Woman dubbed the ‘Queen of luxury’ who’s one of the world’s youngest CEOs at 32 says spending her teens caring for her disabled mother taught her to be ‘fearless’
- At only 32, Annastasia Seeborn is Quintessentially’s newly appointed group CEO
- Young woman who grew up in UK rose through the ranks of professional world
- Used to care for her sick mother in her teens before heading to business school
- Said it forced her to ‘mature at warped speed’ and made her fearless and brave
A young woman who went from carer to successful CEO said looking after her sick mother as a teen helped her mature ‘at warped speed’ and influenced her career for the better.
Annastasia Seebohm, 32, who divides her time between New York and London, is the recently appointed Global CEO of luxury concierge company Quintessentially, which makes her one of the youngest chief executives in the world in 2019.
The company provides members with exclusive services from securing sought-after restaurant reservations to sold-out tickets, with Annastasia overseeing more than 60 offices and growing the brand’s $100M revenue.
She’s been dubbed the ‘Queen of Luxury’ by Forbes – a far cry from her challenging teenage years as a young carer.
Born in Greece, Annastasia followed her mother to the UK after her parents divorce when she was 12, but the teenager’s life changed when her mother became disabled after a brain hemorrhage and she had to act as her carer.
‘I feel the experience helped me to grasp life with both hands – encouraging me to be brave and fearless – something which I still try and stand by today,’ she told Femail.
Annastasia Seebohm, 32, is the new Global CEO of planning company Quintessentiall. She says caring for her mother at a young age taught her to be ‘fearless’
Being one of the youngest female CEOs in the world is not easy undertaking, but Annastasia says she is leading in a ‘more feminine manner’
‘As sad as the situation was, it has also made me who I am today.
‘A young carer is exposed to situations that forces them to mature at warped speed.
‘When you are dealing with the illness of a loved one, in particular a parent, it makes you consider what is truly important in life; what you should worry about and what is utterly inconsequential,’ she added.
She explained that this fearlessness opened several doors for her and helped connect with the right people.
Annastasia, pictured with her mother during her childhood. When Annastasia was a teen, her mother suffered a brain hemorrhage, which left her disabled
Annastasia started out as an executive assistant, and used it as an opportunity to learn everything about how a company runs.
She then set her sights on working for Quintessentially, and applied over the course of several years until she finally got a job working closely with the founders.
‘I knew that I had to push myself to talk to people I knew I could learn something from – including the most influential people, even if that intimidated me at the time,’ she explained.
Annastasia at 18, jumping on a bed. After caring for her sick mother as a teen, Annastasia went to business school and dipped her toes in the labour market
A complete ‘yes woman,’ Annastasia said she would volunteer for countless jobs in order to get noticed, from running errands to repairing the photocopier. And her self-confidence also meant she was not afraid to speak her mind.
‘When I did get the proverbial seat at the table, I wasn’t afraid to put my opinions forward, in spite of being relatively young and new,’ she said, ‘it was about knowing the value and experience I was personally bringing and having the confidence to share it.’
She was then given the change to run the US business, which quickly tripled in size, which led to her being given the role of Global CEO.
Annastasia – who admits she has ‘tendencies of being dominant,’ had to learn how to not be aggressive to her team under pressure.
‘It’s often an easy default when you are focused on getting something done, especially under pressure. I think now there’s a real movement to a new way of leading, guided by a more human and emotional approach.’ she said.
Annastasia worked with a coach to focus on a ‘softer’ and ‘more feminine approach.’
‘I think it’s so important to share ideas and experiences, and show the next generation of leaders that being human in business is a really positive thing without it compromising results,’ she said.
Annastasia also shares awkward experiences with her team so they learn from others mistakes. For instance, after two men assumed another, older man was the CEO of the company and not her, she shared the take with her team ‘ so they understood that all levels of seniority can experience these situations.’
But from a very young age, most of Annastasia’s mentors have been men. She credited her grandfather, Dr Stephen CR Moore, for teaching her to ’embrace life and friendships, to live in the now and to enjoy and be led by new experiences, not money.’
Annastasia says women need to be more represented in the work place and that while women can be ‘alphas’ too, she prefers to lead with kindness rather than being aggressive
And since starting at Quintessentially, she’s enjoyed the full support of the company’s founders, Ben Elliot and Aaron Simpson.
‘I think I learned the power of the pack – that a solid support network, and not being afraid to share emotions, is so important and that’s something I embrace to this day,’ she said.
‘I am so grateful for the incredible support network I have through all my family, friends and colleagues.’
Annastasia supports the Time’s Up movement, which campaigns against sexual harassment. But she says many things needs to be done in the workplace to achieve parity: ‘There is simply not enough female representation on corporate boards today and that has to be cross corrected as a matter of urgency.’
‘When asked what advice she had for younger women dipping their toes in the labour market, she said: Dream big – the only limitation you have is your imagination.
‘Be curious, ask questions, stay focused and have a plan! Set yourself specific goals and go for them. Be brave and have belief in yourself and remember it’s all part of the adventure!’
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