I’m the person behind Yano and I feel that everything I have learnt, through life experience and over the course of my career, has led me to this place. I’m first-generation British and proud of it. My parents came to the UK in the 1960s from Jamaica to make a new life here. I remember two major things from my childhood. First, it was the protective arms of family, including grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins, and second, my search and desire for acceptance. I wasn’t a grade A student, but I was never afraid of hard work and would let very little defeat me. This stood me in good stead for a 15-year career in the headhunting and recruitment industry. Through sheer determination and an innate want (or need) to help people, I succeeded in an extremely tough, sometimes ruthless industry. I started my own headhunting company, Certus, at the age of 29 and I was the first person in may family to have their own business. I have worked with some of the largest companies in the world, including eBay, Hermès, H&M Hennes and Tesco.
I had my first child at the age of 34, closely followed by my second at 35. They have changed everything in my life in such a positive way, including my need to help other families. My vast experience of interviewing sat comfortably when it came to talking to experts from the childcare arena as well as those specialising in environmental issues. Yano, to me, is the voice of the modern family, embracing diversity, culture and creativity while empowering families through enlightened discussion. www.twitter.com/ammeditation
Catherine Small is a self-confessed word nerd and grammar pedant. For the past 25 years she has worked as a sub-editor on various magazines, including Time Out, Marketing Week, You & Your Wedding, Cosmopolitan Hair & Beauty, Psychologies and Elle. She can spot a typo at a hundred yards and likes nothing better than to take a piece of unintelligible waffle and turn it into sparkling prose. When she’s not on her one-woman mission to save the apostrophe, she can be found with her nose in a book or fighting a losing battle with the clay soil on her allotment. She is a godmother and aunt to five nieces and nephews, ranging in age from seven to 24. Follow Catherine on Twitter @cath_small
I grew up in a female-dominated household, so I guess it’s no surprise I ended up working on women’s-interest magazines. I dreamt of a creative career but was told ‘everyone wants to work in the media, it’s virtually impossible to get in’ by the careers advisor at school. That just made me more determined than ever to have the role I wanted. I went to college, did various jobs and got into modelling. I also contributed to a free style magazine and helped out at a local radio station. Then I landed my first magazine job as an editorial assistant on a new magazine launch called ‘Me Magazine’ and moved from Cheltenham to London two days before I started my new job. From there I worked on Inspirations where I became deputy features editor and then onto Bride & Groom magazine where I was promoted from Fashion Editor to Deputy Editor. All through my career I have loved styling fashion, homes and beauty shoots as well as writing and it’s been a thrill to combine my two passions. My last full-time role was as Editor of Cosmopolitan Hair & Beauty magazine, a sister title to Cosmopolitan. I left Cosmo to go on probably the biggest adventure of my life in 2006 when I became a mum. I’ve taken my foot off the accelerator a little and become a ‘freelancer’ for the first time in 20 years. Now I’m one of the millions of women trying to perfect the work/life balance.
Writing was in my blood from as early as I can remember; parenting took longer to come to me. I come from a creative family – my grandad was an opera singer, for example, although that particular gene skipped my generation – and I always loved writing and drawing, so a career in the creative industries was all I ever wanted. And I have been lucky. I have worked on men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines, with a particular slant on sport, health and fitness… genuine lifestyle stuff. I had two stints on men’s magazine Maxim, latterly as editor, but probably the most fun I had in a full-time job was as deputy editor of Men’s Fitness for four years, interviewing sports stars and writing contentious features about things such as government health policy, dodgy food labelling and fast food companies sponsoring sport (it’s a good thing, so long as you don’t eat the stuff). More recently I have worked in a freelance capacity, particularly for Flipside, a science and tech-based magazine for teenagers. As well as writing a lot about sport, I also indulge my other great passion – entertainment – as Flipside’s reviews editor.
So what do I know about parenting? Good question, and one that maybe you should ask my 10-year-old son! He is, of course, my big work in progress. It’s important to me that I try to be the best dad I can and teach him the right things, but also that I learn from him too. I love the fact that parenting is a two-way process.
Oh, I also manage a website called realbirthcompany.co.uk – which runs antenatal classes for mums and dads-to-be. The fact that my wife is a midwife probably explains why I know more than most men would ever wish to about pregnancy, birth and caring for a newborn. It hasn’t put me off, and I haven’t passed out either. Yet…