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Chloe Chick is the passionate founder of The Peaks Foundation, a social enterprise that organises global mountain adventure challenges to empower women and raise critical funding for local organisations with female-focused initiatives. To date, Peaks Foundation has invested over USD $1 million in women & girls and continues to grow its expeditions to help the female participant of all ages discover their inner strength.
Written and interviewed by Ayla Kremb
1.What was the moment you knew you had to make Peaks Foundation happen?
I knew we had to make Peaks Foundation happen when we were suddenly inundated with women who wanted to take part in our challenges. We launched Peaks Foundation in 2004 under the tag-line ‘3 Peaks 3 Weeks Africa’ – offering an annual expedition for 12 women to climb three of Africa’s highest peaks in less than three weeks to raise funds for three local organisations. When we received over 100 applications for the 12 available spots, we knew we had to make this transformative experience available to more women.
2. How did you answer the ‘What do you do?’ question at dinner parties when your business idea was still undefined?
I don’t think dinner parties were on the radar when the business was undefined. We were a lot younger and living on 2 pound dinners from Tesco in the UK. In rowdy English pubs we’d tell people we climbed mountains. Thinking back it seems laughable, considering the pint of beer we were gripping didn’t really go with the healthy mountain climbing image we were trying to portray.
3. How did you select your first team member?
When it comes to our team, Peaks Foundation is a very different organization. Everyone who joins our mountain challenges and events is considered part of the PF crew. Therefore our first team members selected themselves based on their willingness to step outside their comfort zone, their passion for our cause and their personal determination to make it happen.
4. How have you structured your daily schedule to be most productive?
Because my young family’s schedule is unpredictable, I find it difficult to stick to a structured routine. However, I usually read my emails as soon as I wake, so I can think through the priorities for the day when I go for my morning run. Even though I try to schedule meetings and calls at certain times, to be honest the day rarely goes according to plan. With a global operation and our core team spread across four continents, I spend most of my time fighting fires. It just comes down to one basic principle: If it needs to be done, do it.
5. What do you do to get yourself excited when you’re in a mental funk?
When I am in a mental funk for more than three days, I sign up to one of our mountain based challenges or create a new one. For example in six weeks I’m running the Annapurna100 with Peaks. Seeing our work in action, coupled with facing a personal physical challenge puts the smaller mental funks into perspective and gives me a huge wave of motivation. I’m also a big believer in exercise to stimulate creative energy. So whenever I’m feeling a little down I just need to get out and go for a run or swim.
6. What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in your personality since becoming an entrepreneur?
I don’t deal with the word ‘No’ very well. When I worked in an organisation and a project idea was given a no, we’d accept it and move on. But when you run your own operation, ‘No’ just isn’t good enough. You have to push, pull and get creative to find that Yes.
7. If I met you two years from now, what’s the one thing that would make you feel like you’ve made a dent in the Universe?
Thankfully I already feel like I’ve made a dent. We’ve taken women aged 15 to 65 on mountain expeditions across the globe and distributed over USD $1 million to female-focused initiatives. Ideally in two years we have increased the number of women and girls we have taken on our Challenges, hosted more events like our Women’s Leadership & Adventure Summit and increased the amount of funds we have allocated to women and girls initiatives.
8. How do you feel when you say ‘My name is Chloe and I run Peaks Foundation’?
I feel thankful for the number of people who have personally invested their time, energy and resources in Peaks and allowed it to grow into the organization it is today. I’m also grateful for the support from family and friends to follow my personal dreams and ambitions.
Photo cover credit: danielavladimirova
Guest Post by Ayla Kremb: Ayla loves helping start-ups get their 1st customers, is obsessed with all things tea, can’t get enough of art museums and zen-ifies her Saturdays with meditation. When she’s not connecting with entrepreneurs in the making, her inner word-nerd comes out to do the blog thing. As a self-proclaimed ‘Topicana’ that just happened to be born in Sweden, she believes sunshine is the key to happiness and Tigerbalm is the cure for everything.