Welkom bij Leaders in Progress, de podcast over vrouwen die aan het roer staan van maatschappelijke veranderingen. Wie zijn ze, waar staan ze voor en waar gaan ze voor? Ik ben Nadine Klokke, CEO van Knab, de online bank die de financiële wereld van binnenuit vernieuwt. Ik ben Beate van Dongen Crombags, partner bij EY consulting. Wij creëren een betere wereld door organisaties te helpen op een duurzame manier te transformeren. En ik ben Dave Jongeneelen, medeoprichter van Buzz Women. Dagelijks stellen wij vrouwen over de hele wereld in staat vooruitgang vorm te geven. Waarom deze podcast? We willen je inspireren om aan het roer te gaan staan van je eigen bezieling en maatschappelijke vernieuwing. Welkom bij Leaders in Progress!
Dave: Welcome to Leaders in Progress. Today we have a very special edition with a special guest, Evelyn Doyle. Welcome, Evelyn!
Evelyn: Thank you, Dave.
Dave: It’s also special because we are inside the offices of Patagonia in Amsterdam. Evelyn, you are working now for Patagonia and for our listeners I will introduce you briefly. You are the Head of People & Culture International at Patagonia. In your daily life, you love nature and the outdoors, originated from Ireland but also lived and worked in Russia, Africa, Switzerland, among other places. You had leadership roles in Human Resources, Management, Talent Management, Culture Organisational Development and Initiatives for global organizations. Both in profit, non-profit and social enterprise sectors. You’re very passionate about positively transforming work environments and business models. And outside work, your passions include music, staying up to date with all kinds of developments around the world, anything to do with food, and spending time with your son. So a big welcome to you as our guest.
Evelyn: Thank you for having me on.
Dave: Just as a question to start, what’s on your mind right now? What’s keeping you busy these days?
Evelyn: That’s a big question. But I attended last week the B for Good Leaders Summit that was in Amsterdam. And really the big question being asked or considered or discussed is, “How can we disrupt business to be a force for good?” Because I think it can be a real game changer in turning around global issues concerning how we work, matters of poverty, climate impact and everything else in between. And I think things that matter to me that is how I show up every day and can make an impact, can be part of that big discussion around how we can change things in society for the better. And I don’t just mean from a monetary perspective, but just how we create a more just and responsible society, where everybody has a fair chance and can thrive. And where we also keep an eye on the fact that there really is a climate crisis and that we’re all responsible human beings to take care of this planet. I have a son, it matters to me, this stuff matters to me. I’m a bit older and probably more of the dinosaur generation, so I have a bit more lever in determining what work for me means. Really ensuring that practice and impact is at the forefront.
Beate: What was the biggest insight you got from the meeting you had?
Evelyn: I’m not sure if I would call it an insight because I’m still digesting what should have happened at the summit. It was full of lots of great people who are really well-intended and try to make the change happen, but I think the insight I got is that the pace and the scale required to really make the change in this world to a more regenerative economy or a degrowth model or a future growth model that is more responsible is not happening as quickly, as I think it should happen. And I’m only one small drop in the ocean, but I think the pace and the scale required, I sometimes get concerned about that. Because I think, “What’s stopping us moving the lever here?” So I think the insight is that there are really well-intentioned folks who want to make change happen in this space, but I’m not too sure we’re in all the right places, having all the right discussions to make that happen at scale.
Dave: There is a worry there.
Evelyn: Yes, there is a worry there. I’m generally optimistic by nature in my Irish character, but I was just reading something the other day on eco-anxiety. I’m more of a dinosaur, but also a lot of young people these days actually understand the urgency a lot more than me, in fact. And they really want to make a purpose, add value and have an impact. For them, it’s not so much about, “Where am I going in my career?” That’s important too, but are the organizations we want to commit our time to serious about what’s happening in the world, and that we can’t park ourselves at the organization’s door, coming into a day’s work and forget about all that other stuff? It’s intertwined, it’s a living system, organizations are living systems. We’re part of a planet, we’re all part of the same ecosystem. And I think that’s where they see that.
Dave: And is that care for society and nature something you grew up with? Can you give us a picture of your background and if already as a child you were dreaming of doing these things?
Evelyn: Maybe to come back a bit, because I’ve also worked in large corporations, long before coming to Patagonia. But I grew up in a very small village in the middle of nowhere in Ireland with all my siblings and my friends to just roam the fields and go out in the morning and come back in the evening. It was a really wonderful and free childhood from that perspective, where everybody knew everybody and it felt very safe. Lots of greenery, Ireland is very lush and has a very raw beauty. I’m biased, but it’s truly a beautiful place to be in nature, and you’re never far from it. So I’ve always had that, and walking is my meditation. So outdoors walking, even in the city of Amsterdam where I live now, where there are lots of parks. I walk in the morning and the evening and at night. It doesn’t matter to me, because walking is my meditation, as long as I have some greenery around me. So I have a deep respect for conserving the outdoors. I wouldn’t say I’m the best sports person outdoors, so I have lots of other wonderful colleagues here who really play in that space. If it’s surfing or skiing and all of that. But my love comes from just growing up in it. I’ve lived in Switzerland, another very mountainous and very natural setting. I’ve been to Africa, lucky enough to spend two years there. These wide-open spaces, unless you’re there, you can’t really believe how magical it is.
Dave: I just came back from Tanzania, I can see the longing in your eyes.
Evelyn: Yes, that was amazing to me. Amazing how nature, especially when I saw it in Africa, gives so much to people. There was a reverence to the land that I’ve not quite seen before. Irish folks tend to be very ancestral about their land. There’s a lot of history there that we won’t go into in this podcast. But I just saw a reverence that people felt deeply connected, they danced with the land. They were a part of the land, and I think it comes back to this really being part of something and not seeing yourself as apart from it. And I think in the lives that we all live now, we’re separated, we’re disconnected, and we’re apart from things. And I think if I’m to really live out the rest of my life, it’s to prove and discuss and talk about and try to move the needle to more interconnectivity and interdependence and the value of that, and that we can’t live separate to what we are a part of. So I think this is what drives me. And then just the amazing folks that I’ve met in Patagonia, people who conserve land just for the sake of it and give it away to people. How many people do you know do that? That’s Kris Tompkins, the former CEO, with lots of land in Latin-America. It’s with the Blue Heart of Patagonia or here in Europe, where we worked with a lot of other NGOs and collaborated and Grassroots activists to conserve free flowing rivers in the Balkan region. And again, I learn so much being part of this living system called Patagonia, where there is just a deep respect for the outdoors. Nature is part of who we are, it’s not separate to us in the work that we do. I have spoken a lot about unlearning to a lot of people over the course of the years. And I think I did my unlearning of everything I thought I traditionally knew over the years here in Patagonia. And it’s not just as a result of Patagonia itself, but of all the people I met, either that came to see Patagonia, be a part of Patagonia or come and give a talk in Patagonia or make a film with Patagonia. It’s just a lot of really brilliant people I met along the way who showed me that there’s another way to live and there’s another way to work. There’s another way that these things can work together.
Beate: What is the other way?
Evelyn: The other way is that it doesn’t have to be a purely extractive model. How we work and being part of an organization. We can have a voice here as employees, it doesn’t have to be about the financial bottom line only. We’ve proven that you can be responsible, you can give back to the planet, you can make good quality products, you can be financially sound. So the model works. It’s just about unlearning that the traditional way of developing business is normally separate to what’s going on in the society, what’s going on in the environment. And I guess what I unlearned here is that it doesn’t have to be the case. You can have a very good, thriving culture and workplace and attract great talent by having this kind of model instead.
Dave: What did you specifically have to unlearn if you look at yourself?
Evelyn: I came from a small village, I came from a very conservative Ireland. I grew up watching all sorts of things happen that were not right. Whether it was government oppression, political oppression, religious oppression, I watched my own mother. Women had it tough in Ireland growing up. What I learned was that having a career was very important. Having an education was very important, access to education. I come from a small village, it was very important. I was one of the first in my family to really get highly educated, and I suppose that was my ticket to a big career, and I worked hard. You work a hard career and next steps and hierarchy. That was the traditional model. Again, no disrespect, that got me to where I am today, and it opened many doors for me. By becoming part of this, I suppose operating a model called Patagonia but also just through the last few years of living in different countries and watching different ways of working and living and being in different cultures, I learned that you don’t have to do all of that, and you don’t have to strive so much for so many things. By simply being part of nature, by being really connected with yourself, by really being connected to the outdoors, to people, being part of a community, relying on other people. So really being part of a team. These are worth so much more, and give you so much more satisfaction than chasing after things.
Dave: Did work become more effortless in a way?
Evelyn: It did. Effortless in the sense that you have a great freedom when you understand that you’re part of a community, and you’re in it to win, but you’re in it to win for all the right reasons, rather than striving ambitiously together for other reasons. It’s also a lot of hard work still to do that, but it’s much more enjoyable work. I think the really great unlearning I did was that you don’t have to follow traditional career paths or traditional walks in life. Sometimes all you need to do is listen to your inner self. I think that that’s what Patagonia does for you. Because it’s so connected back to who we are and where we come from, and conserving the place where we all live and work and play. It just brings you back to yourself. Unlearning that, that’s okay to do. You don’t need all the other stuff, just be connected to people, be part of a community. Use your voice, find a purpose, a real purpose.
Dave: There are many organizations out there that are desperately seeking their purpose in a way. And now you are at an organization which I can imagine is like an iconic brand in terms of being purpose-driven. I can imagine you get a lot of purpose-driven people together. So what happens then? How do you work with talent development or your people development head on? What does it mean?
Evelyn: This is also the other art of unlearning, I suppose. We have very idealistic people who come here, so these are people who really care. And they can work in any other organization, but they come here because of our mission, because of our purpose, we are in business to save our planet. Because they themselves are either semi-environmentalists or semi-athletes, connected to the outdoors. They’re working in a lot of areas of societal development and issues. So what we have to do, of course, we have to create the same career development opportunities. Everybody at their core wants to learn, is curious and wants to develop. That’s not different here in Patagonia, and we have to be on our game on that as well as people who go to practitioners. Because one of our core values is the unconventional pieces, what we have to do is think about how we incubate and develop those programs that really bring people to and give them a better understanding of our mission and keep them connected to our mission. So all of our learning and development programs over the last few years have been developed with design thinking concepts, system change thinking concepts, working with artists and environmentalists and the different style collaborators and facilitators than maybe your traditional models of learning and development workshops and courses. And most importantly, nearly all of them are done in nature. At your place, Better Meetings. We want to be connected to the community, nearly like a forest school. The more you can bring people into the nature, and they learn with each other in nature and talk with each other in nature, the more I think the issues become really alive and vibrant for them. So our learning and development is that, and I think that the fact that here in Patagonia we have environmental internships, so if you want to go off and be part of another company that really acts on behalf of the environment, we pay you a salary for a couple of months, and you can go and do that anywhere in the world. The fact that we are very family oriented, we have the dogs and kids, your life doesn’t stop at the door. We’re very nurturing of bringing your whole self to work. We also provide opportunities to get involved at the ground level in all of our campaigns. So these are not top-down things, these also evolve bottom-up to our various committees. We give voice to our employees. We’re very passionate about speaking up and no hierarchies, story-telling. Everyone is an ambassador here. So story-telling is given as well as a workshop. But not your traditional “Here’s the PowerPoint and here are the five things I wanted to coach you.” It’s about finding the voice that you have and telling the story in your own way about how you connect with Patagonia and its purpose and values.
Beate: And how do you select your new employees? How do you know their purpose is in line with the Patagonia purpose?
Evelyn: It’s a very rigorous process, and I would tell you, and the executives and some candidates would tell you, a probably very painful process. Because we do a lot of meetings. We get candidates to talk to lots of people. I myself joined actually only for six months as a consultant. I think I spoke to fifteen people right across the world. And I had never seen this in my career because I’ve worked with big search firms and recruitment firms and I know how all this works over a twenty plus year career. I’m like, “But they only want me to come in and do a bit of consultancy work.” I’m here nine years later, but I think I talked to about fifteen people. And they talk, and by talking to all different levels, this is not just the senior team, this is all levels of employees, your possible team members. Maybe even the receptionists, it doesn’t matter. By talking, you see also what we are about. Maybe that is not for everybody. But we really get a sense of people the more we talk to them and the more we invite them into meet with groups of people. So I would say it’s rigorous, not in the sense of being very formulaic. Although, of course, now things continue to evolve in the world, and we do also need to take care of ensuring it’s a fair and equitable process. So we’ve invested a lot of work in that as well, to ensure that we are really searching in diverse places. Because, of course, we are a really great company, but if you look at the outdoors, the outdoors is predominately not a diverse place to play in or to be in. That’s right around the globe. So we’re doing a lot of work there, we partnered up with the ‘Open up the outdoors’, with other industry leaders and with some NGOs and alliances, and we’re really trying to work hard on that part of our work at the moment as well.
Dave: And your family members, going back to Ireland, if they look at you now and where you came from and also the way your mother looked at you and had to work hard, like you said, how do they look at it now? At your position and the way you are in this world?
Evelyn: I’m really the only one who lives outside of Ireland, and I have quite a number of siblings, and a large Irish family. I think I can say this, if they’re going to be listening, I think they’re very proud of their sister or their daughter. But I think they also would say that I work hard, and I’m driven by passion and a purpose. I think they knew that when I was seventeen, I left the village, I’ve never really come back. I go back to visit a lot, but sometimes you have to really listen to why you’re here on this planet and what you want to do. I think, and I hope, that my impact will be really helping people develop, helping organizations develop, really making a difference in the space of creating real change in how we work, how organizations can be thriving organizations and to really opening up the doors to ensure there is an equitable and just transition for all in that space. Because I’ve worked in a non-profit in Africa, I’ve come from an Ireland that was a very tough Ireland to grow up in. And I understand what it means not to have things, to have barriers, to have to break down walls to get through them. I’ve seen this in particularly with women in all aspects of my life. And I would have a deep calling to ensure that there’s really a space for all women to progress. In Africa, I saw some things that were very enlightening and sobering. The fact that a lot of children couldn’t have access to things that we take for granted, that the basic things of life are not available sometimes. And yet again, coming back to the land, that was this deep connection to it and a happiness that a lot of us in the more developed parts of the world are not as happy.
Dave: How did that notion that it’s not for granted and not for everybody shape you?
Evelyn: I’m a force of nature when it comes to being just and having authenticity and being fair and trying to make things better. I can’t let that go, and I have accepted it now. I’m probably even more passionate again than what I was years ago. I believe that everyone has a right to all the basics of life and that we have a right to be educated, to love who we want to love, to be who we want to be. In whatever capacity I work in, whether it’s volunteering at some of the boards I volunteer on or whether it’s my work here in Patagonia through my global network and just wherever I can use my voice, I think, it’s what I want to continue to do. Because people want to thrive. I suppose my job is to try to create the platforms and the networks to help make that happen, wherever I can or whichever small part I can play on that.
Beate: When you look at yourself as a leader, what type of leader are you?
Evelyn: I’d say that I’m a leader who walks the talk. I would say I come across as a very authentic leader. In some ways, that means that I can be both courageous and vulnerable at the same time. And I’m okay with that. I find that a lot of people are not okay with that, which intrigues me. Because also as a female leader, they would say that you shouldn’t do that. You shouldn’t lean into vulnerability. But I actually think you should just be who you are, and that’s who I am. So for me, it’s a strength and maybe other people look at it as less of a strength. But I also think it opens up other people to feel safe. And also, in some ways, perhaps I hope to be inspired that you can also be like that, and that leadership doesn’t have to mean that you have all the answers. I regularly say I don’t know, I regularly say, “I’m sorry, can you explain that to me again?” It’s okay, and I guess that’s also part of the unlearning I did. I think as I grew and matured as a leader, I understood that no one person has all the answers. You’re really more part of that team, and you’re a person who allows for good structures and platforms and processes to be in place, to enable the best voices to work together and act together. The more you can lean into that, from my perspective anyway, I’m probably more of that servant type of leadership in that respect.
Dave: Where is the vulnerability, where does it show the most? What is challenging for you?
Evelyn: That’s a good question, but I think my vulnerability is that it’s okay to be vulnerable. I don’t think it’s so much challenging, I think it can be challenging for other people if you as a leader don’t always show up with all the answers, that you are in control of everything. Because I don’t think we’re in control of much, actually. That’s the other big unlearning, when you let go of that, you realise that there are so many forces going on out there. So for me, the vulnerability is leaning into just really showing up as yourself. Your humour, your questions, your stories. I think that can sometimes be unnerving for people, and it’s not always that easy to do because you never know that if you show some parts of yourself that are really part of yourself, can they be used against you? And of course, they can. But also, in a sense, as a leader, to let go of that and just stay true to your purpose and your impact and your space and be surrounded with people who you really want to be surrounded with, who encourage that. I think that’s how I would answer that question.
Beate: What does that look like when you show up as yourself?
Evelyn: What does that look like for others or for me?
Beate: For others.
Evelyn: For a lot of people, people of this leader’s concept, as a leader or as somebody who is at a high level in an organization, they’re acting or behaving in a certain way. What I’ve seen or at least the feedback I receive is that that’s not your typical way you see people acting. I think it’s more down to earth, it’s a very down to earth type of leadership. It’s one built with humour, which I think puts people off completely, it’s disconcerting. So when I show up as myself, it’s really as somebody who is very down to earth, who doesn’t have all the answers and is quite inquisitive and curious and is very coming to the table as herself. I think people see that very quickly. Probably here in these last nine years, I have found freedom to really show up as myself, much more so than I would have had in other organizations. And especially in the profession I am in, people and culture, we tend to be very strict and tight-lipped, and we’re dealing with sensitive matters. I deal with sensitive matters every day. But I show up also wanting to win, I think that is the other surprising thing people find. I think they find that sometimes the softness I portray would mean that I’m not in it to win, that I’m not very ambitious, that I’m not whatever. And in fact, I’m very ambitious, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Dave: Irish fire.
Evelyn: Yes. But I’m very ambitious, and I don’t apologise for that. But I think you can be ambitious and also leave the ego at the door. The ambition is part of a higher purpose.
Dave: If you look at the past nine years and what you initiated or added to Patagonia together with your team, what are you most proud of, Evelyn?
Evelyn: I’m proud of so many things here. Save the Blue Heart, I played a small part in that alongside so many other great people here. To see that signed off in conserving a national river park recently, that was truly an emotional moment, especially for those of us who were at the very beginning of that campaign. But it’s just remarkable to see that there’s no winning this for Patagonia, we’re not doing it for marketing campaigns. That was the sceptical part of me in the beginning. It was like, “This can’t be for real. Why are they doing this? And they’re just saying ‘Yes’ and they’re going to finance it, but why?” And just the purity of that to say, “We’re conserving the land for all. Not for Patagonia employees, not for Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, but for everyone.” So I’m very proud to have been part of that in any small way.
Dave: So the thing you do for the common good is what makes you most emotional, even maybe more than businesses and things from their kind of perspective?
Evelyn: I’ve built the department here and the people and culture from scratch. I set up with many other people the Amsterdam central office. We have grown our story, our brand, our footprint within Europe here, in my ages here. I look back and Ryan who was the GM is now our CEO. I’ve hired really remarkable talented leaders, developed them, employees. I’m proud of being part of all of that. But I think really at the end of the day, what I’m really most proud of is when I look back on all my time here now, it’s just been part of something that really matters and that has really been a game changer out there and disrupting business, and disrupting the idea of capitalism and how we work. I’m part of so many key moments in that. That just gives me so much because I can go home to my son and say, “Momma is part of–” He hears about Patagonia sometimes at school, and he comes running home and for him, I couldn’t be prouder when he looks at me, and he walks away knowing that I’m part of that. In the Rijksmuseum years ago, one of our climate campaigns, when I had to stand outside the Rijksmuseum all day with our lawyer because our general manager may have got arrested, ten of our employees may have got arrested by the Dutch police because they’re sitting down trying to raise climate awareness. And the fact that I have a bail policy in my hand, I’ve been part of the development of a bail policy for employees, I was working with the criminal justice systems on how to save yourself if you got arrested. All of these things. I’m just forever grateful that I’ve got to be part of this story called Patagonia.
Dave: How old is your son?
Dave: If you look at recent key moves, the transition in terms of stakeholdership and seeing that mother earth now is the only stakeholder you have, what kind of impact had that on you, on Patagonia as a company, what’s happening in the world? Can you take us along that journey a bit?
Evelyn: The Chouinards, before they went outside with this, the one thing that they wanted to do was share it with the world, the employee community globally. So every one of us got online, they shared the news with all the internal employee community. And the very next day, whether you are in Japan, Australia, Latin America or America, we went out into nature, and we celebrated the news in nature. We shut down our offices and retail stores all across the world and in typical Patagonia style we said, “We don’t know how we’re going to do this, we don’t know all the answers, we have implemented this structure, we’ll figure it out.” And to me, that was remarkable because that truly sums up Patagonia. We celebrate the moment and now we’re still continuing on with the work. It was the same way when Yvon Chouinard changed the mission statement to ‘Save the home planet’. He actually announced that first externally on a radio show. And I remember Ryan who was then the GM and all of us, like many of the other leaders across the world in Patagonia, saying, “What are we supposed to do with this? We’re now in business to save our home planet.”
Dave: Good luck!
Evelyn: And he said, “You’re smart people, go figure it out.” I think that just about sums up everything around here. We act first and then somehow will solve it or develop it or work around it, but acting now is so important. And I think that’s what we do, we have a great sense of urgency. Yvon and Malinda Chouinard always have and have always been front-runners in this space. I think acting now, Charles Conn, our chairman, wrote a book recently on the art of being imperfect. So much of us, when I look back on my career and my life, this striving is for perfection. And as you grow older, realising that imperfection is so perfect. That’s the nirvana we’re all looking for. Stop striving for the perfect, we’ll never get anything done. Big businesses saying, “We cannot do this model.” Yes, you can. Just try to be a bit imperfect. Act now, think later, and just do it.
Dave: What was the reaction of people initially when they got the news? How did people react?
Evelyn: It was like, “Wow.” Being in the role I’m in, I knew a little before others knew. But generally speaking, 95% were told at the same time. It was “Wow”, but at the same time, it was “Yeah, that’s Patagonia.” It was “Wow”, but it was like, “That’s what we do every day.” There was no employee going, “What does that mean to me? Is that taking anything away from me?” Because it is a different setup, but there are lots of questions to that because we’re giving back, once we take care of all the normal daily business needs, everything else goes into the new funds and conserving planet Earth. Everyone from whatever level you were in the organization was like, “That makes me so proud, that’s why I’m working for Patagonia versus anyone else on this planet.” And just sort of a big thank you to Yvon and Malinda and their children for having the bravery and being courageous enough to do this. And again, if you act, you can show people another way of doing things. They’re billionaires who decided not to keep the legacy going of being billionaires. The children give up their rights to that. And I think that’s a very powerful statement, it’s a very powerful legacy. And it’s starting to have ripple effects.
Dave: What do you notice right now in terms of the ripple effect?
Evelyn: Bloomberg is pledged as well, a sort of similar type. There is nobody quite yet doing anything exactly like Patagonia, but I think the ripple effect is that, slowly but surely, I think people are waking up and really seeing that we can’t keep extracting, we can’t keep doing business the way we do it. We can’t keep working the way we’re working. We can’t have the same financial systems we’ve had for years and years and years. There’s so much political unrest and volatility. There’s war going on everywhere, there’s polarisation going on. At some point, we have to change the system. And I think at least the ripple effect is at least back to the B for good leaders summit. I really do feel there is a lot more engagement on these bigger issues and topics than I have seen for a long time. And still, if I go back to the top of the hour of the podcast, I’m still a little nervous about the pace and the scale. I really just wish, what covid did for how we work, not that I wish covid, none of us wished covid had happened, but the impact of covid showed that you had to do another way. So we changed how we worked, all of us, all around the world. Wouldn’t it be great, what needs to happen? Because Patagonia is just one company, but what needs to happen to create the same pace and scale of change in how we work and how our financial systems and our economic models exist? I just wonder what the answer to that is.
Beate: Yes, that was my question, how would you answer that?
Evelyn: We have our political institutions, we have our educational institutions. We have our governing bodies, but I think we all use business, we’re all working in them, we’re all clients of business. And business is the game changer. So I guess it means, “How do we convince those leaders, those owners, those shareholders to get them to change how we do business?” In order to protect and conserve the planet, and also to create a more just and equitable working environment for everyone. Whether it’s responsible factories, working environments or whatever. And lastly, to understand that you can’t operate just as a business alone anymore, in itself. They are societal issues, economic issues, issues of war and everything else. That’s what all our employees are dealing with every day or impacted by or knowing somebody who is impacted by them. And they want to be able to come to work and know that their work is having a voice or being at the table in these topics. So you can’t separate them out So realising that everything is interconnected and interdependent and not hiding behind the fuss of just pure profit alone, how to do that, I don’t know. We’re trying to do our best here to inspire. I’ll use my voice wherever I can as well, so will many others. But I don’t know sometimes what’s going to really move the needle, to be honest.
Dave: Thanks, Evelyn. In our podcast, we always have a pleaser and a teaser, as we call it. The pleaser is: if you had to give yourself a big compliment, the biggest compliment you could give yourself, what would be the compliment you would give to yourself?
Evelyn: My Irish nature doesn’t allow me to give compliments to myself. That’s a whole other cultural podcast topic. But I think, be the change you want to see. I live my life every day with intention, I think. And I think that rubs off on people and I think if I were to pay myself a compliment, it’s the fact that I feel I make a very positive impact on people’s lives that I’m part of.
Dave: Beautiful! The teaser, given your love for Africa, what about Africa? If you look at Patagonia as well, maybe there is some presence, but it doesn’t feel like substantial or anything. How do you look at that?
Evelyn: I don’t know, I spent two years there, and I worked for a sustainable eco-cultural NGO, it was a very different kind of work. And I was mainly in rural areas. A fascinating journey for those two years. Again, I think it’s part of a whole other podcast. Africa has so many challenges still and so much opportunity. But there are systems there that need to be really looked at and developed further. Whether that is at a political level, at the human rights level, even in many countries in Africa. Perhaps there will be a space in our provisions’ division, which is our food area, which I think that’s another big place where everybody is looking to Africa into the future in terms of future development of food and regenerative agriculture.
Dave: Maybe Ryan or Yvon is listening to this podcast. Maybe it brings them some additional ideas. Thank you so much.
Evelyn: Thank you both so much!
Beate: I made a little summary of some of the things you said. You are optimistic by nature, walking is your meditation. You have deep respect for conserving the outdoors. You had to unlearn not to strive always, but being part of a team, relying on each other and listening to your inner self. Your family is proud of you, they see that you are driven by passion, helping people and organizations to develop. You are a leader who walks the talk, authentic, and you really want to show up as yourself. Ambitious and at the same time leaving the ego at the door. Proud of being part of something that really matters, acting now is really important, think later. And imperfection is so perfect. Thanks a lot!
Evelyn: Thank you, that’s very nice to hear back from somebody. Thank you.
Dave: Thanks for your openness, for the reception here at Patagonia. What I liked over the year meeting you is so genuine, like you say, the purity of an act is what matters in the end. I think you are a living example of what it is to lead and leave the ego at the door, like you said. At the same time, being part of something much bigger, I think that’s a very inspirational example for many people out there. So thank you for sharing your wisdom and good luck in nature and in business and spending time with your son. Thanks so much for this conversation, thank you so much.
Evelyn: Thank you both very much. Thank you!
Beate: Thank you!
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