Inspirational Woman: Eloise Skinner | Founder, The Purpose Workshop & Founder, One Typical Day

Eloise SkinnerEloise Skinner is an author, social impact entrepreneur and teacher.  She is the founder of The Purpose Workshop, a social impact consultancy, and One Typical Day, an ed-tech start-up. 

Eloise’s second book, The Purpose Handbook, was published in October 2021.  You can find out more on Eloise’s website (here), or follow her on social media (here).

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Hi, I’m Eloise – I’m an author, teacher and social impact founder.  I started my career in corporate law, after studying Law at university.  But during the pandemic, I began a career transition (like so many of us!) and left my job to start my businesses.  I’m also a dancer and fitness instructor!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely, at the beginning. Law is a very traditional field, and I went in with (at least!) a five-year plan.  It seemed easy to predict how the job could progress over time.  But after a few years, I realised that my passions had evolved in different directions – I wanted to write books, teach more and explore social impact entrepreneurship.  At that point, I had to sit down and rewrite the plan!

Now that I’m a full-time founder, it’s more difficult to plan out my future career with precision.  I have a general idea about where I want things to go, but so many new opportunities have opened up – things I never would have anticipated.  So, I’m letting the process be a little more flexible, at least for a while.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely.  One of the biggest challenges was gathering the courage to leave my corporate role and try something new.  Stepping away from security (including financial security!) is intimidating, and doing it in the middle of a global pandemic certainly didn’t make it easier!  Ultimately, though, my fear of not making a change outweighed my fear of just going for it.  In other words, the risks of not following my passions seemed bigger than the risks of following them!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Starting my businesses has been a huge achievement for me.  Building a company is a deeply personal task – you really have an opportunity to figure out your individual values and then put those values out into the world through the business.  To be able to use my businesses for social impact is the most exciting aspect of my work, and feels like a real achievement – even at this early stage.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I have a really strong sense of purpose behind my work.  This is not something that came easily or naturally – it was a process of almost a decade of working through my own beliefs, principles and values.  But, after all those years, I’ve ended up with a strong foundation: I know what I want to achieve, I know what I find fulfilling, and I know what kind of impact I want to make.  Even on my most exhausted days (of which there are many!), this is the conviction that keeps me going.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Yes, absolutely – I think mentoring can be incredibly helpful.  I’ve mentored a number of young professionals, both during my time as a lawyer and as a founder.  And I’m now part of a mentoring scheme (as a mentee) run by EY for social impact entrepreneurs.  The mentoring I receive as part of that scheme is fantastic, and has really shaped my business for the better.

I learned early on that the benefits of mentoring really depend on the effort you’re willing to put in.  If you prepare fully for your mentoring session, show up with energy and ambition, and utilise everything your mentor is offering, you’ll have a rewarding experience.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I think change should start early.  I’d advocate for changes to the educational system – introducing children and young adults to crucial themes of gender equality, diversity and social equity at the earliest opportunities.  Research has demonstrated that gender socialisation starts earlier than we imagine, and the educational system has a chance to step in and shape the development of a fairer world.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Keep going! (And get some more sleep.)

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

It’s such a privilege to watch both of my businesses grow, and I’m so excited to see the social change we can contribute to.  And I’m excited to write more!  My third book, touching on topics of existentialism, meaning and purpose, is due out in 2022.  Ultimately, I’m hoping to use my platforms – whether my businesses, books, or anything else – to create enduring, sustainable social change.

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