With our 3rd Women in Sustainability Professional Network coming to Oxford on 5th June, we thought it was high time we introduced you to the wonderful woman making that happen in the city.
Over to you Thalia!
1. As a changemaker within your industry, tell us a bit more about your background?
At the ripe age of 27 I carried out a visioning exercise and as a result knew I wanted to do 2 specific things in my life 1) work to alleviate the plight of refugees and 2) work to protect the environment. Since then I’ve had a lot of different jobs which included setting up a support service in Oxford for newly arrived young asylum seekers to help them access education, employment and training, and later working in Sustainability for a local council.
2. Why lead a WINS Hub in Oxford?
When I stopped working for the Council I didn’t lose my passion for all things environmental, but I changed my focus. I chose to use my coaching skills with people working in the Sustainability sector. As I started working in the sector in Oxford I asked people where they went for support, encouragement and inspiration and just to network. Mostly people were travelling up to London.
So when I discovered the WINS network in London I suggested we start a Hub in Oxford.
3. What is the biggest challenge you see ‘women in sustainability’ struggling with? What are your insights on the best solutions to this?
In some ways ‘women in sustainability’ are just like any other women. They struggle with confidence, work-life balance, people management, clarity of direction… I think more than anything though, I see women who have very high standards and strong values and feel they are failing because they don’t meet their own standards.
Whilst it’s good to aim high and be true to your values you need to add one more value, and that is to value yourself. If you want a horse to race fast or to perform well at dressage or even to pull a plough you look after the horse giving it food, water and time off.
If horses get that level of attention, you can surely treat yourself even better than that – take time to relax, to think, to enjoy your friends and family and then you will get even nearer to your goals; and, of course, come along to a WINS event for a reality check and to have some fun.
4. What keeps you motivated and positive when things get tough?
My coach helps me to get perspective and to recognise that things aren’t so bad and that I can find a way through.
My family and my allotment give me the space to relax and re-energise.
5. Why should women working to create positive change attend the WINS Network Hub in Oxford?
Because they will have meaningful conversations, make friends with like-minded women, explore issues they have in common and go home feeling energised and purposeful.