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A business breakfast with added sparkle

After listening to Joy Foster, Founder and Managing Director of TechPixies, talk so honestly about her life at a recent Jennings Breakfast networking event, I felt inspired to share how and why I connected with it in so many ways.

Having met women who had been on the TechPixies course and heard a bit about Joy I knew it was one talk not to be missed! Joy gave the audience a very authentic talk providing a potted history. Starting with her family life brought up in a Christian home in America. She moved on to talk about losing her Dad in her early 20s and how her Christian faith supported her and God continues to be her guide.

From America to Motherhood!

She left a well paid job at a major financial institution to seek her dream to make it into America’s Olympic archery team (unfortunately, fifth wasn’t quite good enough). A turn of events or coincidence she met her now husband, Tim Foster MBE, for the second time, while she was a writer for the Olympic news in Beijing. They were married just a few weeks later. He wasn’t going to let her go again!

Joy followed Tim to Switzerland, where she became a mother. Not speaking German it was hard to find local information and services. She didn’t relish being isolated at home so she decided to create a resource website to help other ex-pats. It was very popular – in the first year it had 400  visits and is still thriving and going strong today. It has brought people together, creating a community.

The seed for TechPixies

On returning to the UK Joy worked in London in a digital marketing role. After taking redundancy she secured a grant to create Made with Joy, a social enterprise, creating and promoting website built using WordPress. She developed a training plan to help teenagers and adults from challenging backgrounds, perhaps learning disabilities or mental illness learn new digital marketing skills to support them into work.

Creating Digital Savvy Returners

Joy started TechPixies programme in October 2015 as a result of winning a service contract from the Oxfordshire County Council. The TechPixies programme is an initiative aimed at helping Mums return to work after taking a break in their careers to look after children. The ladies learn about digital marketing through various modules. It was a great success for the women going through the programme and is getting a great name for supporting women back to work.

From the Heart

At this point in the talk you could see that Joy was struggling to keep her emotions in check? as she explained her difficult decisions she had to make as she learnt how to run her new business and become financially sustainable.  I have never felt so emotional in a business networking event and was surprised to have to reach for a tissue. This was coming direct from her heart.

Joy packed a lot into her relatively short talk and it spoke to me both as a business owner and a Mum. I was encouraged by her openness to talk about her faith, her honesty in the highs and lows of running your own business and her determination to make a difference. I found myself being swept up with the emotion having lost my Dad at a similar age and seeing Joy’s heartfeld reactions to her TechPixies journey so far and the excitement of what’s to come! it’s inspirational to listen to her as a Mum, a Christian and business woman.

Joy spoke about creating values for TechPixies using the acronym SPARKLE, after being inspired by Mike Jennings book, Valuable.

So my takeaways from Joy’s talk?

  • Inspiration!
  • A kick to start reading Mike’s book – encouraging and inspirational (now completed!).
  • To refocus on my values.
  • Encouraged that there are others out there who put people before profit.
  • Clarity on where I get my sparkle – working with value-driven organisations.
  • #BringBackTheSparkle

That’s quite enough for one morning! Thanks to Jennings for inviting Joy to speak. TechPixies programme is now online.

If you’d like to develop your values through your communications then please get in touch.


Hi, I'm Rachel Cox - Writer of this blog for purpose-led businesses and charities. It’s short and punchy, useful and easy to read. You will find marketing tips and views, news, running your own business, being a working mum and someone who believes in excellent customer service so possibly a rant thrown in for good measure every now and then. I hope you enjoy and please comment and share.

Thanks for visiting.

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