“When you’re born a bit different you don’t aspire to be like others”

Julia Groves, Downing LLP

 

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I get this itchy feeling when I see something that’s wrong, or unfair, or ugly when it should be beautiful. It gives me the urge to meddle. But I think I have a different risk appetite to many people. I would rather change something and have it not work than leave it alone.

I was born with two fingers missing and that had a profound effect on me as a child. It helped me develop resilience but also a sense of humour. When you’re born a bit different you don’t aspire to be like everyone else.

My most rewarding project was Quietrevolution, designing and manufacturing beautiful and very quiet wind turbines and I learned a huge amount about the power of design to help overcome resistance to change.

I always need a decent amount of challenge to keep me interested. I call it the 50/50 rule. If you’re 75pc confident, you’ll soon be bored and if you only know 25pc then you might seriously mess up (or not get the job in the first place) so I aim to know 50pc of what I am doing and then work out the rest as I go along.

Changemakers go straight from 0-60 and that can frighten some people. One of the things I’ve had to learn over my career is to go first from 0-20, then 20-40. You have to give people with more analytical brains the time to process what you’re doing. That’s why I work a four-day week; the fifth day gives everyone else a break, and time to catch up.

You rarely get an opportunity walk into a business and just start making changes. I have learnt the hard way that I have to take time to understand the status quo. Even if the answer seems obvious, we mustn’t start pulling levers until we understand why the business is running the way it is.

My conclusion is that we need to change how money works if we want to see real, sustained change in society.  Which is why I’m now committed to the finance industry. It’s rewarding to feel that the change you are driving will fight inequality and improve the lives of the many not the few.

 

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