Tammy Binedell-Barber

tammy binedell barber

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I’m a bit of a bookworm so it’s difficult to narrow down to three books but here we go.

what’s your moonshot? by John Sanei. In the age of exponential disruption you need to future-proof yourself and your business.

Moonshot helped me to better gain an understanding of why we are unable to achieve our greatest personal and professional goals. 

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. The inspirational masterpiece from the Lebanese born poet, philosopher and artist.

This book talks about having faith in all kinds of relationships and love and really changed my perspective on my relationship with work. As Kahlil Gibran says, “Work is love, made visible”.

Marketing Through Mud and Dust by Muzi Kuzwayo. An insightful commentary on the black market in South Africa.

This book changed my perspective of marketing completely, and really shifted my perception of audiences and breaking through the clutter effectively. 


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?) 

I’m a huge tic tac fan! I have them with my family in the car, they’re a topic of conversation in the meeting room and I give them out at work. Everyone loves a tic tac. It’s the little things!


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

In high school I was a music nerd and played the flute and used any time I had to rehearse. I bunked PE with the excuse that I was rehearsing and even forged my Mother’s handwriting to get me out of so many other school lessons. I got detention for it, repeatedly. Hours of what seemed like deviant behaviour later, resulted in coming second in the country for music in our final high school exams.


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

“Check in.”

Check in with yourself, your family and your staff.

The whole world needs to focus on the person first.


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.) 

Moving to the UK from South Africa. At the start of the journey, it didn’t seem like the best choice and we spent everything we had to move over, with nothing but a few bags of clothing, our dog and some personal items. We had to start from scratch, and in that I learned so much about myself, other people and the idea of opportunity. Life in the tip of Africa can be so isolating from the perspective of having to work to afford so little, whereas in the UK, the world is my oyster and I feel very lucky to be able to live here,


What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

This is a bit weird but since lockdown and the culture of Zoom I enjoy catching other women looking at themselves in their own camera to see if they look OK. It’s an unmissable “look” and it’s often only a quick glimpse, but it adds such a great human aspect back into our new digital way of working. 


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

A friend gifted me sessions with a postpartum doula and she inspired me to find meaning in different situations by looking at mundane and anxiety-filled tasks as rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. I think I used to create these subconsciously to cope, but now I do them every day consciously to practise gratitude. For example, after putting my little girl to bed at night, my sigh of relief is of course for the fact that she is down. But it is also an exhalation of gratitude that she has this incredibly safe and warm space to sleep at night. Putting her to sleep is a ritual of gratification every night, 


What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?”

South Africans are very direct. I’d say put your ego to one side, be hungry, show up and there’s no need to make a big impact or prove yourself right now. Just chill – the time will come to make waves. 


What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

In general, I hate the idea of first in, last out. It creates a culture of burnout and sets everyone an unrealistic expectation.

Balance is an important place to start.


What frustrates you the most about your industry and the way companies are run in it? 

I work in marketing and it can seem like you have to sell your soul to succeed when you first start out. Luckily, not a lot of the companies I have worked at and definitely not the one I am at now are in the habit of hiring graduates, paying them peanuts and then at the end of the term they let them go with little guidance on how to further succeed. It frustrates me when leaders have conversations about replacing people without trying to help them first. You can’t just show people the ropes. You have to help people climb them.


What does a balanced life look like to you? Has a work or a project you have been focused on caused you to neglect other areas of your life?

This must be controversial, but I believe there shouldn’t be a crossover between life at home and life at work. It’s just life. 


When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?) 

Whatever is overwhelming me I ask myself these questions.. Do I have to do it now? How will this affect me in a year’s time?


What does leadership mean to you?

Until recently, I hadn’t really been surrounded by good leaders besides very early on in my career. This gap in leadership during the middle part of my career, showed me that there is a difference between a good manager and a good leader. They are often not the same and a good manager doesn’t maketh a good leader. 

Nelson Mandela was a good leader. His legacy  taught me to lead from the back and let people find their own resources. 

You should never be the smartest person in the room. 


Which people have most inspired you in your life and why?

My threshold for being inspired is very low. I’m other people’s biggest cheerleader – everyone inspires me and I love handing out high fives. Kahlil Gibran says that it’s not about what happens to you in life, but your attitude towards the things that happen to you. I’m inspired by people who live by this statement. 


What do the words principles and values mean to you?

You need strong values to live a principled life. 

Respect is my number one value, followed by justice.

I believe we have no right to judge another person. 


If you had a forum to speak to 50 leaders, what question would you pose to them, to get them thinking about and being better leaders?

Are your staff happy?


What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?

If I dedicated time to harnessing all my entrepreneurial spirit and ideas I’d set up an App that focuses on childcare and helps to eradicate so much of the child neglect that happens in the UK. One day I have to do this. I need to be a UK citizen first and that will happen next year so watch this space.


Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

I haven’t yet but I have been on a “happiness course” which focussed on how to apply a different perspective and  incorporate simple Buddhist practices into your life using the teachings of a well known Guru. After a few months of doing that course I learnt to communicate with and listen to my colleagues in a different way, to practise warm irreverence and apply it every day, both in and outside of work.

Topic: 50 in 50