Interview: How 100% passion leads to great success (ENGLISH)

Marcie Incarico, Owner and Director of Mix Interiors in Manchester, I met last year during preparations for a business event. It felt like we had known each other for a longer time since the topics around passionate leaders on the one hand and loving moms on the other hand perfectly matched. Marcie is leading a famous interior design magazine, is married to an equally successful top manager and mum to two fabulous kids.

In our interview, Marcie gives exciting insights about her ambition to lead 100% with passion and joy alongside her energy in raising wonderful children as well as on the status quo in United Kingdom regarding compatibility of career and family.

1. Marcie, how and when did you start with your own business and what does it mean to you?

Thank you, Andrea, for inviting me. I started my own business 21 years ago – so before having children – having had a career in commercial radio, on the advertising, sponsorship, and event side. That led me to start my own business around the age of 30 to create my own agency in the B2B sector focusing on Corporate Events. I did that successfully and through my own agency I met the publisher of Mix Interiors, a commercial interior design magazine. I acquired the magazine after the owner and publisher passed away quite suddenly. The biggest part of that publishing business was events, and it is certainly the side of the business that I knew and I could grow. So, after many years working alongside this client as a supplier I then acquired the business and took it on. That was about 8-9 years ago. So, my job today is running Mix Interiors. We deliver events, print and digital media. This was first baby. And then I have two real babies – my son with 18 – starting university, and my daughter, 15, in school.

2. Your first baby is Mix Interiors? Do you mean it as you say it?

The first baby being the business kind of had an impact on the type of boss then mum I would be. Because the business came first – my children have always known me having the business. That has been probably my biggest challenge of constantly juggling whether I am spending too much time on that first baby over my other babies and indeed vice versa.  However, you cannot run a business and not take care about it fully and passionately, and it is not the same as a real baby, but it´s not far off. And particularly when you are responsible for employing people and their livelihoods all of a sudden, the extension of motherhood goes out towards your team who are then just additional extensions to your family unit. So, I wonder talking to you – if I was speaking to a man, would he have said any of that – and I just don´t know, but I doubt it.

“People who say life doesn´t change with having kids, is lying.”

3. Your husband is also in a top management position, so you are both very busy with your jobs. What would you say – especially when your kids where younger – how did you find a good balance between business and private life? Did you split up care time?

It is a fascinating one. My husband has always had a fabulous career and mostly his career has taken him away from home. So, most of his time has been London-based or far away from Manchester, our home base. He is a brilliant husband and a brilliant dad; however, I do not think he would be surprised or would disagree with the fact that when it came to and comes to our children, I have been the main carer and that is my job. Without doubt I can see how many relationships suffer and struggle, when you have two people who had careers before having kids. Our lives was so easy, because it was… where, where, where, money, money, money, spend it on ourselves…and then kids – the most important thing – my god does life change! And if anyone is telling it does not, they are probably lying! And so immediately as a couple, then you must make serious life discussions and decisions. I guess whilst I have the luxury of being my own boss, I also have probably crippled myself with the guilt of not being a good enough boss or putting my children first.

Equally, because my husband always had a big boss that did almost allow him to say: yes I have to do that because it is not my own company, and my boss expects me to do it.

However, I don´t even think it´s about therefore I was my own boss, so it was my role. I wanted to be in my role. Putting everything else aside, if I´m going to be a mum, I want to be present, I want to be the best I can for them and then there is the tussle, because you want to be superb! There was just a lot of planning – and you need a backup plan to the plan and a backup plan to that plan as well!

I have a personal view that women generally are much better at that anyway –  that it comes to us more naturally maybe? And between me and my husband – yes, I am the planner, I am the organizer, although there might be moments when I leave things to him and kids might go to school then without lunchbox etc – which is even more stressful, so I prefer doing it by myself!

I am delighted to say, we are still married, the kids seem to be functioning perfectly, the business hasn´t broken yet. There must have been more things which have gone right than wrong!

4. Absolutely! And this fits with one of my favorite sayings: everything is a question of organization and willingness. What would you recommend to female managers on their career path?

From my point of view, in recruitment it´s never about male or female, but who has the best aptitude and attitude for the job. However, I would always prefer to employ an amazing woman, who would maybe leave the business for six months for maternity leave as she will still be amazing after that time – instead of having a mediocre man in the business.


“New and agile ways of working in the post-pandemic world should help the course to increase career chances to working moms”


5. What is the difference between women in management positions, but also about female managers in part-time positions compared to men?

I think in the UK the ratio of women in senior positions is lower on average than in Europe (10-30 %). We still see a minority of women being in top managing positions – which has been historically the case.

At the point when women decide to have children, I think there is still a perception within some businesses that that person coming back full or part time may not be as committed as they were before.

And I generally wouldn´t begin to know how to flatten that curve and allow that to happen. However, what I would say is, the pandemic – if there is one thing that is good that came out of it – it is the realization that all of us in a workforce – not just man, women, higher, lower – we can have a more flexible, agile way of working that isn´t about visibility. That theoretically should allow now working mums to be able to progress in a way that maybe pre-pandemic you had to be in the office first thing, leave last to be taken seriously – and all that nonsense has gone in the post-pandemic world. Hopefully the new and agile ways of working should help that course not hinder it.

“Good leaders have the ability to be empathetic, listening, nurturing, caring etc.”

6. Which management competences for the future do we need and in which of these competencies do you think women are very strong?

Caring for our people has become No.1 agenda. The people agenda has never been more vital. Therefore, I believe that people who are leading businesses today and who are good leaders, are those with the ability to be empathetic, listening, nurturing, caring, trusting… these are all words which sound soft to many people and weak, but they are not. They are the killer tools I believe in running and managing businesses in future and any management team that does not have those voices around the table, that say – hang on a minute, she´s brilliant / he´s brilliant, but they are going through that at the moment or they are struggling with this or they maybe need some time on that – those voices need to be heard more than ever and indeed then the response to these issues. Back in the day it was too easy to say just get rid of them and get someone else.

7. When you think about your daughter, what would she say about her mother?

I actually asked her this morning (15 yrs. old) (and I was crossing my fingers that she would not say, mum you have never been around us… she didn´t) and she said: you have shown me that if I work hard I can be successful. Without doubt, both of my children have come into this world seeing and believing that what we / I do (as a woman) is normal.

Today there are so many more options than when we chose our careers. I would always recommend them to find something they are passionate about and the money, and the promotion and all of that will come. Don´t pretend to be something you are not. Young people today can carve careers doing 3 or 4 jobs and which can make it easier for women to flex their careers even more easily around children. Their options are vast today.

Very nice resume – it points out a direction, in which we all will have more equal and individual opportunities. Thank you very much for your time, Marcie, and your exciting personal insights.

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