Bianca Robinson

CEO of The CEO Sleepout Charity, Saltburn

Sector: Charity

Bianca Robinson has had a successful career in the creative sector, which has provided her with the skills to fight for social justice in her role today.

Where do you call home?

Saltburn, UK and Wellington, NZ.

Tell us about your role?

CEO of The CEO Sleepout Charity

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve rolled up my sleeves and got my hands dirty, working hard throughout my adult life to carve out a career that I can be proud of. I’ve overcome a number of obstacles, including taking a career break to have twins, and raising them as a single mother while furthering my career as a media-sales manager, then agency account manager, and managing director of a growing digital and creative agency.

Starting up and growing that business was a huge learning curve for me, and the importance of learning emotional intelligence is something something I learnt along the way. Finding ways to come to an understanding with people who may have different values and views is of huge importance and can help break down barriers. I now have access to an extensive network of business leaders across the country as a result of my work with CEO Sleepout. Through this work, I campaign for social justice, especially the role of business leaders in solving poverty and ending homelessness. I fight for equality on all fronts.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?

For a long time, I have felt compelled to live with purpose, through my values. As business owner and shareholder at Calm Digital, I felt the constraints of not being able to do this. I sold my share to the remaining shareholders, and entered a legal battle which took the best part of a year. Bouncing back from this was tough, but during that time I’d set up my freelance consultancy, The Digital Catalyst, and had gained enough loyal clients to get me through my first year. The anxiety and stress inflicted as a result of my exit from the business overwhelmed me. This is a time in my life where I was genuinely worried that I may lose my livelihood. But I had to survive. It was at that time I took a job as a lecturer at Newcastle College, which lead to another lecturing opportunity at York St John University, delivering both alongside my freelance consultancy work for Lexonik and other clients. These roles restored my confidence, my faith in my abilities, and allowed me to take stock of my own knowledge base and expertise in the areas of digital marketing and events. I then took on CEO Sleepout as a digital marketing client, and the rest is history.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?

The moment I stepped into the role as CEO of CEO Sleepout, I realised I was bringing my full set of skills to the table. The message I bring to business leaders – that they have a power and an enormous opportunity to change inequalities in our society through responsible business – has begun to resonate nationally.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?

The Tees Valley has great inequality, but great spirit, and is built on the values of the industrial revolution: hard work, grit, determination and a willingness to help. Young girls must understand that they bring enormous value and can contribute to Tees Valley’s future.

Tees Valley has inherited great inequality and poverty is what is holding people with potential back. A third of children in Middlesbrough live in poverty. The constraints that poverty places on young people severely limits their access opportunities.

I strongly advocate for building “elevators” so that people who are successful can directly connect with and influence young people, putting them on a new path to a life they may not have imagined or considered. This can influence their life path and improve life-chances.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Your road will be rocky, with the euphoria or reaching epic highs and the torture of enduring crippling lows and heart-breaking losses. Remember you are here for all of it. You are resilient, a survivor and you will learn how to step into the moments of wonder and squeeze every drop of joy out of them.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?


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