Check out Emma’s Instagram page for incredible family travel photos
Can you tell us a bit of background about yourself?
I’m a teacher and Yorkshire girl, born and bred. Moved to the Cayman Islands in 2013 with my husband, and soon after moving, started up Footsteps, which started life as a tutoring and home school support service and is now a fully-fledged (and rapidly growing) school. I also fell pregnant with my first daughter very soon after moving to Cayman and went on to have 2 more in rapid succession!
What are you most proud of?
I’m just so proud of my school! It’s simply lovely and I’m proud of every single one of my students. They bring me such joy!
What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?
Honestly, I absolutely love working with a business partner. It feels like every new challenge and hurdle we’re faced with is more manageable together. I think I would feel very alone and much less confident if I was doing this by myself. My partner and I have really different skill sets and I think we complement each other brilliantly. So, my recommendation is, don’t do it alone!
Who is one of your biggest inspirations – either professionally or personally?
I follow lots of amazing accounts on Instagram of families who homeschool (worldschool!) and travel the world full time. I am always completely in awe of these families. Honestly, if the situation allowed it (and I was brave enough to take the leap), I would really love to pack up my kids and my house (and my husband!) and hit the road.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Opening and running a school is no easy feat. Every day I’m faced with something new; there’s literally always a challenge to deal with. From the macro – government red-tape and building issues, to inspection, to the up-close and personal with children, parents and colleagues to support daily.
Commitment, energy and resilience are needed in abundance and I’m always 100% in the zone during term time. I’m oh-so tired. I do often feel like my own kids don’t get the best of me as I’m spread pretty thinly. I am working really hard to redress the balance and I’ve recently started taking a day a week off school which is definitely making a difference.
Which part of your job do you most enjoy?
I love making learning accessible and fun for the children, and empowering the teachers in my school to do the same. Seeing the vision come to life is so satisfying!
Do you find it easy to balance work and play?
In all honesty, I really don’t find it an easy balance and I definitely haven’t nailed it just yet. Luckily, the school year is structured in such a way that we have a few weeks of high-intensity work, followed by a (mandatory) break!
I try to make sure we have lots of amazing trips and treats booked during the school holidays so I can fill my cup and make sure my girls get some quality family time too. I absolutely love adventuring with the children – it’s what I live for – and I always feel so fulfilled when we’re away together as a family.
Exercise is always the first thing to go out the window for me when I’m busy or stressed and I’m trying really hard to make sure I have some non-negotiable exercise time built into my week. Yoga is my movement of choice and I feel very virtuous when I’ve managed to go to a couple of classes in a week.
The work-life balance is the ultimate conundrum. I’m inching closer but definitely haven’t cracked it just yet!