Scarlett Allen-Horten is the Business Director at Harper Fox Partners, a purpose-led, award-winning executive search firm that provides leadership talent and diverse recruitment solutions for the global energy, engineering, utility, transport, and technology sectors.
Scarlett was also featured in the BBC show The Apprentice in 2019 where she was a finalist by beating the rest of the candidates to make it into the final with Carina Lepore to pitch their ideas to Lord Sugar and 250 experts at City Hall for the chance to win £250,000 from Lord Sugar.
Would You like a feature Interview?
All Interviews are 100% FREE of Charge
Table of Contents
Has your upbringing played any part in your success?
Yes certainly. I was raised in inner city Birmingham by a very hard-working mom, I watched my mom work tirelessly and raise us singlehandedly, she was a superb role model and my motivation to succeed. I started working at 14 as the milkman’s assistant and by the time I was 16 I had left school and moved out into youth supported accommodation. There, I learnt very quickly that I was going to have to work really hard to change my circumstances. I started work within a big corporate organisation that taught me the basis of leadership, authenticity, and corporate life. I went on to have my first daughter at 20 and my second by 24. I was a young career woman with two very young children, this motivated me even further to want to succeed. After 8 years working very successfully within large recruitment corporations and smaller exec search firms as a top performer, I finally felt it was the right time to take the risk and start my own executive search business, I founded Harper Fox Partners in April 2017, with true quality partnership and inclusive senior talent delivery being the main business ethos.
Can you tell us about what you do at Harper Fox Partners, what your goals are and what you see in the future for Scarlett Allen-Horton.
Harper Fox Partners specialise in placing exceptional leadership talent across the global engineering and energy sectors, with a passion for placing senior female and ethnic minority talent within these sectors. We are passionate about contributing to renewable technologies and energies to lower global emissions as well as making these industries more attractive to diverse talent, propelling the industry forward for future generations, promoting inclusivity of all.
We are proud to work with Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, UK Energy Skills as well as UK based young people initiatives to encourage female and ethnic minority talent to succeed within the engineering and energy sectors. We support our clients with quality search and diverse talent attraction and retainment.
The passion around ethnic minority and senior female talent specialisation, came mostly from my own experiences. I noticed very quickly that within my own career, I was often the only (or one of few) women at my level of seniority, I was generally the only woman that was bi-racial and the only woman that was a young mother with very limited support. This meant there were a lack of role-models that looked like me or understood my own circumstances or that I could look up to. This further spurred my determination normally as one of the only women in the room to succeed. I could also hear the industry echo the need for more diverse talent, so for us it is a passion to support diverse talent attraction and delivery for our clients and really be part of the change.
What did you take away from appearing on The Apprentice?
It was truly an exceptional experience to be on the Apprentice. My main takeaway was to take calculated risks, to try things you have never done before and be passionate about what you do! I also had not realised just calm I am under pressure, which was a really positive learn about myself.
Do you still see any of the others who appeared on The Apprentice and who are your besties?
Yes, we all stay in touch and try to support each other. I mostly speak with Marianne, Lewis, Tommy, Jemlin and Ryan, Karina and Dean. They were all a great bunch of people and it was a once in lifetime experience we encountered together!
You consider yourself as a top achiever, what traits do you possess that you believe people need in order to achieve more in life and business?
Belief that you can do it! If you can’t do something at that moment, learn how…watch others, read up ask for support to be the best you can be. You are in charge of your own growth and development, no one else, so take responsibility! I knew I had huge personal pressures, family and my children relying on me so I knew early on I had to try my best to be the best at everything I did. Sometimes I was and sometimes I wasn’t, but I was resilient and kept on going until I achieved the objectives, I had set for myself. Traits: Resilience, Sheer determination, hunger and belief, someone people have these traits naturally within, and others develop them through life circumstances, I think mine come from a combination of both.
If you could eat dinner with 3 people living or deceased who would it be and why?
Maya Angelou- American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Her mind and deep creativity are intriguing to me.
Richard Branson- Business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s, which controls more than 400 companies in various fields. Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age. Hugely successful, also his innovation and boldness to do things differently is interesting to me.
Beyonce Knowles- American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress and filmmaker. Highly successful and innovative, intrigued by her life an thirst for success.
What advice can you give to small business owners on a budget, regarding how to take their business to the next level?
Ensure you have clear USP’s. What is your brand identify? What value do you bring over your competitors? If you have the answers to these factors, these with a clear business growth strategy will ensure you take the business to the next level. Surround yourself with people that are better than you at what they do and are bought into the vision for the business!
Which businessperson and company do you look up to and aspire to emulate the same level of success?
There are many people that I look up, clearly Lord Sugar is an obvious source of true inspiration, along with the wonderful Karen Brady. However, I would have to say for me Lisa Nichols (Motivating The Masses) is a true source of aspiration. Lisa started her business within a broom cupboard out of desperation and with very challenging life circumstances, a young baby and husband in prison. She went on to build a multi-million-dollar organisation as the first millionaire entrepreneur, is a best-selling author, a humanitarian, and a motivational speaker. Her story and talks are very relatable to me and highly inspirational.
Would you be available to speak about this at any events, media opportunities or radio discussions?
Yes I would be happy to. Via my social media channels or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch Scarlett Allen-Horten’s audition for the The Apprentice 2019
Scarlett may have only one joke to her name but many will backup that she has a whole host of skills when it comes to business matters and that’s ‘No Joke!