Aneela Rose sets her sights high, whatever she sets out to do. From her childhood ambition to become a pilot, to forming a PR company, or achieving a world title in powerlifting, she goes all out to challenge herself to the max.
Sadly, the dream of taking the controls of a plane was not to be – her eyesight failed the required levels – but, undaunted, young Aneela pursued and gained a role in a related field, working with a flight simulator company.
She recalls: “It was my first PR role and very technical. I had to learn fast and on the hoof, but I just loved it.” After this, Aneela worked for an IT company, until she felt ready to set up her own business in 2004.
“I launched Aneela Rose PR from my bedroom. I had no idea what to charge clients, or how to go about finding them, but I’ve never been afraid of taking risks. Challenges have always excited me,” she said.
The company has reinvented itself three times in 15 years, embracing change and adding new areas to the business, to emerge as Rose Media Group – described as “a small, high-end consultancy”. Aneela is at the helm, but dislikes being pigeonholed into the role of boss, saying she draws from her talented and loyal team of experts in different fields, while she supports them in any way they require. “We work together. They work with, not for, me,” she says firmly.
Aneela found inspiration for her management style from the Dragons Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, who told her always to “recruit people who know more than you”. She has never forgotten the advice.
As a lifelong sporty person, Aneela has always kept active. Her two children, now aged nine and six, also keep her busy when she’s not working. She threw javelin at school, but gave it up when university and work pressures took over. Then the 2012 Olympics inspired her to take it up again and she contacted Olympian gold medallist Tessa Sanderson, to see if she would be prepared to train her. She was put in touch with a specialist academy and began to practise once more – until she suffered a shoulder injury.
Undaunted, Aneela looked for another challenge. She says she has been described as “freakishly strong” for her slender 5ft 2in frame and it was suggested she should take up power lifting. True to her fiercely competitive nature, within a year she had been selected for the British team by the Amateur World Powerlifting Congress (AWPC) and in August last year took the world title in her age and weight class.
“It was a surreal feeling,” she says. “I had worked very hard and was at my peak fitness, as well as being mentally strong. It is frequently mind over matter which counts in the sport.”
As her company celebrates its 15th anniversary, Aneela looks back with pride at her achievements. She describes her management style as “sharing and nurturing”, saying she loves the democracy of her team. She abhors annual appraisals, instead preferring to take a member of staff out to breakfast once a month for a one-to-one chat about progress. “We sort issues, come up with great ideas and plan ahead very quickly that way,” she assures me.
The business focuses on specialist sectors like manufacturing, engineering, tech and construction, steering away from start-ups or businesses that lack ambition. She knows what she wants and chases her goals with delight.
“It’s a really exciting time. We’re about to restructure again with new staff joining, new services being launched and an ambitious growth plan, but I have real clarity about what I’m doing,” she says contentedly.