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GUEST BLOG! Change the World with Jen Atkinson

We are thrilled to welcome our first guest blogger to fairandfunky. We asked: “What do you do to change the world and who inspires you to do so?” This is @Jen_Atkinson‘s answer:

Changing the world sounds like a grand ambition. But I do believe that if everyone takes action where they can, then together we can make a genuine difference. I am a huge believer in playing up to existing strengths and finding ways to work in partnership with others that have complementary skills and, critically, share the same values. Working this way, if done properly, can be a very powerful and effective way to deliver extensive and impressive results, and may even inspire others along the way.


While I strive to make differences in my personal life, I believe one of the ways that I’m helping to change the world is by working with the growing number of green and like-minded businesses in the UK. As we live in the real world, we can’t ignore the real and pressing need for future economic growth. So getting more businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities associated with climate change and help grow their business is critical. And there are plenty of businesses out there coming up with clever products and services to address both the impacts of climate change and also to reduce emissions that are contributing to the changing climate.


This is what I’m passionate about supporting.


Working with Nicola Alexander of Daisy Green Media and Events, we run large scale celebratory events for green firms, aptly called The Big Eco Show. (The next one’s on 18 April in Newcastle!). We also host regular networking sessions for green businesses in North East England that are informal and friendly without agendas, pitches, or presentations.


Through conversation, we discovered that the majority of these businesses are active on the social media platform Twitter, and were keen to continue and extend the networking beyond meetings located in North East England.


So, we decided to host a ‘ConnectFriday’ networking hour each Friday morning. This has opened up the opportunity to continue networking in between the physical ‘real-life’ meetings, increase the reach for green businesses to make contact and join forces on a national basis and beyond, and have a great way to share the information and advice relevant to business.


Our approach is based on taking the time to genuinely consult, listen and respond to the needs of business. After we established that there was a real desire to network online we took the time to establish that a ConnectFriday networking hour on a weekly basis each Friday at 10am would be timely and relevant.


The ‘ConnectFriday hour’ has proved exceptionally popular. The Twitter account currently has over 1,500 followers and it regularly trends, ranking as one of the most popular conversations taking place during that time on Twitter.


We continue to work hard consulting and taking the time to listen to business needs, seeking to adjust the format in response to the continuous feedback. I think this is why ConnectFriday networking, both offline and online, has worked so well.


Encouraging chat, sharing advice and information, and using our insight on who should be connecting to who helps smooth the path for them to go on to forge authentic links, identify strategic ways to collaborate and strengthen their shared sense of purpose – and, more importantly, help to change the world for the better.


Each and every one of them is inspiring. While I’m not particularly a fan of famous people (apart from Gandhi of course) and I wouldn’t want to name one single person for fear of embarrassing them (although it’s pretty hard not to be inspired by Nicola, who’s drive and like-minded passion is a constant inspiration to me) I can comfortably say that I take inspiration from every single business out there that I am fortunate enough to cross paths with.


They are all working so hard to make a living in such demanding economic times, while adopting a genuinely ethical and fair way of doing business, and addressing the genuine needs to cope with and reduce the impacts of our changing climate.


Connecting them to each other; well that’s just one small step to changing the world.


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