Anne-Marie Swift, Owner and Managing Director of Swift-Solve Consulting Ltd
Providing business-building knowhow and tools to support growth in leaders and entrepreneurs
St Helens – the area where I grew up – is a typically working-class town. Dad stills lives in the same house we were raised in and my sister and I were taught the importance of always maintaining strong family ties.
In our community it was normal to leave school at 16 and find full-time employment, but after attending an all girls’ school I went on to study A-Levels – a first in my family. I didn’t have any entrepreneurial role models initially, but my teachers made me believe that anything was possible.
I trained as a nurse at a local hospital, moved to Oxford and got a job on a kidney specialist unit. I gave it everything but over time I realised I wanted and needed more…
My subsequent career path has been paved with many highs – including training medical staff to use dialysis equipment; attending university aged 34 to complete a degree (another family first); and reaching dizzy heights within the pharmaceutical industry when I ran an ophthalmology business with a European-wide portfolio for the world’s biggest pharma company.
When mum passed away following a battle with lung cancer, my husband and I left the South and settled up north permanently. In 2015, Swift-Solve Consulting was founded and I’ve been training and mentoring businessowners to grow ever since.
I wear many hats these days – franchise owner of the local Women in Business Network, charity trustee, occasional university lecturer, industry awards judge – but there’s more I want to achieve.
The North West is a hotbed of entrepreneurialism and it’s amazing to see so many businesses thriving. Up here we have to work incredibly hard for our successes – and if you look at the regeneration of both Liverpool and Manchester, I firmly believe we are the powerhouse outside of London. As a proud northerner, that makes me immensely satisfied.
Self-employment has taught me many lessons, but I can’t stress enough that resilience is key. We all face many challenges within our respective sectors, but the trick is to keep on going. Without resilience we fold and are unable to carry on, so if this is an area you struggle with, build those muscles and keep making a difference!