Power Women: Carol Evans of Planet Peacock Business Success Club On How To Successfully Navigate Work, Love and Life As A Powerful Woman

An Interview With Ming Zhao

Ming S. Zhao
Authority Magazine
19 min readFeb 24, 2022


I think society still feels uncomfortable with strong women, because there just aren’t enough of us in visible powerful positions. Whilst a report out actually today shows the numbers increasing it still just isn’t enough. I think a man can feel easily emasculated by a strong woman. For some reason it seems to make them feel less. Maybe it’s to do with their old “hunter-gatherer” role.

How does a successful, strong, and powerful woman navigate work, employee relationships, love, and life in a world that still feels uncomfortable with strong women? In this interview series, called “Power Women” we are talking to accomplished women leaders who share their stories and experiences navigating work, love and life as a powerful woman.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Carol Evans.

Carol is a successful entrepreneur, business coach, founder and CEO of Consultancy and Coaching and The Planet Peacock Business Success Club as well as a best-selling author. Carol inspires and mentors business owners to overcome obstacles and scale up their businesses to reach their true potential, without sacrificing their soul, time and wellbeing.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

As a young girl I dreamed of being on the stage. My passion was to be a dancer. There wasn’t much money around, but we were able to pursue one hobby each, so I chose dancing. As one of 4 children I’d fight them for space in the family lounge, pop the nutcracker suite on the old record player and pirouette around the room. My pride and joy was this beautiful soft yellow tutu that had been hand-made especially for me so I could enter my first competition. I won bronze, but it’s that dress that stays in my memory.

Music was a constant joy in my life. My Mum taught us to read music and play the recorder before my siblings and I even started school. I grew to love it more and more and, after joining the local church choir, decided I wanted to learn to play an instrument. As the choir mistress taught the flute, I decided I’d swap my dancing hobby to play that instead.

But, whilst my Mum had done all she could, working all hours to get me the flute, I had to find a way of earning money so I could buy the music I needed. So, my Grandad took me off to town and helped me to find a Saturday job. I was 12. I took a job on a fruit and vegetable stall and earned a grand £5 per day. The work was physically tough and long hours, yet I learned so much — about commitment, responsibility, service, and reward.

I actually ended up staying there till I was 18!

Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?

I found I had a real talent for music. Along the way I’d found my singing voice — a beautiful pure soprano, and so I’d taken a path to study it. Just prior to my final exams, my Mum announced that we, my Mum and I, were going away on holiday with my Grandad — to the Isle of Wight.

As money was short, we’d only had a couple of family holidays throughout my childhood, so this was a real adventure — especially as it involved travelling on a ferry.

The owners of the hotel we stayed in had only bought it a few months prior to our arrival, they had a young family and worked all hours. I used to laugh and joke with them that I’d come back a couple of weeks later and give them a hand over the main summer holiday.

It was only when I got home that I started to formulate a plan. I needed money — I was off to theatre school in September, and they needed help.

I made the call to ask them for a job and strangely enough they accepted.

So, I moved to the Isle of Wight for what was intended to be a 6 week summer job where I’d sing in the bar and babysit for the neighbour, but ended up falling totally in love with business, staying there for 6 years and becoming a manager!

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

After progressing up the corporate ladder, I left my job as Hospital Director to set up my first business, which was across the sea in Ireland. I didn’t know the area and so I’d fly over and visit as often as I could to try and find a suitable location to develop my plans.

I was introduced to a guy who had worked in the same company as me and we became business partners. He’d pick me up when he could and drive me all over this specific area, trying to help me track down a suitable property.

After 12 long months of searching, I was at the point of despair. We had a meeting that got cancelled, and so we decided to get completely out of the area and go and chill somewhere with a cup of tea,

I was bereft. I’d decided that this would be my last visit if that elusive property didn’t show up.

As we drove away from our search area, I slowly started to accept that my big, beautiful dream was not to be. Although tearful, I was blown away by the stunning landscape we were driving through. It seemed almost comedic that on the day I decide enough was enough, I’d come across such a beautiful area. But I didn’t want to pursue it. I couldn’t face the possibility of months and months of searching in a new area and still not find what I was looking for. I accepted my fate… or so I thought…

Next day, I’m waiting for my flight home. I’m literally sobbing down the phone to my husband. Devastated, that what I felt was my one true purpose and passion, had come to an end.

I’m interrupted mid sob by the airline staff, telling me to get off my phone and on to the plane.

Another guy gets the same treatment, and we share a little grumble together as we walk towards the plane. As we do all I’m thinking is “Please don’t sit next to me, I don’t want to chat, I just want to be left on my own and come to terms with this and find closure”

I step on the plane only to see that it is crowded. Packed. The flight attendant tells me where to sit. There are just 2 seats empty on the plane. Right next to each other.

So, we sit down and of course he starts talking. Asking me what had bought me to Ireland.

I tell him my story.

He then tells me his. Not quite believing what I’m hearing. He says he owns a big property in 40 acres of land overlooking a huge lake in the hills I’d travelled to the day before. He tells me he’s looking to sell, and I should see it.

I fly back the following week, and well, that’s a whole other story!

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The three character traits that have been most instrumental to my success are my courage, my work ethic and my responsibility. To achieve anything extraordinary you have to have courage to step out of your comfort zone. To believe in you. To do things you’ve never done before. To get back on your feet when you’ve been knocked down. So many examples I could share of how this has just been so important for me… the courage to leave my well-paid professional career and set up my first business — and it wasn’t just a small business, it required an investment of €16m… I kept getting knocked back at meetings with potential investors. The worse one being the penultimate one. I almost gave up but dug deep to find the courage to keep going. Finally, after about 12 months of trying, having that courage eventually paid off as I got my funding offer!

People achieve success because they keep taking consistent relevant action whilst others around them give up. My work ethic has always been extremely strong and powerful. I have always worked hard. Hardly ever made excuses. I’ve put myself out and strove to be indispensable. I learned from a very young age, when I took that first job on the market stall, that hard work pays. I was able to buy my first property by 21 and a couple of cars. Everything I have achieved has been because I have worked hard.

Finally personal responsibility has been massive for me. Accepting again, right from that early age, that if I wanted money then it was my responsibility to go out and earn it. When I wanted to progress within my first job, I took responsibility to find an appropriate part time course, so I had the skills to do it even though it meant using my only day off in the week to do it. I take personal responsibility for my happiness, my health and my wealth.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. The premise of this series assumes that our society still feels uncomfortable with strong women. Why do you think this is so?

I think society still feels uncomfortable with strong women, because there just aren’t enough of us in visible powerful positions. Whilst a report out actually today shows the numbers increasing it still just isn’t enough. I think a man can feel easily emasculated by a strong woman. For some reason it seems to make them feel less. Maybe it’s to do with their old “hunter-gatherer” role.

The “rules” of the workplace have been established a long time. There is a rigidity that exists that brings a sense of surety. Women and their drive for flexibility threaten the very essence of this and I guess it creates a fear of the unknown.

I also think that we women sometimes do not do ourselves any favours. Women as well as men, seem to find a strong powerful woman threatening.

Generation after generation of conditioning has led many women to value others more than themselves. They put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own, which can ultimately mean they never truly fulfil their potential or get to live their lives following their passion and purpose. They just facilitate so everyone else does.

Because of this conditioning, women are much less likely to actually believe in themselves. Men are far more likely to rate themselves as good enough for promotion in the workplace than women are, even when they’ve clearly accumulated more experience, have more skills and so on. So, it stands out as unusual when a strong powerful woman comes along who is prepared to “battle” for the top positions. Again, because it’s so unusual for women to apply for these roles, men — and other women — don’t know how to handle it and of course a feeling of discomfort ensues.

It’s the same when women set up in business — in a big way, and really go after their dreams, they stand out. This can make other women feel bad and feel the need to bring them back down a level. Instead, we should all be looking upwards at the great example powerful women set and looking to be just like them.

I believe that what the world needs right now is a great big dose of soothing feminine energy, but that we as women need to play smart. Recognize the conditioning, the limiting beliefs we accept and take for granted and commit to getting over them and having the courage to reach for our dreams and in doing so, make the world a slightly better place.

If we all pull together, raise each other up then the threat becomes a threat no more. Bit by bit we can continue to drive out any prejudice and show that women are perfectly equal. But, in my mind, for that to happen, it needs to start with all women accepting this, applying for more of the top positions or at least supporting those who have the courage to level up and stand out.

Without saying any names, can you share a story from your own experience that illustrates this idea?

Well, I have many stories I could share, but this one time, in my last corporate position, I was completely overlooked for a promotion. I’d progressed well and had skills and experience that my peers didn’t have. However, somehow this guy — a peer of mine — ended up as my boss. The trouble for me was that he was responsible for business tasks that were completely out of his area of expertise and completely in mine.

He dealt with his inability to manage me and these responsibilities by treating me harshly — often bringing me to tears.

What should a powerful woman do in a context where she feels that people are uneasy around her?

A powerful woman will easily recognize when someone is uneasy around her and can use her insight and wonderful warm caring nature to make them feel comfier. Being a powerful woman isn’t about being tough, harsh and uncaring. So, when people feel uneasy, reach out to them, chat to them on an even level, compliment them, thank them, involve them.

I think the difficulty sometimes lies in the fact that unease can feel like intimidation and so it’s important to recognize the difference and being able to respond.

What do we need to do as a society to change the unease around powerful women?

We need for powerful women to be the norm, so they are recognized as just being as person like anyone else. And we need to stop labelling powerful women as power crazy, b***** or any other derogatory term.

We need to get more visibility on those powerful women that work hard to raise others up, so they are seen as inspirational and empowering. We need more women to stand out, stand up for what they believe in and talk about their success and dreams, so it becomes more commonplace.

We need to help young girls more. There’s a time when they hit puberty that their self-esteem can plummet. We can help the next generation by giving them the skills that will help them succeed and take more of those top positions.

In my own experience, I have observed that often women have to endure ridiculous or uncomfortable situations to achieve success that men don’t have to endure. Do you have a story like this from your own experience? Can you share it with us?

I’m attending a central office meeting with the big bosses and my peers. There’s probably around 40 people in the room. We break for lunch and are given a set time to be back. Although most of the attendees are men, there are a fair few women and so the queue in the loo after eating is long!

I’d not long given birth and was still breastfeeding, so I needed time to express milk. I spoke to my bosses PA and asked her to tell the boss I’d be late back to the meeting because of this, but to please continue without me, as I didn’t know how long I’d be.

You’re always conscious when you’ve gone back to work after having a baby. You’re dealing with a complete change of role perception — one minute you’re a super confident ambitious woman, the next a mother. You’ve painful bulging breasts, leaking milk and the difficulty in expressing it whilst working away.

So, imagine my utter embarrassment when I walked back into that meeting room. There was a deathly silence. Everyone just sitting there, staring at me as I waltzed in, freezer bag in hand. The boss had decided to make an example of me for being late back.

I’m a stickler for rules. I’m responsible and hard working. I’d only actually taken off 2 full weeks of maternity leave. I had a baby that didn’t sleep, and I was hours away from home. I didn’t need that, and they didn’t need to do it.

There was no flexibility. No accommodation. No understanding and no care.

To me, it just demonstrated the threat that a woman brings into the corporate workplace. When I had my child, I wanted it all and I guess to some extent it seemed as though I had it all. I demonstrated I could balance motherhood, family life, hold down a big important job — and breast feed!

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women leaders that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think one of the major challenges women face in the workplace is one of flexibility. As many women still take on the role as the major care giver, rigid out of date policies covering maternity leave, annual leave, time off, working hours and so on, make a woman’s life much more challenging during those important early mothering years.

I also see that some women also still have to deal with sexism — whether that be by male counterparts addressing women in a disrespectful manner, or by being overlooked for promotion.

It can also be challenging for women just to be accepted for who they are and what they do. If they’re assertive, they are deemed a b****. If they are soft they are deemed to be weak. If they take time off to care for sick children, they are taunted as being “ a typical mother, puts the kids first…” — when a man does this, he is respected and admired for helping out in the home and caring for his kids!

As I said earlier, I believe that women also have to deal with all the conditioning that generally keeps them playing small. If we want to improve the ratio of women in top positions and lose the discomfort felt when a powerful woman enters the room, then we need to overcome this.

Let’s now shift our discussion to a slightly different direction. This is a question that nearly everyone with a job has to contend with. Was it difficult to fit your personal and family life into your business and career? For the benefit of our readers, can you articulate precisely what the struggle was?

I was really lucky when I had my son, because my husband was so supportive, and he wanted me to continue to progress my career.

I did only take 2 weeks maternity leave off — one of the reasons for this was I was part way through working on a high-level project at the time, which had taken me to Downing Street and the House of Lords to deliver a speech. I didn’t want to let go of the reigns — I’d won the contract and was determined to see it through…. I guess I was also wary of someone jumping into my shoes whilst I was absent… it happens!

The second reason I went back so quickly, was that I didn’t think I could afford to stay off. We had financial commitments, and even though I was in a senior position within a national company, the maternity policy was pretty poor.

The biggest problem for me was my own workaholic ethic. I was so excited and driven by my work I found it hard to stop. I guess part of the that problem was an overriding feeling that I had to constantly be achieving and proving myself.

What was a tipping point that helped you achieve a greater balance or greater equilibrium between your work life and personal life? What did you do to reach this equilibrium?

The tipping point came to me sadly only after suffering a very mini breakdown. I was totally drained. Worn out from working all hours. Pushing to get where I wanted to be and to create impact and make a difference. I suffered a failure. I’d never really failed at anything and so when it happened, I didn’t know how to cope. The embarrassment I felt led me to hide away, so I had no-one to help. It was only after this point that I could start to re-build my life and ensure there was balance. This has continued to be a priority for me.

I work in the beauty tech industry, so I am very interested to hear your philosophy or perspective about beauty. In your role as a powerful woman and leader, how much of an emphasis do you place on your appearance? Do you see beauty as something that is superficial, or is it something that has inherent value for a leader in a public context? Can you explain what you mean?

Now this is a really interesting question to me. One of my earlier businesses was in day pas. At the time I set them up I had no real interest in beauty, I was predominantly just concerned with wellness. But, well, my clients wanted the services, so I provided them.

I was always reasonably well presented. Wore a bit of make-up, dressed well. But it has only been in the last couple of years that I have really embraced beauty and appearance. I think it came because of feeling I had lost all sense of my identity. I felt the need to re-invent myself. I lost the massive 7 stone I’d piled on after my mini breakdown and developed a whole new style. Make-up, hair, nails — suddenly took on new meaning. Looking my best made me feel my best.

One of the things I noticed when I had my day spas is how guilty women feel when they’re pampering themselves. Men are much more likely to buy recommended products than women are. Women seem to need to justify the spend.

One of the things I’m passionate now in my Planet Peacock business is encouraging women to re-connect with their inner goddess and ooze fabulosity.

I don’t feel this is superficial in any sense at all. I think it is fundamental to present ourselves in whatever way feels most comfortable to us. I love looking good. I love looking like a woman and knowing I can get just as good results as any man.

I want to honor my femininity and encourage other women to do the same.

How is this similar or different for men?

I think men are expected to turn up to work dressed appropriately, but there is definitely less pressure on them women. There used to be a time when men in office roles were expected to show up in a pressed suit, but nowadays they are just as likely to show up in jeans and a cool sweater.

I think, form my day spa experience e, that men are more concerned now about looking after themselves. More men are buying skincare products and probably visit the hair salon a lot more often than us women — at least my men do!

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Powerful Woman?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

So based on my experience, it’s really difficult to narrow this down to just 5 things, but here you go…

I think the first thing a powerful woman needs is a long term vision for her life and business. In my early career I didn’t have one. I just took up opportunities as they came along. This meant that I perhaps stayed in some jobs longer than I should have and took a bit longer to get to where I am now. Without a vision you end up just working on your short-term goals — which means you’re basically staying within your comfort zone. You’re not breaking out which means you’re not living your full potential.

Following vision, you need purpose. Without purpose the work you do has little meaning and it becomes really hard to get stuff done — especially in challenging times. When I set up my consultancy business at first, I found myself carrying out tasks for clients just because I could do them, but over time I felt that my soul was dying. I had to take time to dig deep and work out what my purpose was, re-align my business and am now much more fulfilled and am passionate about how I help others get results.

However talented, skilled and ambitious you are, you will not get anywhere worthwhile without taking personal responsibility. That means accepting that the thoughts, beliefs and actions you dictate create the life you get to live. It’s your responsibility — no-one else’s. Not giving away your power and playing the victim or putting the blame for mistakes on other people. There’s been many times in my life where I’ve missed out on opportunities because I didn’t act fast enough. Each time that has happened I’ve accepted responsibility — even if it was an error caused by a 3rd party — because I can then do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If I don’t take responsibility and expect that other people will, I lose control.

To be a powerful woman takes real courage. You’ve got to be courageous to get out of your comfort zone. Chase your dreams even when others pour cold water on them. You need courage to stand up for what you believe and of course courage to stand out. When I made the decision to get more visible, I had many people poking fun at me for the images I put out there and how often, but I was absolutely determined to keep doing it, even though it upset me and made me question what I was doing, because it’s all part of what I feel my purpose is. Without courage I’d have backed down and this to me would mean failing part of my target market.

Finally, I think you need to care …. And by care, I mean care for yourself… As women we tend to put others first and care for them before ourselves. This means we can often be wrung out… exhausted. If we are going maintain being a powerful woman, then we need to take time out to re-energize. Give to ourselves before we give to others. We can’t give form an empty cup! I do this by practicing meditation, going for long invigorating walks in nature, taking time out to go away — spend time on my hobby — photography. I find time to pamper. I have a room where I can take myself off to read or listen to music. And, when the sun’s out, you’ll find me driving along the beautiful country lanes with the roof of my car down, enjoying the invigoration of the fresh air.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Without a doubt the one person I’d love to have a private breakfast or lunch with is Steven Bartlett. There’s just so much I’d love to chat with him about and try and understand just what it is about him that sets him so far apart from so many. I love that his advice is solid, sound. My silver bullet talk which the internet is littered with. And, I want to know what’s next for him and what his long term vision for life is — plus how he can help in tackling the issues we’ve discussed here today…

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.



Ming S. Zhao
Authority Magazine

Co-founder and CEO of PROVEN Skincare. Ming is an entrepreneur, business strategist, investor and podcast host.