S2E25 - Ben Carter, New Business Development Manager at Minibems
Thalia Carr is a coach, trainer and facilitator helping sustainability professionals gain more confidence. Thalia work with individuals and teams from the Sustainability and the Purpose Driven Sector.
Thalia’s speciality is helping to relieve the stress and worry which comes from so many demands, by enabling sustainability professionals to work consistently and effectively to realise your potential to bring about significant change for yourself, your organisation, your community and the world.
- Are there more people who are suffering from climate anxiety or eco anxiety?
- Moving from the practical side of sustainability to being a coach and using her people skills.
- Thalia’s journey into sustainability and what drives Thalia to work with sustainability professionals
- “People would ask what is the return on investment if I installed this insulation or put a solar panel, and I would ask that if you put a new kitchen in your youse, what is the return on investment?”
- Helping people to realise that they are not just saving the world but also on a mission to save themselves as well
- Importance of listening when coaching
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Welcome back to the Green Element Podcast where we feature business leaders and innovators transforming their operations to be more environmentally and socially sustainable. I’m your host, Will Richardson. And I can’t wait to meet our guest today and help you on your journey of sustainability.
Thalia, thank you so much for joining us on the Green Element Podcast. I’m looking forward to finding out more and talking to you more about your, the way that you look, the way that you look at life, I guess, and how you talk to people and embrace sustainability and how you unlock their sustainability potential and how you move things along and you’re an enabler and you for all intensive purposes. So please do tell us a bit about that. who you are,
Oh, thank you. Well, I suppose it’s kind of easier to put it into what I do is really so you know, when you’ve got a team that they’re all really committed to kind of saving the world to cutting carbon to doing this really good work in sustainability. So they’re already committed, and they’re highly qualified, but actually, they’re not really working as a team. And if you were to ask them what their direction was, it might be all might be a bit slightly different. And there could be a bit of tension in the team and people might not be kind of really looking forward to going to work. So I just love that situation, because I can get in there and help people over a number of months to, to pull together and to be able to be their very best selves and to them to do that work of sustainability or, and protecting nature that they need to do so and to do it well. So I suppose and I do that with individuals as well. So maybe an individual’s really overwhelmed by the situation by eco anxiety by the amount of work, they’ve got all of those kind of things, and they’re feeling really stuck. And my desire then is to help them to get unstuck and to move on.
And do you find there is more and more climate anxiety or eco anxiety now than there was previously?
Well, it’s quite interesting, actually, because I think the eco anxiety that I’m coming across is amongst people who are not working in the sector. And I do work with some of them. And I find that more in my life, which is not my working life. What’s interesting is that within the sector, and it’s changed a little bit. So it used to be nobody listens to us. They just want greenwash. we’re plugging away. We’re trying and they’re saying we have to have retirement investment. Now, you’ve got a different kind of pressure, which is oh, you know, the management have realized that there is a climate emergency on and could you make a massive difference like yesterday? Could you do it now? So that’s my eco anxiety that’s is pressure of work. And that’s, you know, willingness to wanting to make a difference, but not having the time. So. So I suppose the answer’s no. And within the work that I do.
That’s interesting, isn’t it, you would have thought that the answer would be more yes now than it was before, not the other way around. I wonder why. I wonder why that is. Do you think that’s because we have more knowledge, and we know more about how to address the problems that we’re trying to face.
So I think a lot of people that I’m working with have been in this business for a while, and it’s been really, really tough, and nobody has really believed them. And so it been very lonely. And although it’s hard and those and they’ve been having that eco anxiety for some time, it’s been in the back of all of our minds for sometime, those of us who work in it. And so now to have people believing it, and understanding and having climate change not being a dirty word, I think that, you know, it aligns your values with other people’s and you feel less alone.
Hmm. Yeah, that makes sense. I’m trying to equate that to myself. And, yeah, I guess it’s also depends on who you surround yourself with, isn’t it? Because something I’ve definitely noticed is because of the type of organizations that we work with. They all tend to be quite environmentally driven. And people have always said, How do you not find it hard. I’m right now because everyone I mean, we’re talking 20 years now. And people are always being and I can name you know, Grant Thornton, for example, from day one, however, many years ago, 10 years ago must have been very much like are we really need to do something about sustainability. And I guess, and it’s actually that Facebook bubble that people talk about, you surround yourself with people. And you think the whole world thinks the same way as you. And it’s actually very hard to penetrate that bubble and get out. When you talk to people, do you that the sort of people that you talk to do you? Do you talk to people that have very kind of like, don’t care about climate change, and they’ve brought in to talk to you because of the companies they work with and their boss or their peers have gone actually, we’re going to be changing the way that we think I mean, do you come across that much or
That’s not normally the area where I work, I suppose the people who. So it’s happening a little bit. So there are some initiatives within Oxford where there are some people who have kind of woken up to the fact of climate change, and they’re wanting to get things moving. And I have been doing a little bit of work on that. And, and I think what I find their most is this feeling of powerlessness. It’s so big, and how could we really make a difference? And my business requires me to fly every other week anyway. So, you know, what’s the point? And yeah, so, but that’s those aren’t really the people I’m working with. That’s more from my lives, I suppose. Yeah.
Um, what would you say your business superpower was?
So I noticed that you’d asked some people that before, so I had a little bit of think about it. And, and I was talking with a friend and she said, Oh, I know, I know, you know, a way I would look at it. So here’s my way of looking at it. So, you know, those people who navigate the world on their own in the same boat, and, and really they have to have all the resources themselves, they have to have had all the experience all the training, they’ve got have all the stuff on board, and then they’re in a really rough sea and something goes wrong. And you know, the, the mast is broken or whatever, and they are completely kind of on their own. And what they’d really love is kind of a whole team to come in and sort it out for them maybe or you know, mom to be there or something, you know, they want, they just want some help. And it’s life threatening. And I suppose my superpower is that I could maybe parachute into that situation. But what I’d be doing that would be I wouldn’t be an expert. So that person is still the expert. But what I’m able to do is to help that person to think again because what’s happened if you’ve got into that situation is you’re just panicking. So that might be that they would remember that they packed something that would be really helpful in this situation or it might be that they look at the navigation and realize there’s a port just around the corner or it might just be that they calm down enough to be able to think through the decision for themselves and work out what they have to do. And so I suppose superpower Hmm, maybe that’s I enable you to do your best thinking or something like that. I like to think so. Yeah.
Wow. You clearly doing it because you’re earning a living from it and so therefore, it makes sense to think you know. So the one leads on to the other.
When I started, I used to work in sustainability more in a practical side of sustainability at night. And I used to think, when I first started out, I thought, hmm, am I really going to have the impact that I want to have? Because that’s what I want to do. I want to do as much as I can to save us all from extinction, you know, my own little way? And should I really be doing what I was doing before and working with businesses to help them to become greener and do you know, installation and look at renewable energy and getting that rolled out? And then I realized that actually, you have to let where your skills are, and my skills are with people. And, and if people are not their best, you know, they’re not making the best decisions, then they’re not going to be as effective as they can be. What got you
What got you into this? And what’s what’s been your journey of getting into sustainability?
Into sustainability? Whoa. I think it was always something that concerned me. And when I had the opportunity to get into it, I jumped at it really. And I, I worked for a local council for 10 years, working on the communications and trying to get people to change their behavior was always people, for me, trying to get people to change their behavior. And I think people weren’t surprised when I went into it. They they knew me that I always would cycle instead of using any other form of transport. Hmm.
And how long have you been working in sustainability?
That went up. I think I started in 2007.
So yeah, a while.
Have you found that. Looking back on how people have been and climate change and the way that people are addressing climate change. Have you seen a difference of opinion over the over that time?
A massive, massive change. I remember being so excited and going into work having bought the independent, because they’ve actually mentioned climate change. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s in the news, people believe it. You know, it was that was the stage we were at. I mean, the one of the very first things I did was to, there was a game that had been produced that was to help people to think about and believe in really climate change. It was a belief thing. And I think we’re beyond that now.
Yeah, one would hope. Although it’s mostly I think that it’s actually not some people. But yeah, there is a massive there’s a massive difference, isn’t there? And the whole greenwashing thing as well, and that people are start people now realize. Actually, I really can make a better business by being more sustainable and sustainability means everything. It doesn’t just make environment, it means sustainability as a whole. It means keeping clients keeping staff keeping profit margins, higher, anything, you know, sustainability actually has so many more factions or, you know, parts of it, as well.
Yeah, and I think I think what we’ve got to do is get beyond the idea of cost in terms of money and get to real cost and real benefits. And, you know, I used to give the example when I was working for the council, you know, people would say, well, what’s the return on investment if I, you know, put this insulation in or put a solar panel on my if, and I would say well, okay, so you if you put a new kitchen in your house is return on investment.
just it just wants a new kitchen, don’t you it works better for you. You like it, it fits with your values, that means that you can have everybody in the kitchen. You know, you can cook what you want. I mean, it’s, it’s so much more than just just how much money will the solar panel make me or how quickly will I get my money back? And yes, sustainability covers everything. So, you know, people say, Well, I’m not sure we can afford for you to come in and work with with our senior manager. But you know, can they afford for the senior manager to have a couple of months of sick, you know, because they’ve just got overwhelmed and they’re not able to function well anymore. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. And how would you how do you? Are there any top tips on the way that you engage people? And how you, you know how you communicate with customers or with clients on your mission and purpose and what it is you do?
So it’s interesting is that because my personal mission and purpose? So I’ve got there’s two strands, there’s two very clear strands. One is, let’s see what we can do about climate change and the natural environment. That’s my one thing. And my other big thing is how are we with each other during that, you know, how well connected how supportive how, you know, how caring how, how well are we and I think a lot of my clients are absolutely on the mission of saving the world. Absolutely. And so what I’m having to do is to help them to realize that they’re going to be on the mission to save themselves as well. You know, that got to be, you know, you would not have a car and not give it an mot or go over, it’s, you know, you wouldn’t look, you’d look after you make sure that it is running well, but people will do their business focus on the outcomes, and forget that they need to take time to be with themselves and to be with their family and to laugh and to get some exercise and eat well and that kind of thing. So I guess I spend quite a bit of time just calming people down in this space. You know, sometimes I get to the end of a coaching conversation. So someone says, Oh, it’s been so good to just have some space to think. And little voice amazing. Yeah, you could have done that on your own. But actually, actually, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to do that.
But I think that’s I think, I thought I do think that with, you know, what we what we do? I find that when we talk to clients, and when we when we try and reduce the impact, many of the ways of reducing that impact comes from the client. They already know what they need to do. And I feel like a bit of a fraud sometimes, because I’m kinda like, we’ve kind of not really done what I thought we were going to do. all we’ve done is address the problem you’ve got and repackage it in a way that then you’ll listen to us and it is slightly fraudulent in some respects, because I think that is kind of wrong. Because actually, why have they paid for Green Element? But you’ve you’ve said that it happens in your life. work as well.
But what it does is it gives you the opportunity it gives people that ability to change their thinking. And unless unless you’re there, you’re the catalyst. So you’re helping them you’re giving them the opportunity to think about it to change to recognize what they already knew. And that is absolutely vital. Yeah.
And I think both of us do that in our work we kind of help people to tap into what they already know but but that’s not fraudulent because how would they tap in otherwise? What would what would trigger that?
Yeah, yeah, I guess I guess sir. Thank you.
Um, you we know each other through the BCorp circles.
The other like say the BCorp retreat. Their conferences sounds less sounds less iffy. Clearly, it’s such a driver for you and the way that you. Yeah, you are as a human being in everything because you, you know, you live and breathe what it is that you do. I mean, have you thought about why that is and reflected on what makes what makes that happen and what, what makes that tick?
Deep questions Will? Um. Actually, it’s interesting because I was thinking about this the other day, and so I’ve had a Christian faith since I was quite, you know, in my teens, and it’s not so much. So it this fits very well obviously with my values of caring for people of loving people of caring about the world, all of that. But I think even more than that, it’s from that time onwards being really clear that, you know, you’ve got to be true to what you believe in your values, and you’ve got to live them and there’s no kind of halfway mark, I think, and I think as teenagers, we’re often very black and white. And I’m definitely not black and white now, but I think I’ve, I’ve kind of got some kind of committed something in me some kind of, right. If that’s what you think then you’ve got to live it out. You know, I don’t know. It’s my character.
When working with people do you find there is a personality trait that you can see common amongst the people that you work with because of what you do? Or is it very, very different types of people.
I think the people who are attracted to me for whatever reason, and are people who are often at a point of change. So there and they’ve just been promoted and they’re overwhelmed. They’re just thinking about whether they should stay where they are. And they don’t know how to make that decision. And they are actually quite senior, and they can’t admit to anybody that they’re feeling a lack of confidence. So it’s that kind of I don’t know it always seem like it’s a crossroads for whoever I work with that, how could they all be at crossroads? I’m not quite sure.
We were all so similar. Oh, my, I think we all like to think we’re individuals, but actually we all think so similarly, and that’s something I’ve definitely learns in life is, I’d love to think I’m unique. And I’ve come up with a unique idea. But sure is how there are many people that have come up with exactly the same idea as me because there comes to the same conclusions.
I don’t know I want to challenge that because I’m coaching. I had to learn to listen to people and to see what it is that they come up with. And to not suggest things. And very often, I’m, I’m anticipating, I think, oh, they’re going this way, this is what they go. This is what the problem is. And they completely surprised me by saying this completely in the other direction. And it shows not video because I’m pointing my fingers here. But yeah, I think I think I’m often surprised by the different things that I’m underlying people’s what what holds people back?
Okay. Interesting. From experience, is there a piece of advice that you could give people to take away from this podcast?
Yeah. So I think if I take you back to the person in the boat in the middle of the sea, which is often where we are. And I can’t always parachute in. Although I could if you want me to, I think. Pause. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause and there’s lots of ways people talk about that. They talked about mindfulness They took by stopping the talk about going for a walk. But if you the next time you’re thinking, This is too much pause, you know, do that stop, look, listen, you know, stop. Look and see what is out there Look who might be able to help you. Listen to walk, what you might have inside and you’ll find that you’re stronger than you, you realized.
Draw from within really isn’t I think so.
And look out and see what’s out there to help you.
And you do practice what you preach Tony from a sustainability point of view. And you there any kind of hyper highlights of what it is that you do as a practitioner within sustainability.
I suppose I’m lucky. I live in Oxford. So I live in the city. I’ve got beautiful public transport which can take me, you know, I can get on a train just 10 minutes up the road. And I can cycle everywhere within Oxford. So that’s my transport sorted. I can either work from home or I can work from a cafe. And so I can keep that, you know, my, my heating bills down. And I just really lucky really and I’m not selling a product, so I don’t have to transport that anywhere or import it. And, and I can choose where I work so I wouldn’t work actually somewhere which I had to get in a car to go on and on long distance to. So
So when you when you talk to people do you do do your meetings over Facebook or this zoom?
Yeah. I do seem a lot and I yeah, and I am I try with two people, two people working in the working offices.
In Oxford area. Oxford and down the Thames Valley
What is the best way for us to understand more about who you are, where you are? And just a bit about a bit about you?
Yeah, so if you want to get in touch with me, I’ve got a website, which is my name, which is tricky to spell, but it’s th a la. So TaliaCarr.co.uk and go there. I’ve also got a little thing because I thought people might be intrigued by the inner wisdom idea, I’ve got something that you can, you can get if you go on there, which is at that address, again, ThaliaCarr.co.uk/innerwisdom. And that might just help you to go into that a little bit more. And yeah, or find me on LinkedIn.
Brilliant, and also you put on I know, we were interviewing fairly recently and I, your name came up in the interview as someone that they, you know, really and it was a junior role, but you know, and they basically said, I’ve been to been to women in sustainability meetings and that was their experience because and their started their career. Is that Thalia Carr, and how do you know? As you get older you realize that many people know each other. You know you that was someone who had been to many of your meetings and so.
Yeah, so I run the Women’s Hub for Women In Sustainability, which is a lovely way for women who are working in the sector to meet up with each other, give each other better support, learn some new things. And I really enjoy those meetings. And interestingly, you mentioned in Grant Thornton, they actually hosted our last meeting. So yeah, within the powwow area that they got them, yeah, yeah.
Well such good company. Anyway, brilliant. Well, thank you so much for being on today. Thank you. And, yeah, we will post all the links and find you on the website.
It’s been really lovely to come. And I haven’t felt like I’m on a podcast at all. And it’s just been a lovely time to have a chat with you. Will, so thank you.
I think what you do is so integral for people, I think that I know that when we talked about this podcast and talked about what it is that you do, I think that is so important. That possibly may not be the person listening, because if you’re listening to this, then you already understand sustainability, but you probably know someone, or no, yeah, you know, someone that can is affected or needs, just needs to talk to you and, and I think what you do is absolutely integral and I think that it’s, I actually think it’s really important, and you use the word enabler. And I think that’s such a just such a powerful word in this situation because we all need to work together with sustainability. And we all need to come together in one shape or form and what you’re doing is such an important part of that whole picture.
Thank you. Well, yeah, I hope so.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you so much for listening to the end of this episode of the green element podcast. Do take a moment and share this with your friends and colleagues rate and review the podcast wherever you get your podcast. I’d love to know what has been your biggest takeaway from this conversation? What are you going to do differently? Please share your thoughts across social media and tag us so we can see them too at GE underscore podcast. For links and show notes for this episode, visit our website green element.co.uk forward slash podcast. Thank you again. I hope you’ll join me on the next episode and together we can help create a better world.
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