After 5 years leading the Bristol Hub, Rhian Sherrington is stepping down as the Bristol WINS Hub lead and is handing over the reins to Traci Lewis, Director of Sustain Live Consulting and Catalyse Change CIC.
Traci agreed to be interviewed for the WINS blog and here are her thoughts below…
It’s been a source of much pleasure and joy to have been able to offer the unique space that is ‘Women in Sustainability’ in Bristol. With our network expanding rapidly however, combined with a personal move out of the city, it is now time to step back. I am absolutely delighted Traci has agreed to lead our Bristol Hub and can’t wait to see where she takes the Network next! Rhian Sherrington
1. As a change maker within your industry tell us a bit more about your background?
I have been working on sustainability change programmes since 1997, after discovering my passion for organic food, farming and sustainability during five years of travelling and working in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
I very happily discovered Bristol on my return, where I embarked on an 18 year career with the Soil Association. Working directly with farmers, food producers and communities around south west England, supporting the development and growth of local and organic food and farming.
I returned to Bristol, from Devon, in 2015 where I set up my own business Sustain-Live Consulting, a sustainability change agency, helping purpose-led businesses to thrive.
As well as this, my real passion now is inspiring & empowering girls and young women as changemakers, as co-founder & director of Catalyse Change CIC.
2. Why lead a WINS hub in Bristol ?
It is an absolute honour to be leading the WINS hub in Bristol. Bristol is buzzing with amazing women who are doing such fantastic work to promote positive social & environmental change and helping solve some of society’s biggest problems. So Bristol provides a rich source of inspiration and women, all with lots of fresh ideas and learning to share.
Rhian has already done such a great job of building a strong WINS Bristol hub. So, by working with them to see what they need, I look forward to growing WINS Bristol to the next stage. I am excited to see what new topics, partnerships and events emerge.
I am also delighted to be part of the now international WINS network and to meet all of the fantastic women leading change who are part of this.
3. What is the biggest challenge you see women in sustainability dealing with? What are your thoughts on the best solutions to this?
Well here are three which I see in women I know and which I can also certainly relate to!
- Avoiding Burnout – There is so much at stake and such momentum around sustainability right now, that it is easy to get overwhelmed with the scale and pace of change. So it is vital to practice self-care and look after ourselves. I had a big health scare earlier this year and was hospitalised, so it was a real wake-up call to focus on my health and wellbeing and to use my time and energy for the things I love.
- Keeping Focused – With so much going on it is easy to take on too much and get involved in too many projects and causes. So it is important to be clear on your own purpose and set achievable goals which align with that. I review mine each week to try and ensure that my diary and to-do list actually reflect this!
- Being Paid our Worth – When we are doing the work we love it is easy to take on low, or even unpaid work. However just because we feel passionately about the cause we should still be paid what we need and deserve. As a freelancer, this is an area I am still working on! So it is essential to be clear on your real costs and value, then have the confidence to negotiate based on that. It is fine to do pro-bono or voluntary work, however it should be part of the overall mix.
4. What keeps you motivated and positive when things get tough?
I do a morning routine, inspired by a book called Miracle Morning, which I find really beneficial. The routine incorporates 5 or 10 mins each of 6 powerful personal development practices, which include; meditation, affirmations, exercise and journaling. It is a great way to get your mind and body energised and helps me to be more productive, positive and resilient.
It is also really important for me to do regular exercise otherwise I start to get stressed. I do around four classes a week of yoga and body balance and cycling every day up my hill really helps too!
I also try to make at least half an hour a day to be in nature, under a tree or lying in the grass, to just be and breathe. Time off social media, especially at weekends, also helps me stay positive and calm.
5. Why should women working to create positive change attend the WINS hub in Bristol?
It’s such a supportive and friendly community! I have met lots of fantastic women at WINS events, many of whom I now class as friends. I have found that the connections I have made at WINS tend to go deeper than those at other networking events.
I started attending WINS when I moved back to Bristol in 2015, just when I started working for myself. So it really helped me to meet like-minded women and to explore, challenging, relevant topics with them. As it can be quite lonely and scary when you work for yourself so a supportive network is vital.
It can also be really good for growing productive partnerships and collaborations. For example the WINS has really helped us to grow Catalyse Change CIC, as lots of the women have now become mentors for the young women we support.
You can contact Traci on any of the links below.
Catalyse Change CIC @CatalyseCh www.catalysechange.com