The NextWomen Panelist Dale Murray On Her CBE
Dale Murray, who regularly appears on the panel of investors at The NextWomen Pitch Events, was last month awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The 2011 Angel Investor of the Year received the honour in recognition for her services to British business, where she had a major impact on the UK’s telecommunication industry.
Dale is a successful entrepreneur, award-winning British business angel investor and experienced non-executive board director. She co-founded British mobile pioneer Omega Logic in 1999 and launched pre-pay mobile “top-ups”. She built top-ups to £88m (generating annual revenue of £7m) within three years of founding the business, and then sold to a privately held company, Eposs Ltd. She then became Eposs’s CEO, sold the group to First Data Corporation, and built top-ups to £450m (generating annual revenue of £25m) within another three years.
Dale now coaches start-up and early-stage businesses, as well as working with large corporates to better understand entrepreneurial approaches to business. She was awarded British Angel Investor of the Year in 2011.
Dale is also an NED of the British Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and UK Trade & Investment. She is an NED at Sussex Place Ventures and a Board Advisor to Seedrs and Incito Ventures.
We spoke to Dale about how she found out about her CBE; how she plans to use her award to help other female entrepreneurs; and what we can expect in the future from Dale Murray CBE.
TNW: Please share with us how you found out you were being awarded CBE and your initial reaction?
DM: Every Saturday morning I have coffee with my best friend while our sons go to karate. We get one hour a week to download each of our work ups-and-downs.
I heard the post arrive and noticed that a letter had come from Downing Street, so I had to open it then! I was so excited when I realised what it was, and then I started shaking.
I was thrilled that my girlfriend was there with me when I heard the news, as she has been a massive supporter of me through the years. My husband arrived home soon afterwards and I was still shaking!
TNW: Bearing in mind you only find out about you being awarded this honour recently, has the magnitude of this award sunk in yet?
DM: It's only sinking in now how big this is – and I hadn’t realised how impactful the honour would be for everyone around me. The response on Twitter, by email and letter has been so touching. Someone told me last week that there are only a limited number of living CBEs, Damehoods and Knighthoods. I thought "wow"! Then I received letters from a Prince, a Cabinet Minister and some Lords I've had the privilege to work with and I thought "wow! wow! wow!"
It's rare that there is a moment in your life where everyone metaphorically pats you on the back. It's extremely humbling.
TNW: Has receiving this honour changed your perception of your role in business? And has it made you more mindful of the impact that your work has, particularly on the entrepreneurial landscape?
DM: Absolutely! In business you often work hard, trying to juggle everything, and hoping that you’re having an impact. I receive lovely feedback from entrepreneurs that I work with, or after talks that I’ve given, so I just keep soldiering on. I’m out early and often home late, and it can sometimes be hard on my family and myself.
This honour is like all of the work I've done being bundled up and given back to me in one fell swoop.
TNW: How do you envisage this honour will affect your business journey?
DM: Someone said to me last week "you must use your CBE to help others" and I thought "oh right, of course I must!"
I’ll use it to help entrepreneurs, to help women in business and to promote positive investing i.e. investing for more than just monetary gain.
Receiving this honour has spurred me on even more. I’m so grateful for the recognition. I sincerely hope that other women notice this, realise I’m not that special, and that, if they want to, they can earn these honours too.
TNW: You have reached a level of success and influence that few can hope to reach, are you satisfied with how things have turned out or are you still hungry for new challenges? If so, what can we expect to see in the future from Dale Murray CBE?
DM: I’m thrilled with the successes in my life, but I am nowhere near finished yet! I am fully aware that I’m in a privileged position and I have access to a lot of very bright people. But surely the opportunity is to work with these advantages and do more good? The worst thing that could ever be muttered about someone in her later life is that “she didn’t achieve as much as she could have done”. I want to ensure no one ever says that about me!
TNW: Please share with us how you have managed to keep your sanity as a successful businesswoman with three young sons?!
DM: I’m not sure I have! It’s very tricky, as any parent will tell you. But my boys really know how much I love them; we have lots of special time together and I try hard to get one-on-one time with each of them too. Importantly, they recognize that I work hard and that this hard work has led to success.
I want to be a strong role model for my own children more than anything else.
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