A Q&A with LinkedIn

Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 15 January 2020

It was such an honour to be picked as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in the UK for 2019.

Image from Jackie McQuillan
Image from Jackie McQuillan

The LinkedIn team asked me some really interesting questions about some of the most thought-provoking ideas, trends and news stories from 2019 and what I’m looking forward to in the year ahead. Here’s what I had to say…

What is the best conversation you’ve seen around your social media content in the past 12 months?

I wrote an article about Virgin StartUp’s commitment to fund an equal number of businesses founded by women as men by the end of 2020. It led to a great discussion about the challenges that women face when starting up a business and how they can be overcome.

How do you come up with ideas? Or where do you go to find inspiration?

I’m always inspired by stories of real people. Most of my ideas come from learning about the work that individuals across the Virgin Group are doing to make the brand (and the world) better. I’m also inspired by purpose-led thought leaders such as Simon Sinek, Sara Blakely, Adam Grant and Melinda Gates.

Image from Kami White
Image from Kami White

What's one thing we should know about you that's not on your social media accounts?

I was working as a doctor when I decided to take on a yearlong internship at Virgin but never ended up leaving. That was over 10 years ago now! I also have three wonderful kids under the age of five at home.

What news story did you find most interesting in 2019?

I read that ‘climate strike’ was named the 2019 word of the year by Collins Dictionary. The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time and while this is incredibly concerning, it’s been inspiring to see people taking action through global movements like #FridaysForFuture.

What story or trend will you be watching in 2020?

I’m looking forward to hearing more about the value that women entrepreneurs bring to economy. I’m excited to see the story develop and to close the gap in funding for female founders.

David Watts
David Watts

What book, podcast, series or movie inspired you in 2019?

I’ve been listening to Earth Unscrewed which Virgin created to discuss some of the incredible developments and innovations to protect the future of our planet.

I’ve loved Simon Sinek’s latest book, The Infinite Game, which provides a business strategy based on building long-term value and creating healthy and enduring growth. I’ll be interviewing Simon about the book this month and I’ll be sure to share it all on LinkedIn.

What's one professional or productivity life hack you'd want to share?

Now that I'm balancing work and being a mum to three kids under the age of five, I'm making a huge effort to be more organised and get better at planning. 

I set aside time every sunday to plan for the week ahead and schedule in everything from meetings, school sport, meal plans, social catch-ups, family time and a couple of gym classes a week. It really helps with work-life balance!

Image from Adam Slama
Image from Adam Slama

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

 I’ve narrowed it down to two…

My wonderful grandfather Ted was a great believer that we should never stop learning and stay curious about life. He found a sense of wonder in the ‘every day’ and inspired all of us to do the same. Learning doesn’t stop when you leave school – every encounter you have with a person can give you a different perspective and fresh insight. To remain open and receptive to new and interesting experiences simply makes life more interesting and fulfilling too!

Dad has always said that you should listen as much as you speak, or even more. It really is the best way to come up with new ideas and create a healthy and inclusive workplace.

Any advice for up-and-coming content sharers?

Engage with the top news stories of the day and remember to follow people and accounts who might not always share your views, but offer a different perspective. Otherwise it gets easy to get stuck in an echo chamber and lose sight of the big picture. I find it’s one of the best way to stay inspired, keep your finger on the pulse and open yourself up to new ideas.

I’d be interested to know the big ideas, trends and stories from 2019 that inspired you? What are you looking forward to unpacking more in 2020? I’d love to know!