Hi, I’m Cara. I’m an ADHD-fueled author, entrepreneur and creator with an insatiable curiosity about human potential. In 2014 I published my Amazon No. 1 bestselling book, Your Brilliant Un-career: Women, Entrepreneurship and Making the Leap and I continue to explore the future of work, peak performance and the critical role our stories have in inspiring the next generation of innovators and changemakers.
What I’m up to in life and business
Cara has a phenomenal way of turning complex information into a really engaging story. A natural storyteller Cara can help even the most unconfident person open up and share their truth in a empowering and empathetic way.Nick Shewring, Serial entrepreneur and innovation catalyst, Founder @CatalystHQ
Thought Leadership Coaching for STEM Professionals, Innovators, and Changemakers
It is critical that our scientists, academics, inventors, technology geniuses, social change agents and mathematicians share engaging stories that inspire the next generation of changemakers.
As we shift into the mid-21st century, there are currently not enough young people taking up STEM careers and we need them to because, without them, humanity won’t find new ways to solve climate change, prevent disease, and mitigate global conflicts.
Many corporations and organisations set thought leadership targets but offer little guidance and support to the very subject-matter experts they rely on to create expert content. Although these changemakers and innovators are technically brilliant there are a number of barriers that get in the way of them powerfully sharing their expertise, including:
- They don’t have clarity around what good looks like
- What’s published through corporate channels is often bland, watered-down and doesn’t reflect their voice
- The editing and review process can take months
- They are time-poor
- The business model they operate in doesn’t support their participation in non-billable projects
And in our post-Covid world, people hunger for authenticity in both personal and business relationships, not glossy brochures and impressive words. Here’s how I work to make every thought leadership piece count for both organisations and individual subject-matter experts:
Enterprise Thought Leadership Consulting
I consult with large organisations to ensure their thought-leadership content:
- is strategically aligned to their goals and values
- is engaging for intended audiences
- empowers subject-matter experts
How do you do that? I work with organisations on content strategy development, stakeholder-focused content ideation, training and mentoring subject matter experts in storytelling, personal brand development and best practice social media marketing. I also provide copywriting, editing and thought leadership writing services.
To discuss an initial consult, connect with me via LinkedIn.
Individual Thought Leadership Consulting
I work with individual entrepreneurs, STEM professionals and other changemakers to develop their thought leadership content in line with the personal brands they want to create and their organisations (if applicable). I offer a range of services to cater to different budgets, from free membership of my thought leadership platform Your Story Bank to one-on-one coaching.
- Writing prompts and frameworks for a wide variety of thought leadership content to cut down your writing time
- Monthly group thought leadership coaching and office hours for paid members of Your Story Bank
- Individual coaching and training on an ad-hoc basis or on retainer (I currently have a limited number of individual coaching spots available)
- Copywriting, editing and thought leadership writing services
To discuss your thought leadership needs
- Contact me on LinkedIn
180Selfcare: Inspiring 1 M people to beat anxiety and depression through the power of radical self care.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life thanks to having ADHD, but after a cocktail of life events hit me all at once in May 2021, I had to do something to pull myself up. So, I started what was initially a 75-day self care challenge (a riff on #75Hard which some of my friends have been doing) and now it’s turned into 180 days of radical self care.
This challenge completely transformed my experience of life and enabled me to get through the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face (the sudden and tragic death of my partner just a few months ago). If I hadn’t been practising intentional self care I do not believe I would have coped.
I haven’t given up, even though some days the only self care I can muster is simple gratitude that I get to breathe. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough and I’m still working through everything with my therapist as I battle PTSD and the whole world of grief and loss. But I know my partner would have wanted me to press on. So, in honour of him, I have continued to post every day on Instagram and now I’m turning this life-changing practice into a book and a program anyone can action. My goal is to inspire 1 M people to beat anxiety and depression through the power of radical self care. Read about why I started this here and follow my journey on Instagram.
At 9 years old, I walked into a shop filled wall to wall with handmade calico dolls. The owner smiled and said, “would you like some felt? If you make something I could sell it in my shop.” I took the felt and started what became a lucrative enterprise making bookmarks, small dolls and teddy bears. Sometimes I’d make $20 in a week! That was the start of my journey as an entrepreneur.
In my adult life, I’ve always been drawn to entrepreneurship and innovation and while I have enjoyed a measure of success in my ventures, I always felt like something was blocking me, that was until I discovered the power of listening.
Growing up as a child with serious attention deficit issues, I remember being told “you don’t listen.” In fact, I was told this so often, I decided they meant “you can’t listen.” I literally thought that I had a listening disability.
So, I would enter every conversation with massive anxiety. And guess what, anxiety really doesn’t make listening easy. Instead, it kept me in my own head and disconnected from others.
I discovered that being fulfilled in life had little to do with my desires, talents, abilities, winning formulas and strategies and this was a massive shock to me.
In 2018, while doing a leadership program, I experienced a game-changing and fundamental shift that altered my relationship to listening. In a moment of deep clarity, I discovered that the story I’d told myself about not being able to listen was completely untrue.
It wasn’t anything earth-shattering that led to this discovery, just a simple task where I had to relate back to my exercise partner her experience of life at that moment. When she confirmed that I got what she was experiencing, it was like this massive mountain shifted before my eyes. In fact, it was so overwhelming I sobbed.
All of a sudden I saw people differently, I saw myself as someone who could connect and I discovered opportunities that I never would have seen had I remained stuck in my head.
When I started employing deep listening techniques in my work, I was astounded at just how effective conversations were for sparking ideas, building business relationships and discovering new growth opportunities.
Despite having built my career on creating written content, I stopped writing long-form thought leadership pieces that came out of my head and I started to hone my listening skills and write from what others’ shared with me. I started talking to random strangers about what mattered to them everywhere I went and interviewed over 100 people in 3 different countries. I picked up the phone every day and called someone from my contacts list. I visited people I hadn’t seen in years and I listened. And the experience was transformative.
The surprising impact of doing this was the ripple effect it had on my entire life. Many of the things I once thought were immovable have shifted. I now have deep caring friendships with phenomenal humans, dramatically improved health and vitality, work I love doing every day that makes a difference to humanity, and tools that empower me to connect with anyone with ease and confidence, from CEOs and celebrities to students. I also was lucky to have an incredible relationship, something I never thought possible a few years ago.
Connect with me
- Human Content: Human-centered content marketing blog
- My personal blog: innovation, personal transformation, startups focus
- My Facebook Page (author page)
- Your Brilliant Un-Career Facebook Page (supporting small and micro businesses and startups)
Why all the different author names?
As an author and creative, I used to be known under my married name as Caroline or Cas McCullough. I have now legally changed my name to Caroline (Cara) Szellemes. If you want to know why read my blog post on why I am changing my name here.