The Difference a Dale Makes: Charlotte Hogg Meets Angel Investor Ms Murray

We are delighted to publish this exclusive interview with Dale Murray, Angel Investor of the Year 2011 and a panelist at our London Pitch event last week.

Most of us will spend our lives waiting for ‘the day’. We will work relentlessly towards ‘the day’, we are likely to spend our days dreaming about ‘the day’ and spending much of our time hoping and praying that ‘the day’ actually comes. Depending on who we are, our ambitions and our motivations, our ‘day’ could be the day we meet the love of our lives, the day we meet our  hero, the day we win the lottery, secure investment, sell our business or perhaps just the day we meet a truly exceptional entrepreneur and investor who will change every other day of our career. In 2010 The Next Women interviewed  Dale Murray, now it was my time for an exclusive update.

This morning I walked into a quiet coffee shop in Parsons Green to meet with Dale Murray, who I knew as the woman behind mobile phone top ups, angel investor of the year and the lady who had recently joined Doug Richard on a tour of the UK, raising awareness of the new SEIS scheme and helping people access finance. Although we had never met, I already knew that Dale was a giving and genuine woman. I already knew that she was a moving, engaging and inspirational speaker and knew that despite huge levels of success, she was humble, approachable and entirely down to earth.

I was keen to know what made Dale Murrays ‘day’ without realising that she would be making mine. 

Angel Investor of the Year

The last 12 months has seen Dale Murray move from a relatively unknown entrepreneur and investor to Angel Investor of the Year, a recognised and respected public speaker and a key influencer, mentor and advisor in, for and on entrepreneurial initiatives, schemes and activities across the UK and beyond. The exciting 12 month journey, which has seen Dale meet with Richard Branson and Peter Jones, work on projects with Lord Young and Lord Bilimoria and address thousands of entrepreneurs at MADE Festival and across the Country on the Windows of Opportunity tour, all began with a plea from a young boy on the end of a phone. 

Although Dale is clearly incredibly charismatic, charming and won her first big contract because she is someone that is clearly an absolute pleasure to work with, the thought of public speaking made her feel physically sick this time last year.

You may say that Dale’s ‘Day’ came when she won ‘Angel Investor of the Year 2011’ and was swiftly asked to address everyone who is anyone in the world of entrepreneurship, at Downing Street, after a talk from David Cameron.

Even the possibility of it makes me feel a little uneasy and the reality of it was so extreme for Dale that she initially declined the offer. Her real ‘day’ was when she listened to the pleading young man at the end of the phone who told her that she could do it. If you have met Dale even for a matter of moments, you will know, that she would have done a brilliant job. She was honest, vulnerable and engaging. She gave a piece of herself to the audience in a warming, inspiring and personable manner that led to a roar of reward, love and admiration and months of, ‘you are that woman’. 

Scenario planning for entrepreneurs

Throughout her career, Dale has obviously had a couple of those ‘days’ and as I listened to her enchanting story I realised that they were determined by her ability to know when to say yes, when to say no, when to plan and when to take a leap of faith.

Dale shared her stories of ‘scenario planning’ and how she encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same. It is easy, as optimistic, determined entrepreneurs to consider best case scenario and possibly think about the worst but we rarely consider all the twists, turns and possibilities that lie in between.

For example, Dale was confident that the worst that could happen in Downing Street would be an ‘acceptable, pleasant speech’. She knew that she wouldn’t actually be sick, that she wouldn’t freeze on stage and would be capable of delivering her story in a professional manner. The best case scenario is what happened, a warm and loving reception and an exceptional delivery that has led to a wealth of relationships, opportunities and new adventures for Dale. I believe, though, what makes Dale unique is that she considered every option in between. Before, for example, big client meetings, she would spend time considering all the possible outcomes, all the possible questions and various scenarios she might be put in so that she can deal with each of them with grace, competence and professionalism. 

Intuition plays a role in her investment decisions

It is also obvious, from Dale’s Downing Street experience, that there are times when she takes a leap of faith and says, ‘yes’. When she is able to confront her fears, dig deep and find a way of connecting with the truest version of herself and others. Equally, this intuition plays a role in her investment decisions and the way in which she has built her network and a huge variety of relationships.

More importantly though, Dale also knows when to say ‘no’, whether it be to investment opportunities that aren’t well thought through, to entrepreneurs who are full of belief and ambition but need a tough dose of reality or simply the people that have a negative impact on her life.

For me, my day was made by being able to spend some time with Dale. It was a true honour to hear her experiences, listen to her advice and build what I hope and believe will be a great relationship.

I suspect that when I look back on this day, I may realise it was one of the days that made a difference.

Follow Dale on twitter at www.twitter.com/DaleJMurray

Charlotte Hogg is Founder of The Change Gang, a business consultancy that helps individuals and businesses innovate in the areas of entrepreneurship, fundraising, health and education. She is also author of The Handbook of Entrepreneurial Marketing and teaches and mentors at Doug Richards School 4 Creative Startups and Peter Jones Enterprise Academy

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