Amanda Bate, Founder of Redwood Copy
Creating content for an enviable workplace culture
At one point, I was so poorly that doctors debated whether I was allergic to being pregnant. After my son Matthew was born six weeks early, he was taken to neonatal and I was admitted to the High Dependency Unit. All I wanted to do was look after him, but my body was too weak. When I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, it came completely out of left field. The life I’d expected to have as a mum wasn’t the life I got.
My vision of continuing to be a working parent in a leadership role within the financial services sector soon went out of the window. Successive hospital visits and surgery left me tired and overwhelmed. As Matthew’s second birthday approached, I started to evaluate what was truly important in my life.
I’d always loved writing, so I started to blog about being a young mum with Crohn’s and how I normalised that situation for my toddler. It was healing and cathartic but best of all, other young mums with ‘invisible’ illnesses started sending me messages of thanks. It was a massive revelation… Writing had the power to connect communities, engage and to help people. The skillset I’d nurtured in the highly regulated world of banking could be used in a different way.
My ‘why’ for leaping out of the corporate world was my health and my family; if I didn’t look after myself better, I wouldn’t be able to care for them. Now I had a clear purpose too: I would use my creative writing skills for a greater good. Leaving a secure job after 18 years felt brave, but I did it in November 2016. For an extra confidence boost, I refreshed my communications skills and earned a distinction for completing two diplomas.
Last year, I helped 27 start-up businesses – writing website content and press releases to shout about their products and services. I’m now focusing on writing about employee engagement for SMEs. Helping to build inclusive workplaces through the power of words is deeply satisfying. If someone has an invisible illness but not the skills to go it alone, I would want them to feel looked after by their employer.