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Elizabeth Wells

Elizabeth Wells

Elizabeth is Head of Entrepreneurship at the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

  • Location: London, UK 

  • Title: Head of Entrepreneurship 

  • Organisation: Cherie Blair Foundation for Women 

  • Sector: NGO 

  • Degree: MA International Relations and Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, Scotland (Undergraduate degree) and a MSc Conflict Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science

How does your usual day look like?

My alarm goes off at 6:15am, but I usually stay in bed for 15 minutes reading the news. If I have time, I go for a quick run in my neighbourhood or do Pilates at home before getting ready for work. I’m currently working 2 days in the office and 3 days at home, so I find it easier to exercise on the days I’m working from home since I save time on my commute. By 8:30am I’m online and I always start my workday by checking if any urgent emails have come in overnight.

Typically, half of my day is filled with meetings – both internal and external. We partner with companies across the globe so sometimes I’ll have early morning meetings with Asia or later meetings with the US. The other half of my day is focused on designing new project concepts for corporate partners, working on internal projects for our new strategy and supporting my team. I also monitor LinkedIn for updates from groups such as Business Fights Poverty to learn about any new initiatives or investments corporates are making to respond to the socio-economic challenges in their communities where they work. Most days I’m able to log off by 5:45pm.

In the evening, I enjoy going for a walk in my neighbourhood (especially in the summer) or catching up with friends and family before getting into bed at 9:30pm.

What are the things you like the most about your job?

I love to learn about the direct impact my work has had on the lives of women and their families.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day?

Relationship building, project management and problem solving.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

When I was offered my first full-time job. I found it hard to break into the sector so I was thrilled to receive an offer from a company where I not only wanted to work, but also knew I would have lots of opportunity to learn and grow.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your job?

Public speaking. I used to find this somewhat daunting but I’m much more comfortable these days!

How did you get to become the Head of Entrepreneurship?

I’ve been working on projects that drive change in emerging economies my whole career. However, about 5 years ago, I realised I was particularly interested in the intersection of social impact, corporate responsibility, and tech, which led me to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. The Foundation uses digital training platforms to support women entrepreneurs to build business knowledge, skills, and confidence to strengthen their businesses – often with support from corporate partners.

What's the one piece of advice you have for anyone interested in following your footsteps?

Be persistent and continuously look for opportunities to learn and grow.

What's your number one productivity hack / when or how are you most effective?

I get most of the work that requires deep thinking done first thing in the morning when emails and messages on Teams tend to be quieter. If needed, I’ll start work a bit earlier to give myself more time.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

I strongly believe in empowering and supporting other women. Also, my high school motto was: Be who you are and be it well. This has resonated with me throughout my career as well as my personal life.

How do you spend your weekends or downtimes?

I love to garden, go for walks with my husband and meet up with friends and family.

How do you steal with stress and build resilience?

I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. When I am stressed though, I can better manage it when I have some quiet time (often on a run) to reflect on how I’m going to navigate and overcome it.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

I would have loved to be an architect or interior designer. I’m still fascinated by building designs and the functionality of a space today!

What's the last thing you learnt?

I’ve just visited Bath – where Jane Austen lived for part of her life. I learned that many of the story lines in Jane Austen’s work mirrored her real-life experiences or those of her extended family.

Who is a female professional that inspired you along your career journey?

I’ve had several inspiring female managers throughout my career – it’s hard to name just one. They’ve been sounding boards for my career as well as my personal and professional growth and have been supportive of my development. This has also motivated me to do the same for other women in my network.

If you could time-travel and meet any leader, who would it be?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton – late 1800s in the US.

[Note: Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American writer and activist who was a leader of the women's rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-19th century. She was the main force behind the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first convention to be called for the sole purpose of discussing women's rights.]

Where is your favourite place you’ve visited and why?

Vietnam. Not only is it a beautiful country, but it has an incredible culture, delicious food, and wonderful people.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Whistling.

  • Favourite restaurant: Any Mexican restaurant.

  • Favourite fashion brand: Albaray. [Note: a responsible fashion brand]

  • Favourite beauty product: Clinique Chubby Stick.

  • Favourite perfume: Jo Malone Poppy and Barley Cologne.

  • Book recommendation: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts link.

  • Next holiday destination: Chicago .

  • Your hobby: Gardening.

  • Who inspires you: Any women working in social impact .

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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