I’m a social entrepreneur, business coach and trainer who has been supporting social and environmental businesses for the past 20 years.
I live in the beautiful city of Bristol, in south west England, with my teenage daughter Kira. I am also often found on the south west beaches and moors, where I love wild swimming and camping.
My Sustainability Journey
My journey in sustainability started back in 1991 when I went on a 5 year ‘gap year’ adventure, travelling and working, in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was there I realised just how amazing our beautiful planet is. While also witnessing first-hand the large-scale destruction taking place from; deforestation, pollution and soil acidification from intensive farming.
I was drawn to sustainable food and farming as a solution to help solve some of these seemingly hopeless problems. I got involved in the environmental movement, worked on organic farms and studied Permaculture Design with founder Bill Mollison.
On my return in 1997 I happily discovered Bristol and asked the Soil Association organic food and farming charity for a job. I worked my way up from administrator to Business Development Manager in their fast growing organic certification business. I am proud of my role helping it grow from a small organisation – I was the 5th staff member – to the market leading social business it is today.
However when I had my daughter it felt like a good time to get out of the city and in 2005 we moved to Cornwall where I become manager of Organic South West, an EU development programme, working with farmers, businesses and communities to grow organic food production and markets.
Following this I helped manage a national Lottery-funded programme supporting over 1,000 new community food enterprises. I also led an innovative food programme in Plymouth, bringing together people from across the city, to create a food vision and action plan, helping them become the first UK city to achieve the Sustainable Food Cities bronze award.
Setting up my own business
I eventually moved back to Bristol in 2014 for Kira to start secondary school. I got made redundant at that time and decided to start my own business Sustain-Live Consulting Ltd, a sustainability change agency, helping purpose-led businesses to thrive.
Through that I am honoured to have worked with lots of brilliant social and enviromental businesses including; Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Centre for Thriving Places, Quartet Foundation & The School for Social Entrepreneurs (Dartington). I also gained an IML Social Enterprise Consultant certificate with Baker Brown Associates at Triodos Bank.
Empowering girls & women
In 2016 I co-founded social enterprise Catalyse Change CIC, to inspire, empower and skill girls and young women as sustainability leaders and changemakers. Inspired by a calling to do something about the growing gender inequalities in the UK and beyond, while also providing solutions to our growing planetary climate emergency.
I am so proud of our learning and mentoring programmes which have now supported over 500 young women. We have big ambitions to support many more as confident change makers, while also helping them achieve meaningful careers in sustainability. Let me know if you’d like to join us.
I also lead the Women In Sustainability (WINS) Bristol hub, a strong, supportive network of professional women passionate about creating change and building a positive future.
You may want to join our WINS freelancer & entrepreneur group, to help purpose-led women grow their business and network.
As I now want to help other women work for themselves. To grow the confidence, courage and skills to create & lead successful social businesses.