty.

I also think honesty is really important and so I stress the importance of this to my team.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m normally woken up by one of my fur babies (I have a cat called Harry and a dog called Willow) and I get up to sort them out first. I’m then in my office and spend the day working until the evening. No two days are the same, typically it’s a mix of phone calls, meetings with my team, writing proposals for new clients, reviewing work and doing some boring business admin too. On an evening I like to go for a walk if I can and then just chill with my husband (and the fur babies of course).

How have you adapted your business as a result of the pandemic?

Currently, we have a hybrid model of people working from home and in the office, and I’m definitely more flexible to remote working in the future. In fact, I’ve just hired someone that lives in Manchester so they would never be in the office every day; I probably wouldn’t have done this pre-COVID. The other changes we’ve made are just scaling up due to growth; we’ve recruited more people and moved into a bigger office.

What benefits have you experienced, personal or business, as a result of the pandemic?

As a business, we’ve definitely benefitted from organisations needing to adapt their marketing strategy and prioritising digital marketing. We’ve doubled our revenue in the past year despite the pandemic but don’t get me wrong, we’ve also lost business because of it too.

What would you like to hear people say about Trio Media?

I would like people to say that we were a pleasure to work with and delivered real results. We’re quite lucky that this is already what people are saying, and we take great pride in our positive reviews. We aim to be very transparent, honest and personable; putting customer delight at the heart of everything we do.

Who inspires you and why?

I really struggle with this question, as I know it would be nice to recognise role models but I draw inspiration from different people and things all the time. My team inspire me to be the best leader I can be, my family inspire me to build a good life and my friends inspire me to be a good person.

What advice would you give to other female’s setting up their own businesses?

Go for it! We all suffer from imposter syndrome, but trust me it starts with believing in yourself. Once you can believe in yourself, people will believe in you too.