The Purposeful Path
Four years ago I started on a personal journey — to find and design work that had an impact, every single day. Though it felt like a pipedream at the time, it resulted in me creating a business called Hatched, which sets companies on their purposeful paths by building impact into their daily lives.
I get to work with some of the most inspiring and driven individuals who are willing to take risks and create new ways of doing things that have an impact. Such companies are showing us the way by solving social and environmental issues while doing business, and I find this hugely energising.
I hear daily stories of how these journeys started, and it always goes back to one thing: a person or a small number of people simply decided that something bothered them, and that they would do something about it.
These people have either followed their passion and ended up creating hugely successful companies — such as Aimee Marks at TOM Organic or Dennis Paphitis at Aesop — or, in the case of those we tend to hear about less, made change happen from within a company, making small transformations that ended up changing the entire business for good.
These stories constantly remind me that the ability to make change sits within each of us, no matter where we work or who we are. So I’m going to propose that there’s something bigger you can do to make an impact than choosing ethical, recycling, reusing, reducing, sharing, giving, donating, reducing your carbon miles. Yes, all these are essential to making your community and the world a better place. Please keep doing all, and more of them. However, where and how you choose to work is actually the greatest way to have an impact.
Whether you’re an accountant, lawyer, chef, cook, artist, mechanic or something else, there are so many ways you can make a huge difference through the work you do. You don’t need to leave your current job to make this happen — you can make it happen from within. In fact, creating change within your current work environment will more than likely have the greatest impact.
Take Ashleigh Wall’s story. Working in what was a fairly traditional law firm in Geelong, she took it upon herself to convince the partners who ran the firm to become a B Corp. She drove the process, transforming the business from one that was doing a bit of good to doing a lot of good. The firm embedded a system of work which formalises their commitment to the community, with a pro-bono program offering legal advice to disadvantaged people.
And then there’s Ranee, who runs cooking classes, market stalls and makes a small range of products through her Brisbane-based business Rani’s Cuisine. When hiring her first team member, Ranee employed a 62-year-old migrant woman from Tibet who speaks little English. As the business has grown, she’s formalised her commitment to hiring women with significant social and economic barriers, to help them live meaningful lives in a new country. Through making one small commitment, she’s not only changed the lives of her staff but has also improved her business through creating a passionate, capable and fiercely loyal team.
There are endless examples of people making change happen in their workplaces: mechanics hiring homeless people and setting them on a path to self-reliance; a financial services company achieving gender equality driven by their employees; a tampon company campaigning for no GST on tampons bringing equality to woman’s health — the list goes on.
It’s the people within these businesses who had a desire to do something different. It started small and gathered momentum. So I invite you to change the way you work: you never know what the ripple effect might be.