Jenny Foster: Women in Sustainability
Jenny Foster has recently taken on a new role as Project Lead for the Global Goals Centre, a project designed to educate people about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
We love her commitment to sustainable development and passion for helping others access the information in a meaningful way! Watch this space for exciting news about the Global Goals Centre…
Jenny was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about her career and how she got to where she is now, have a read!
1. As a changemaker within your industry, tell us a bit more about your background?
I’ve had an unusual career path! I qualified as a social worker and worked in Housing and Community Care for 10 years in London. When my children were young I set up a child-friendly Fairtrade cafe on Gloucester Rd – the first one with a child’s play area. Through that, I got involved with Bristol Fairtrade and then, when my leased building was sold, I became Fairtrade Co-ordinator for Bristol and the South West for 10 years. I then worked as Regional Manager with the Leprosy Mission for 2 years before starting as Project Lead for this new project – the Global Goals Centre – in October. The idea was first conceived in 2016, so it’s amazing to be finally making it happen!
2. What are the challenges you’ve faced when turning your idea into a business?
Obviously funding! We were lucky enough to have support from a local Trust who really believed in the concept, and now we need to engage many more partners to collaborate to make it happen. Another challenge was giving up a steady salary with benefits to being self-employed. It’s a leap of faith, but one which I’m really glad I took.
3. What are the important characteristics for someone to have who wants to start their own business?
To be passionate about their business, and being effective in communicating that to others. Self-determination and motivation – there can be some very long days on your own! The desire to collaborate and network – you can achieve so much more. Patience – it’s easy to want to run before you can walk, but waiting for the right timing to start and to develop each part of the business is important (I say this because this is something I’m bad at – I always want to dash ahead on everything!)
4. What keeps you motivated and positive when things get tough?
Reminding myself of the potential impacts of the project. Linking in with similar-minded people – through meetings, networks and social media. Stopping what I’m doing and praying for a few mins – or taking a series of deep breaths or a head-clearing walk if faith isn’t your thing! Fairtrade coffee and chocolate!
5. What advice would you give women who want to start their own business?
Talk to other women (and men!) and check out your idea with them to see if they ‘get it’ and can help you develop the idea and business model. Ask for help from others – none of us can do everything well, and it’s great to bring others into your business.
Make sure the business won’t compromise any of your core values and priorities in life – including family time and security.
6. Who inspires you and why?
Amazing women like Michelle Obama and Emma Watson – using their celebrity to inspire others to make the world a better place. The Pope – I’m not a Catholic, but the man has challenged so much traditional thinking and exudes love for all people and our planet. Ditto Desmond Tutu – and he has the best laugh! My Dad who finally went to University aged 70 and got an English degree, and still plays table tennis every week aged 91!