Gwen Baird, Founder of RAG Social
Offering social media expertise to help SMEs grow and thrive with measurable results
Lifting my suitcases out of the car, I paused to catch my breath. I felt tired and weak, but mostly scared… It was 2005 and I’d just been diagnosed with a hereditary heart muscle condition: Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Dad had died from it aged only 48 and my second child, Fiona, had passed away at the age of two. They’d both had heart transplants but, tragically, it hadn’t been enough to save them. When I thought of my own future – living with chronic heart failure – my mind took me down a road I didn’t want to travel…
Medication would prevent any further deterioration of the heart, but I had to learn to take better care of myself if I wanted to live well with the condition. Running a busy sales agency business with my partner Rob didn’t seem compatible with that.
We travelled across the country – representing different papercraft businesses. Our sample suitcases were heavy and the days were long. I plodded on, but my symptoms were getting worse… It was time to rethink my options.
Some days, I could hardly get out of bed, so holding down a 9 to 5 job would be virtually impossible. I didn’t want to give in though; I wanted to work.
I had a Twitter account for personal use and I realised that businesses were using social media to get sales. I did lots of courses and research to learn the ropes before setting up RAG Social in 2014. Initially, my clients were from the papercraft industry, but I soon expanded into other sectors. I loved seeing their reputation grow, as well as their followings and sales!
I’ve now started designing in-house training; it gives me an amazing sense of purpose to help people stay up to date with the fast-paced world of social media.
Health-wise, I’m on the maximum dose of medication but I never think ‘woe is me’; yesterday, I went gliding, which was amazing!
My eldest daughter hasn’t inherited the gene, but my youngest was recently diagnosed. It’s a scary time for all of us, but we’re strong and resilient. Pushing awareness of organ donation and connecting with amazing people keeps me focused and enjoying life.