Inspirational Woman: Tiffany Kelly | Founder, Beyond Bamboo

Tiffany KellyTiffany Kelly is founder of Beyond Bamboo, a global community of sustainable products, services and suppliers working as a collective to restore and rejuvenate the planet. 

With a marketplace, a B2B supplier portal, a knowledge hub and a team of passionate people dedicated to triple bottom line reporting, Beyond Bamboo aims to help us all do well by doing good.

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

My name is Tiffany Kelly, I am an author and a serial entrepreneur. I have spent my life creating and working on projects that are focused on making a difference in the world, both by unlocking potential in people and helping us to move to a more feminine and symbiotic way of living in the world.

I have 20 years of experience working in learning and development – delivering personal and organisational empowerment programmes in over 35 countries. I also have expertise in helping leaders and organisations to go beyond sustainability to restore and rejuvenate our eco-system.

I am currently Co-Founder of RoundTable Global, an award-winning training company, Co-Founder of Phoenix Rising Global – an online community for change-makers and influencers and Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Bamboo Global – an online community and marketplace for people and businesses to purchase ethical and sustainable products. 

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I wish that I could say I did, as when you look at my organisations on paper it looks like there was a strategic intention, as they all beautiful support each other at the same time as delivering change in the areas I am most passionate about. Actually, what happened is that I identified the things I felt really strongly about and set an intention to focus my energy there. Namely, our Three Global Goals of Educational Innovation (mindset change), Empowering Everyone (creating a community) and Environmental Rejuvenation (protecting our habitat).

I couldn’t find any organisations out there doing exactly what I wanted to do in the way I wanted to do it, so I decided to start my own. For each company, I started with only an idea, knowing that it was needed and complete belief in my ability to make it happen. I think that because of this and the intention towards making a difference, the ideas captured the imagination of people who met me and the team and suddenly we have three businesses that have created a truly global network.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely! One of the main things has been trying to create a new paradigm and culture of doing business that is more feminine in its approach and by that I don’t mean female. I mean more empowering, nurturing and collaborative. Focusing on people and planet as well as profit which means being more caring and empathetic. This has meant we have built a really wonderful community supporting the businesses but the challenge for me has been to then be able to step into my masculine role and make difficult decisions that affect the team in some way.

I have learned the hard way at times that it is all about balance and I feel like I am now finally evolving into a truly balanced leader that has the best interest of the business and our vision at the heart of my decisions but, at the same time, is able to empower my team to help me deliver it.

I am always asked if I have faced challenges as a female leader and my honest answer is that I haven’t – I have been mentored and championed by truly amazing people of both genders and I have always felt that they have seen me as an authentic, capable person who is determined and tenacious.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

That is such an interesting question for me because I truly feel that every single thing I have set out to do and achieved has been my biggest and then there is the next one and so on. If I had to pick something, it would be not believing all the rhetoric out there about starting your own business. I was told things like it will be really hard, you’ll fail loads before you succeed, don’t expect to make any profits until year three, you’ll have to do more because you are a woman. I have not experienced any of that and my first business RoundTable made money in the first month.

I am also incredibly proud of what we have created with Beyond Bamboo and that we have so many fantastic sellers and suppliers joining our movement and marketplace and of course receiving investment that will allow us to scale what I think is a fantastic alternative for conscious consumers globally.

I want to make it really easy for people to make conscious decisions in every area of their lives.

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

My belief in myself and that my ideas are worth something. Also, that it can take one person to be a catalyst for making change happen and why not believe that it could be me? I have also been really open to feedback and learning from everything I create so that I can evolve and change and not had an ego about things belonging to me. I love it when someone takes one of my ideas and makes it even better. My sister Tanith did this with the Global Youth Awards which I created in 2012.

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

Because of the empowerment and leadership programmes I deliver, I have coached and mentored hundreds of people including youth all over the world. It is such an important part of paying it forwards. If you can help other people to fulfil their dreams you should – it is the most rewarding thing you can do. I have had many wonderful mentors in my life who have helped me to learn quickly and who have asked the challenging questions I needed to understand if I really believe in myself and if I was being true to my purpose.

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

I would change the narrative from one that is focused on female empowerment and women in leadership to global culture change towards organisations that embrace a balance of feminine and masculine leadership for all genders. We need to stop seeing this as a challenged and instead as an opportunity for us all to change. Men are suffering from gender inequality also in that the level of stress, anxiety and depression in men is increasing as they are expected to be strong, not show emotions or demonstrate any vulnerability in the workplace. Acceleration will happen when we work together to change mindsets and ultimately culture around this.

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

Your beliefs create your reality and everything and everyone is here to help you learn what you believe about yourself to be true.

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

That is such a huge question for me as there is so much going on but in terms of Beyond Bamboo the next challenge is securing our next round of investment so that we can start the journey of becoming a truly global brand. An organisation that inspires and creates conscious consumerism.

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