'From lawyer to trailblazing social entreprenuer'
Bridget Williams joined Purposely Podcast to share her inspirational founder story and how she plucked up the courage to leave her career as a lawyer to help solve the world’s biggest problems!
In 2019, ‘after two years of sitting on the idea and testing with friends’ Bridget launched social enterprise Bead & Proceed which exists to educate people about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims to inspire action towards them through creativity. Her passion for sustainability and using creativity as a tool for innovation drove her to launch the enterprise and she has gone on to become an SDGs expert.
More than 5,000 participants have attended her SDG workshops or purchased Bead & Proceed Kits.
You are clearly very creative person, how did you end up choosing a career as a lawyer?
‘I always wanted to be a lawyer, it felt like the natural thing to do and it appeared to align with my strengths. What this didn’t take into account is that I am a very creative person and I had always loved creativity, I'm talking about that raw type of creativity, like writing poetry, painting, making play and that sort of stuff. I didn't see any value in it at the time and nor did I see a career path for being creative so I went into law.’
What made you decide to start Bead and Proceed and leave your career as lawyer?
‘I was a lawyer for almost three years, but I realized that as time went on I was neglecting that natural strength of creativity. I remember having a particularly bad day in court and feeling like I just didn't belong in the legal environment so I decided to put all my negativity into something positive and I wanted to make a necklace. I made these five bead necklaces, I was painting them and getting lost in the flow of creativity and coming up with different ideas and philosophies. The very next day I was flipping through a magazine and I came across the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs and I saw the colours and that is what drew me in at first. I thought what is this framework? it's so beautiful… and then I realised each colour was tackling a global issue, like dark green was climate change, pink was reduced inequalities, orange was gender inequality. I thought wow, not only is this a really beautiful framework, but it's tackling the 17 biggest issues and that was effectively the start of Bead and Proceed’.
Tell me more about UN SDG’s?
‘So, the 17 SDGs were adopted in 2015 and therefore it's a global undertaking for the period of 15 years to achieve a more sustainable world. We have until 2030 to achieve them, so not long, and that’s why people doubt if we can achieve them and probably why they are known as moonshot goals. They're also known as the global goals or the people's goals, but I use is SDGs. They address 17 of the biggest issues in society and we're looking at things like no poverty, zero hunger, climate action, life below water and life on land.’
Why do rate them so highly?
‘What's beautiful about this framework is it looks at sustainability in all its forms, economic, social, and environmental, which means this framework is relevant to every industry. It also means this framework doesn't polarize people because for so long, we've been thinking that sustainability only connects to environmental issues. However, we now understand for sustainable development to really work, we must consider all three areas economic, social, and environmental together. What also makes this framework special is that all UN member states adopted the goals, 193 states. It's the largest framework globally for sustainable sustainability and that means it speaks an international language which we need more than ever especially considering the impact of COVID-19. We know the importance of solidarity coming together for a common goal and that's the beautiful thing about goals. Goals have a way of rallying people together for a collective mission even if that mission seems impossible. And that's why I say this framework being unique and special.’
As a social enterprise you play your part?
Yes absolutely, for every Bead and Proceed kit purchased another is donated to either a low decile school or a deserving community organisation to live and breathe the 2030 agenda, which is to leave no one behind.’