Elly Both describes herself as a green geek. Starting a green committee at work sparked her desire to do more in the field of sustainability, so she quit her project management career to launch her own business, where she’s encouraging people to live a bright green life, at home and work. Her story reminds us that our interests can lead to new and exciting things.
How did your business come about?
I’ve had a passion for sustainability for many years now, but never really considered making the switch to work in this area. I was really settled in a corporate gig that I enjoyed. Returning from maternity leave with my second child, I could see such a need for greener work practices. Reducing the use of single-use plastic items for events and day-to-day, and the need for a recycling program to name a couple. I also wanted to change people’s thought processes around relying on single-use items, and to start a conversation about the importance of protecting the planet. I became really driven to make a difference in my workplace, and hoped that this would inspire people to take these learning home to their families and communities.
So I started up a green committee at work. We removed single-use plastic from the kitchen and all events, removed coffee pods from the kitchen and purchased reusable cutlery for use instead of disposable. We implemented a recycling program and created a campaign to educate employees about what is/isn’t recyclable, including a funny video. We also created a behaviour-change campaign including a monthly newsletter and sustainability focused events.
All of this really created a buzz in the office and got people talking. Over time, the culture in the office started to shift and became much more focused on sustainable work practices.
Once I saw these changes start to happen, something inside me clicked. I felt passionate and inspired in a way I hadn’t before. It made me realise I could make an impact using my corporate experience in the field I’m passionate about.
I also knew that I could make an even bigger difference by branching out and making this my day job. So I took a risk, and went for it! I quit my job and set up my own business.
It’s early days, but I’m loving what I’m doing and feeling really positive and driven to make a positive impact on the planet.
What is your why?
I am passionate about inspiring change. I want people to see how easy it is to live a low-waste lifestyle, and realise that they don’t have to sacrifice anything! Better for the planet, and better for us!
So my company offers support to businesses in implementing greener work practices. I’m also in the process of setting up an online store where people can buy plastic-free and sustainable items for their homes. The blog shares topical information and hopefully inspires people to live a greener life!
Tell us your background story …
The majority of my career was in the recruitment industry. I fell into it, as the common story goes. I had worked my way into a Project Management and Continuous Improvement role that really played to my strengths – being organised and making things simpler. I then decided to put these strengths to use to make a positive impact on the world.
What challenges have you overcome to reach this point in your life and biz?
The belief that I couldn’t do it. I had never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, or as creative in any way. But when you discover your Why, you get resourceful in ways you never realised you could, and the ideas just keep coming! And it’s so much fun.
What does being a Visible Woman mean to you?
Empowering women to be the best that they can be.