Tell us a bit more about your career to date; What led you to develop The Thoughtful Leader?
In my time as an entrepreneur I have always worked with leaders to help them reach their desired goals and have an impact on their wider industry and society. It actually took me 10 years to write and publish my first book (although I’m now up to 11!), so I decided to set up my own book coaching company called The Book Midwife® and help other aspiring authors to write their books faster than I had. I was then invited by a colleague to join his growing publishing company, now known as Panoma Press. This helps me to take those wonderful books to market and give authors the chance to shine on a global stage.
I realised in 2008 that the term thought leadership was being used with little to no criteria. I also saw authors of excellent thought-leading books left off the thought leadership lists. So I created a methodology called REAL Thought Leaders, which I outlined in my book 24 Carat BOLD. I am now dedicated to supporting leaders to develop thought/ful leadership, a term I delve into further in my book The Thoughtful Leader. It is always about more than just writing a book; leaders are in a strong position to help people and society grow and evolve. Most recently, I have launched the Thoughtful Leader Podcast and I am a co-author of Called to Lead: Success Strategies for Women..
When did you realise your passion for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
I have always been passionate about supporting people from under-represented groups to be heard. In my personal life, and in my publishing and thought leadership businesses, I am committed to lifting others. At the start of 2019, Panoma Press committed to a target of having 80% of their books written by authors from minority groups. We have proudly achieved the 80% target for the second year in a row, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and in 2020, I committed to the same target for The Book Midwife®. We support people who feel that left to chance, they’re not being given a fair chance. The business bookshelves definitely need to be more diverse and I’m excited to be championing this. My TEDx talk “Sometimes You Need to Change Yourself to Be Yourself” covers the themes of thoughtful leadership and inclusion, and has reached nearly one million views.
What has been your proudest moment to date?
2020 presented many challenges and uncertainty, I am very proud that Panoma Press pushed forward to achieve our best year on record with highest gross and net profit and publishing 40% more books than forecast. I am even more proud that we did so by not compromising our ethos to provide traditionally under-represented groups a platform to share their experiences and insights. 2020 also saw Panoma Press celebrate 15 years in business, with 400 books published during that time. It is always a great success when I can support someone to fulfil a life-long ambition of writing and publishing a great book that helps them gain exposure and opportunities.
What has been your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?
I started all my businesses with no initial funding, but we have definitely had financial challenges, particularly through the recession. We were running at a loss for four years, until a friend introduced us to a contact who would become our minority shareholder. I learned a lot, and with honest conversations, a strong team and with the EIS Investment we managed to push forward and we have grown 300% since that point! Similarly when the pandemic hit, both companies faced pressure to pause the 80% initiative and simply take any clients and authors. However, we continued to remain true to the vision and values and we ended up achieving our financial as well as social goals.
What is your motto in business?
“Every voice deserves to be heard; every human deserves to be inspired!”
What are your top three pieces of advice for any business leaders right now?
1) Be Honest – In business it can be easy to exaggerate success and pursue it at all costs, but it is easier in the long run to remain true to yourself and your values.
2) Build strong relationships – Learn that to reach success you will need the support of a strong team. Learn to share the workload, the pressures and ultimately the successes. Celebrating with your team is a positive bonding experience providing great motivation. A strong team around you ensures you don’t carry all the burden which helps maintain your own wellbeing.
3) Healthy knowledge of your business – This is one area where you will need to remain alert. Know your position in terms of figures and how you are really doing in business. You will then always be prepared and confident when you are asked about your business or when an obstacle comes your way.
What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to raise the voices of under-represented groups through quality book publishing and promotion of thoughtful leadership. Both platforms enable me to support aspiring authors and leaders and advance Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.
About Mindy Gibbins-Klein
Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FRSA FPSA is Managing Director of independent publishing house Panoma Press and founder of The Book Midwife®, a successful global book coaching brand. A native New Yorker, Mindy currently resides in the UK where she operates her two businesses and is also an International Speaker with 25 years experience, specialising in turning experts into thought leaders and promoting thoughtful leadership.
Mindy’s TEDx talk “Sometimes You Need to Change Yourself to Be Yourself” has nearly one million views and she has authored and co-authored 11 books, including 24 Carat BOLD about which Seth Godin said, “This is the first thoughtful book I’ve seen on what it means to become a thought leader. Practical and inspiring at the same time.”, and The Thoughtful Leader which challenges leaders to be more thoughtful in all senses of the word. Mindy has been featured over 100 times in national and specialist press, radio and television over the past 10 years.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Mindy guided Panoma Press to celebrate its best year ever with its highest gross and net profit on record, 40% more books published than forecast, the launch of a new children’s imprint, while at the same time hitting its inclusivity targets (80% of books from underrepresented groups) and celebrating 15 years in business.