The Secret to Achieving Work Life Balance

Company Director and successful entrepreneur Sarah Sanpher-McDowell explains how she achieves the perfect work life balance whilst holding down a high-powered job and setting up a successful all-female trade alliance.

Is it possible to achieve the elusive work life balance?

Interview with Sarah Sanpher-McDowell
Founder of the Women’s Recycling Alliance

Company Director and successful entrepreneur Sarah Sanpher-McDowell explains how she achieves the perfect work life balance whilst holding down a high-powered job and setting up a successful all-female trade alliance.

Interview successful entrepreneur. Sarah Sanpher-McDowell explains how she achieves the perfect work life balance whilst holding down a high-powered job and setting up a successful all-female trade alliance.

Sarah’s professional background

Today’s guest is Sarah Sanpher-McDowell, a Director and entrepreneur based in Harrogate, UK. She is the creator of the Women’s Recycling Alliance – promoting and inspiring women in the recycling and waste industry – as well as a Director at the fast-growing, forward-thinking company Clearpoint Recycling Ltd. Her work has been featured on Stray FM Radio, and attracted the interest of leading female professionals all around the country!

I first met Sarah because our sons were best friends at school and we would chat whenever we would pick up or drop off. Our little chats at the door though soon became hour-length conversations, endless catch-ups by phone and ultimately a wonderful friendship. I have always admired Sarah for her strength of character and rational outlook on life. That is why I believe she epitomizes the perfect example of a Wellness Warrior. She embraces the gifts of the universe, practices what she preaches and is as stoic as any mythical Amazonian.

Sarah is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover. Her friendly demeanor and easy manner by no means take precedence over her astute and keen skills of observation and highly organizational mind.

Working her way to the top

This business lady has moved from the detailed world of finance and accounts into the heady boardrooms of directorship in an amazingly short period of time.

Working initially with owner operator businesses to free them up to do what they do best and assisting with business development growth.  Just 5 years ago, Sarah knew she was capable of much more. Although she also ran a very successful and thriving women’s networking group and highly sought after organisational services, her inquisitive and analytical mind needed to broaden it horizons.

She proved her worth as a business entrepreneur as she helped Clearpoint Recycling grow from just a 3-person enterprise to a flourishing enterprise offering employment to over 24 people in 3 years. Sarah nurtures and helps her personnel to grow both personally and professionally with her years of experience and perceptive, empathetic approach.

Work does not take over her home life

I think you’ll have gathered by now that beyond her highly convivial personality, Sarah is an estimable business woman, but she is also a wonderful, caring and devoted mother and wife.

In this interview, you’ll learn more about how Sarah manages to be positive and purposeful ALL the time, how she’s managed to strike the perfect work-life balance with grace, be more confident, and how to create an inspiring alliance in a male-dominated sector giving women in the waste industry the opportunity to network, hone their professional skills and become a force to be reckoned with.

You will also discover:

  • Sarah’s personal wellness ritual to being happy, healthy and grounded
  • How Sarah manages to not just survive but thrive in a male-dominated industry
  • Why Sarah went from freelancer to full-time Director and what the benefits of that decision were for her personally
  • How Sarah intends to help women in the waste industry
  • And finally, Sarah’s advice for anyone who wants to set up an alliance or take that first step in realising your passion and how this is possible in conjunction with your full-time job and sustaining a happy home life.


Thank you for being here Sarah 5:20

Q1. I thought we’d kick off with perhaps the most burning question our listeners will want to know the answer to. How do you strike the perfect balance between work and your personal life?

The benefits are self-evident as you are fit and healthy, motivated and extremely focused. Morning routine: 6:15

Weekend routines and family values. 7:40

Do you think this balance is possible for most workers? And if so, why aren’t more people, in your opinion, able to strike this balance? 10:20

11:50 Sarah’s personal morning routine

Q2. Onto the more serious stuff now. You were initially working for Clearpoint Recycling on a freelance basis. You became such a valuable asset they lured you back into full-time employment. Do you have any regrets about going back to full time work and what made you accept their offer? 14:10

Q3. Do you miss anything about being a freelancer?

Q4. Now it is no real surprise to know that the waste and recycling industry in the UK and in fact worldwide is predominantly male. In fact 78% of the employees within the waste, energy and water industry in the UK are male. That is a very high percentage. Is that one of the reasons why you wanted an all-female alliance? And what other things motivated you to start up the Women’s Recycling Alliance? And tell us a little bit about it. 18:55

Women's Recycling Alliance. Connect with like-minded women in our industry.
Grow your network.
Develop new personal and professional skills.
Discuss industry related topics.

Could having more women in the recycling industry help downturn the trend for more waste?

Q5. What is your motivation behind the Women’s Recycling Alliance 19:37

Q6. What sets your alliance apart? Women in a male-dominated industry 24:30 Inclusive of men 30:00

Q7. The senior executive vice president at Veolia, one of the UK’s market leaders in waste, water and energy management services, Estelle Brachlianoff, is a wonderful example of how a woman can be successful in a male-dominated industry – will you be inviting her to one of your future events? 32:14

Q8. Any parting advice to women in particular who are in a male-dominated industry and feeling the extra pressure? 33:10

Thank you for your time, Sarah. I do not know how you manage to remain so composed and focused with your angel feathers perfectly unruffled with so much going on in your life. Must be those early morning workouts!

Well done on your accomplishments and I wish you every success with the Women’s Recycling Alliance!

A wonderful role model

Sarah is a pure role model of the perfect mother, perfect business women and perfect friend. You do not begrudge her this success for she is down to earth and genuine. If we had more of her kind of caring and no-nonsense individuals in business, companies would be a happier and more productive environment.

Interested in getting in touch with Sarah or seeing her successful Women’s Recycling Alliance? Useful contact details below:

Go for personal growth and develop your lifestyle with these tips for improving your habits for a healthier lifestyle and 6 inspirational personal development books

Wellness Warrior Women

Success = The ultimate goal?

I am showcasing success stories of inspirational women I have had the honour of getting to know. They have embraced the world, fought for what they believed in and welcomed the power of the universe into their everyday lives.


Definition of success

Defining success would, on the surface, appear to be a simple task: wealthy, rich and powerful people, right? What if you were able to drop the preconditioned thoughts from the equation and looked again at defining success:

A wealthy, rich and powerful person who is unhappy… that surely is not reflective of “success”. For the purposes of this section, I would like to celebrate individuals who have been successful, in their own individual way, whether it is in fact in terms of business, or perhaps in overcoming obstacles, finding inner peace, helping others or creating something new.

Richness of life

What each of these amazing and enlightened individuals has in common is their ability to have an open mind and a love and appreciation for the world around them as a whole.

Follow their success stories. Be inspired to carve your own path to success.

If you know someone who is swinging off the star of success thanks to their own efforts and beliefs, please drop me a line.