Her company employs more than 1,000 people and had a turnover of almost €27 million in 2017. As well as being CEO of CareMalta and a mother-of-two, Natalie Briffa Farrugia is training for a marathon. It’s like the 44 -year-old was sent to Earth to make the rest of us feel lazy. It’s no wonder she was crowned Malta Businesswoman of the Year 2018.
“I get up at 5am every day. I’m training for the Malta marathon right now so I’m trying to run 55km every week. I go running either before my daughters wake up or after I drop them off to school. I also try and squeeze in a couple of boxercise classes at my local gym twice a week.”
Natalie says that a mixture of discipline and meditation helps her to stay calm for the rest of the day: “I go to bed at 8pm so I can get up early. Sometimes I even wake up at 4am and do some meditation. I’m a very spiritual person and believe that this helps guide me in business as well.”
Natalie's career is remarkable. After working as a primary school teacher, she went on to become CEO of her family-owned business CareMalta, one of the country’s largest home service providers for the elderly.
"I don’t think Malta is adapting to the needs of working mothers and I would like to see more of a cultural shift. If you choose to work, you should not have to stop being a good mother."
She was seven-months pregnant with her first daughter – who’s now ten – when the position as CEO presented itself. While other women might have been winding down on work with a baby on the way, Natalie saw it as yet another opportunity.
“The previous CEO got offered a job abroad, so the position became available. It might not have seemed like the right time on paper, but I believe when an opportunity you are passionate about comes up, you should just take it. I wanted to progress in my career and try to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
A decade later and Natalie has grown a healthy business as well as two daughters. She said that winning the award has allowed her to reflect on her achievements and – never one to miss out on an opportunity – is trying to use it to make a change.
“When I got nominated last year, I was reluctant to accept it as I never think of myself as a businessperson, but then I thought about how it might be able to help other women who face challenges when it comes to being a working mother. When my daughters were babies, I would work when they were asleep and adjusted my life to them. I see maternity as a very natural thing and work should fit around it. I don’t think Malta is adapting to the needs of working mothers and I would like to see more of a cultural shift. If you choose to work, you should not have to stop being a good mother. But I have also learned that there are always sacrifices. Sometimes I don’t do the laundry on a Sunday because I need to spend time with my girls, or I’ve had to say no to a work event in the evening that I know I would have enjoyed. It’s about being flexible and embracing change. What might have worked today, may not work tomorrow.”
"I believe when an opportunity you are passionate about comes up, you should just take it."
Natalie says being given this award has allowed her, for the first time, to acknowledge her personal achievements.
“I never realised what I have been through as a woman and this award gave me time to reflect on that. I always considered myself part of a team – which I am – but it was nice to be able to focus on my own journey. I’d also never thought about the ongoing gender issues women in Malta might be facing every day, so I see this award as a way I can contribute to highlighting that.”
Natalie will run her third marathon on Sunday 24th February, and as has become tradition, her two daughters will run the last kilometre by her side.
Just another way Malta’s Businesswoman of the Year is setting an example to future generations of females.