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Who am I? - my journey

 

I'm Elizabeth. I have experience in organisational leadership, community development, climate strategy, writing and coaching. I'm curious, creative and thoughtful. 

 

When I was little, my favourite question was, "why?". In some ways it's still my favourite question, but I've picked up some new language and insights to go with it. (I like what Anne Frank said about questions: "When I got older, I noticed that not all questions can be asked and that many whys can never be answered...the word ‘why’ not only taught me to ask, but also to think."). 

I'm passionate, empathetic, and I make connections between ideas, possibilities and people. I can spot patterns and can often hear what's not being said, or see what's not visible. I value integrity, kindness and curiosity. 

At school, I was good at science, and I could connect with people. Becoming a doctor seemed like an obvious choice. But one trip to Zambia and half a medical degree later, I realised there were other ways to holistically help, heal and restore not just people, but communities and the natural world too, and I wanted to explore these.

I switched paths and gained a degree in Biology, which has supported my love of the natural world. I then worked with charities and travelled, and did an MSc in International Development. My research thesis was on the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Northern Uganda. I continued working with mid-size organisations working internationally, which involved travel and included living in Zambia for a time, too. (Whilst in Zambia, I learned all sorts of things outside of my work like how to drive a tractor, and how to deter elephants from crops - which has been less useful in Devon, where I live now...). 

 

I worked with Resurgence Magazine (now Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine), and became Deputy Editor. I'm still an occasional Contributing Editor at the Ecologist, and I also write freelance articles and book reviews on themes that align with my work and thinking. 

 

I then worked with a small organisation that was establishing itself, and I developed it to become a registered charity, Arukah Network, and led it for a time after that. I still coach and mentor Arukah today. 

I did Association for Coaching-accredited coach training and loved it; it's a skill which I deeply value and feel the world needs more of. I've coached school pupils, managers, and organisations working for social impact. I'm now deepening my coaching skills by doing more advanced training with the Animas Centre for Coaching, and working towards International Coach Federation (ICF) Accreditation. 

 

I've spoken at events, hosted panel discussions, and facilitated organisation 'away days'. 

With a coaching friend, I've created and facilitated nature-based coaching workshops, and we've gone on to create a podcast that explores the power of the natural world to inform and inspire. 

In 2019 I was elected onto my District Council. When I found out, I spat tea over my laptop! I jumped in to the role - what a great opportunity to support and shape my local community. Soon after, I was asked to take on the new role of 'Cabinet Member for Climate Change', during which time I led the creation of a climate action plan, and worked to increase community engagement at the Council. 

I like to travel, meet people and hear their stories. I've travelled to Japan to document the impact of the 2011 tsunami one year on, and I've documented the impact of tourism on the Venda tribe of South Africa. 

The threads that tie my journey together are curiosity, community, creative thinking, ideas, a love of people and nature, and a desire to follow authentic and meaningful paths. I've found coaching and writing to be two ways through which I can live out my values and skills. 

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My qualifications & training

 

  • BSc in Biological Sciences (2:1)

  • MSc in International Development (distinction)

  • MOE-certified coach (training accredited by the Institute of Leadership Management and Association for Coaching)

  • Climate Change Coaches training circle (2020)

  • ICF-accredited Diploma in Transformational Coaching (current training)

  • ICF-recognised Certificate in Group Coaching & Facilitation 

  • I'm a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)

  • NCTJ Photojournalism accreditation

  • I'm an alumna of the Rural Writing Institute, taught by authors James Rebanks and Kathryn Aalto 

  • I'm training for my Hill & Moorland Leader qualification with Mountain Training (as well as outdoor first aid), so I can take individuals and groups hiking and coaching in the hills

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This writing I saw on a wall in Sierra Leone reminded me of something that the author Annie Dillard said, which encourages me to write and share and mentor:

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”