Barbara Stopher: Innovation and Entrepreneurship guest speaker on 9 February 2011

Barbara Stopher worked in the corporate world for 18 years before starting her own business. Having been brought up by successful parents, Barbara had a vision of her own. From the age of sixteen she wanted to be a successful marketer in the branded goods area. She structured her career to meet her aims and objectives: Going to the right university, joining a brand name corporate in the marketing department, taking an international role in corporate headquarters and then, when the time was almost right, leaving and taking a job she didn’t relish, in order to complete the gaps on her CV – working as a sales and marketing director for a leading footwear manufacturer (the missing link) from 1995 – 1996.

By working for corporates, Barbara had the chance to work for companies that gave her opportunities not just to continuously improve her CV, but to also give her the aspiration to go further, learning about business structures and also appreciating the need for policies and procedures and how to handle employees.

In 1996 Barbara left corporate life for good and started her own strategic marketing consultancy business. From having a department of 35 to manage on a Friday, Monday saw her in rented offices, scanning her contacts for people to call. Barbara knew that other people had the ability to make or break the change in her career.

Over the years, the consultancy’s business grew and services expanded, particularly into Public Relations (PR). Following a strategic project with an existing client, they influenced Barbara to think about going into PR, as they felt that she could add value to their business. Having had no experience in the PR industry created opportunities, as well as difficulties, for her. Barbara used her previous business experience to create a unique and an innovative company called “The Bottom Line Consultancy”. At its height the business reached a turnover of almost £1m and had 6 employees.

Due to a serious illness, Barbara looked to sell the company earlier than she originally intended and it was sold in 2009 to the UK’s longest established PR agency, Richmond Towers Communications.

Barbara is someone who has had success throughout her life and she has since become a marketing mentor, advising other businesses on the best way to stand out against their competitors in the world of business. She is also well known in the “Twittosphere” and other social networks.

Following her talk, Barbara answered a wide range of questions from BBE and other students, academics and local business people, making it a great start to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship set of talks during the Winter Term.

Report by Alexander Lehmann and Oliver Rowlinson (BSc Business Enterprise students)