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Social Impact Heroes: Author Anne Welsh is helping to improve awareness of sickle cell disease

The day before I was set to Launch my book in Mayfair, London I was on the street and instantly recognised a boy standing beside me as a person who has sickle cell — is eyes were jaundiced and he looked uncomfortable and in pain. I reached out and tapped him on the shoulder and talked to […]


The day before I was set to Launch my book in Mayfair, London I was on the street and instantly recognised a boy standing beside me as a person who has sickle cell — is eyes were jaundiced and he looked uncomfortable and in pain. I reached out and tapped him on the shoulder and talked to him. He was a star at my book launch because he talked so powerfully and demonstrated the resolve, the true-grit, to overcome the challenges brought to him by having sickle cell.


As part of my series about companies and organizations making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Welsh. Anne is an internationally recognized author, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has recently launched her memoir, ‘Pain-less’ to inspire people who, like herself, live with sickle cell and work hard to find a path-way to a gratifying life while living with pain. She has appeared on many radio and television spots, such as the BBC and London live, and in front of decision makers and parliamentary political leaders in the UK or in countries around the world where sickle cell is a serious health issue. Anne has a degree in Accounting and Finance and an MSc in Investment Management and broke barriers as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers, by establishing workplace practices for ethnic minorities and people with disability. She now runs her own consultancy firm based in London England and is an expert in bringing business opportunities to investors around the globe.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Anne! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Any story has to start with the fact that I am a sickle cell sufferer, because the choices I have taken in life start with this fact which influences so much of what I do in business and philanthropy. From being a young girl, I wanted to follow in my father’s career path of being an accountant. In my final year of University, I did an internship with Lehman Brothers, an Investment Bank in the City and new that I liked the atmosphere of the job and after completing my MSC at Cass Business School, it was a natural progression to join the banking fraternity. I just loved the excitement and rewards of doing a job well. After the Bank went bankrupt in 2008, I took time to have my first child and participated in various charities at Chairperson level. I am an entrepreneur by nature and started my own consultancy business when the time was right, because having control over my time and location of doing work helps maintain my health.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Waking up in the war-torn country of South Sudan and supporting the growth of that young nation, working with the government to bring peace to the area, it can’t get any more interesting than that. Know course can script what you have to do to be successful.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I have made is not believing in myself… people might ask why this is funny because I will do things people told me to do without believing in my own ideas

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Through my book my organisation is making significant social impact as it is dedicated to improving the awareness of sickle cell and sharing solutions how the quality of life can improve for people with the disease or for that matter people that have chronic illnesses.

Credit: Diana Unanyan

Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?

The day before I was set to Launch my book in Mayfair, London I was on the street and instantly recognised a boy standing beside me as a person who has sickle cell — is eyes were jaundiced and he looked uncomfortable and in pain. I reached out and tapped him on the shoulder and talked to him. He was a star at my book launch because he talked so powerfully and demonstrated the resolve, the true-grit, to overcome the challenges brought to him by having sickle cell.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Awareness is key and people in the civil society and in politics need to understand that this is a rapidly growing medical health issue in Britain and now globally. Getting the message out to as many people as possible is my goal.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

My definition of leadership is that I do what I can do to make things better. For example: I know that people will not be as accepting of a person without chronic disease or mental health issues unless someone that has lived this predicament and explained it well to the people that are not aware. I not only follow through on this thought every single day, but I went and wrote a book about these situations that took many years to complete. I also define leadership as been able to lead and at the same time being open to learn from anyone at whatever level

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Put Your Family First. I recently chose to go to Toronto on a recent business trip this summer because I was able to use it as a hub while my family enjoyed the opportunities that were available.
  2. Don’t Go Into too much Debt. When I worked for an Investment Bank, some clients were so indebted they could not grow their company and competitors would capture the business. Always pay yourself first and invest rather than finding the next big thing to spend money on.
  3. Find Mentors. You don’t know what you don’t know. So many times I have discussed with a mentor how I should sharpen my focus on business. The most recent example was a conversation I had with my mentor who shared his approach to motivational speaking.
  4. Get Organized. I work by writing what I need to do and then checking myself against it. Just recently I would have missed a very important decision on marketing my book had I not followed up with this contact.
  5. Take Time On Important Decisions. Do research and ask a lot of questions. I would have never taken on a difficult role for an African government had I not known the details from many sources. Competitors left because they were not patient. Good for me.
Credit: Diana Unanyan

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Simply that free speech is the most important tool and it must be used without restriction. Challenges cannot happen with your peers nor can people with a voice hidden from view be heard. That means uncomfortable discussions must be had as well as those that everybody is seen to be agreeing with you.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” St Fancis of Assisi

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Melania Trump. Tremendously smart lady, always thoughtful and precise in her messages, without peers in getting her fashion ‘right’ and demonstrating why doing the right thing is important, regardless of how much negativity surrounds you.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @ladyannewelsh

Facebook: ladyannewelsh

Twitter: @ladyannewelsh

YouTube: annewelsh

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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