We’re passionate about the world of work, and how we can make it better. To help satisfy our curiosity, we’ve launched an interview series where we pick the brains of experienced leaders, business owners, managers, and individual contributors to get their thoughts on how we can collectively build better workplaces.
We’d love to get to know you a bit better, tell us a bit about your backstory.
My life has been a dance between the world of social impact and business. A few stops along the way include: being a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, working in Marketing Consulting, and advising Chief Sustainability Officers and Marketing Execs how to maximize the ROI of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) budgets. At that time, over the holiday season, our office was riddled with corporate gifts, from popcorn, to cookies to fruits. It dawned on me that gifts were a powerful tool that companies were using to strengthen their most important relationships. But those gifts lacked any social impact, which companies were equally committed to.
That’s when I had the idea to start Packed with Purpose, a better gifting company. One that embeds social impact into the daily act of gift-giving.
If we were to ask a friend to describe your personality to us, what would they say?
Energetic and very positive!
Thinking back to your career journey, what’s an interesting story that stands out?
While I was getting my MBA and Masters in International Studies I traveled to Easter Island to conduct research on women entrepreneurs and specifically met with a woman who created a series of comic books as an effort to preserve her country’s indigineous language and culture.
It was a learning experience on many levels but one of the key things she shared was: You constantly have to be refining your offering to ensure it is what your target customer or buyer is interested in and that if you are determined you will never fail.
What’s the most impactful lesson you've learned over your career thus far?
You can never ask for too much help.
There are so many opportunities to learn from people who have done this before (whether it's being an entrepreneur or growing a business or cultivating a team). The faster I am at speeding up my learning the better I’ll be at continuing to grow the business and the impact that we create.
Thanks for giving us some insight into who you are! Let’s jump into things. When you hear the phrase “build a better world of work”, what comes to mind?
The need to create a better team—one that is fully excited, mission-aligned and has the core values of the business while at the same time is motivated by the actual work that they have to do.
For us, building a better world of work is ensuring that we are always connected to doing good in our day jobs because it motivates and drives our purpose.
But it is also building a better internal culture that is motivated, engaged and appreciative of their colleagues and what we do together. Yes, our work has a social impact, but it must start with the people.
For you, what’s the main blocker you see as standing in the way of building a better world of work?
The main blocker is probably “change”.
Change is hard for everyone and however that manifests (whether it be a new manager, a new product or service or a new system) I am always making sure that my leadership team and I are communicating that change and the rationale behind it.
It is the biggest challenge, but it is also the biggest opportunity for us to succeed.
What’s one thing within our control that we can practically do to build a better world of work today? And, how do you recommend going about it?
Embedding appreciation easily into the work day. How Packed with Purpose does this is with our shout outs.
It’s every day and it’s part of the culture to shout out to a colleague on slack, in a meeting or even on LinkedIn. It’s a small gesture that makes someone feel good about their contribution and there is very little barrier for anyone to participate.
The key is to make it easy, accessible and commonplace to share appreciation, whether with a shout out like us, sending a gift (we like this one!), a personal note, or using something more codified like an employee award.
Can you share one thing you’ve experienced, seen, or read about that is leading us towards a better world of work?
I think the experience of Covid has allowed the working world to accept that we are all humans.
Just because there are bumps in your personal life (be it childcare challenges, caring for elderly parents, unexpected illness), it doesn’t mean that you are “less than” when it comes to your commitment and what you do for your team and the company you work for.
I’m curious, thinking about building a better world of work, is there a company and/or leader who stands out to you as someone we should follow? If so, what are they up to?
Co-Founder, Anouck Gotlib, from Belgian Boys, one of our Packed with Purpose Impact Partners, our 140+ purpose-driven product suppliers. She spoke to our full team recently during an Impact Partner Spotlight Meeting about the origin of the business and their mission, as well as how she embeds this mission into the culture of her workplace.
She is so bold about bringing happiness, joy and fun to her brand and her workplace. She’s ambitious but she can translate that ambition into passion to motivate her team and a clear direction for what they can all achieve together.
She spoke about the joys of the journey toward success. For her, work is a part of life, a big part of life, and it is up to us (colleagues, leaders) to make it part of a happy part of life.
It’s leading with compassion and understanding to support her team to be fulfilled in what they do with work, life and work-life integration.
I recognized my own values and a lot of what I have been trying to cultivate as well.
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