Women in Sustainability: Sophie Segal

We caught up with Sophie Segal, Co-founder of Co-CREATE ImpACT, Social Impact Entrepreneur, Storyteller, and Engaging Trainer.


We asked Sophie to introduce herself to you all…

Curious by nature, I love the idea to rethink engagement for the good of tomorrow. I am passionate about inspiring change. I use value creation, innovation, creative thinking and play to shift mindsets. With my work at the intersection of corporate and impact entrepreneurship, I understand what it takes to be a force for change in business and in our personal lives.

I am the lead of the Reading UK branch of the Circular Economy Club and I also help and coach business leaders to identify new value creation from circular business models, articulate it in a meaningful and impactful way to all stakeholders and shape new customer experiences that resonate and convert.


1.    Tell us a little about what you do and how you came to be doing this work.

A few years ago, I came across the Circular Economy. It was pretty much a “love at first sight”
A few months later, I went to Uganda to run a Marathon and by pure chance, the circular economy concept was brought to life when I supported a local community project. I witnessed change. Positive change at an incredible speed, for the Planet (reducing plastic pollution), for People (local people were involved in the plastic waste collection process and rewarded for it and minorities employed to run the collection point) and for Prosperity (the plastic was then remanufactured into tiles to develop the country’s road infrastructures). It was simply mind blowing!
This was a point of true inspiration. I remember sitting with my husband after this experience, making a long list of all the things we wanted to change in our lives. Mostly from a consumption perspective at first. I also had a burning desire to pivot my career to one that was more purposeful, more impactful and more fulfilling. It’s amazing how a simple event can influence so much.
This is when I joined forced with Alice Richard. Together, we co-founded Co-CREATE ImpACT, an innovative sustainability training company. What drives me in life is to spark the unexpected so that people make positive and sustainable changes and at Co-CREATE ImpACT, we believe in the power of play and creative thinking as a transformative tool to engage people in sustainability.
Through this venture, we help companies to advance sustainability by creating and delivering engaging training that uses experiential learning, immersive experiences, fun play-based learning tools and impactful game workshops. We believe that by making sustainability accessible, engaging and fun, we can bring people together, shift mindsets and change behaviours. That is what we love and what we see happen over and over again. It is super exciting and fulfilling to “play” our little part towards creating a better future.


2.    What does it mean to truly ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to our mindset?

This is exactly the question… what does “think outside the box” mean. To put it back in context, we first need to think about what is our “box”. It is a combination of all our experiences, education, background… All in all, the box is good, it is what keeps us safe and helps us make decisions fast. The challenge comes in situations when we are under pressure and when we aren’t able to get the results we want. That is when we hear people telling us to “think outside the box”. No one really tells you to think out of the box at the beach.

So really thinking outside the box, starts by knowing what our “box” is, what’s holding us back, expanding our minds with new ideas, new perspectives, sharing with others and stepping outside our comfort zones. The beauty, is that this is an ever-evolving process.


3.    How can we shift our behaviours and make meaningful changes to our mindset to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle?

I really think that to make the shift happen, if we want to change our mindset to life a more sustainable life, just thinking outside the box is not enough. This is so much more than just implementing a new idea. We need somehow, to make space in our thinking for new strategies to succeed. We need to consciously create a better “box” for ourselves. What is fascinating is that, often, small imperfect changes can have such a big impact and they help gaining momentum.

We also tend to talk about ways to reduce our footprint, which is necessary but not always that inspiring when we have to stop or do less of the things we love. A way to shift our behaviours towards a more sustainable lifestyle is to think about what we call our handprint. All the new positive actions we can do to have a positive impact in the world. This is something I think we don’t talk about enough… because it is really powerful and inspiring to many.

All in all, it very much is a discovery journey and all about starting.


4.    What advice would you give to the Women in Sustainability community who are trying to become a force for change?

Inspire change with your own unique voice. I was not raised by eco-warrior parents, I have a pure commercial background and until fairly recently, sustainability meant the “green stuff” or CSR policies to me. At first, I didn’t really feel comfortable in pushing my messages, wondering, who I was to be a force for change. What I have realised is actually that “my” story, has a value because in fact there are many people, like I was before, who are ready to change or ready to be inspired to change. By voicing our stories and sharing experiences and points of view we can all support each other and create a better future for all. I now truly believe that. Our diversity is our biggest strength and something we should cherish. Our messages might not appeal to everyone and that’s ok! What is important is that someone out there is waiting to hear what they need to do next… from you.


5.    What is the question you wish people would ask you, and what would your answer be?

Hoo that is an amazing question in itself! I would say, “what should I focus on?” There are so many things we can do that picking one to get started or simply the next one to implement can be challenging at times.

My answer would be to start with what we are passionate about. Because when we are passionate, we will not postpone our action to tomorrow, we will not give up at the first challenge and along the way, our enthusiasm will be contagious and inspire others to follow us.

I also believe that to transform the world, we first need to start a journey of introspection and transform ourselves; it all starts with us. I would say, this is probably our biggest opportunity of the moment; slowing down to find our inner strengths and be a force for change.