In her own words:
“Having been on this journey for the last 20 years, I really believe there is a better way of working, I don’t want to be a wage slave and am particularly passionate about having purpose and enabling “real” flexibility at work. I see changes required to the system and behaviour in how people engage with each other, I want these exchanges to be more meaningful, I would like to see people more responsible and accountable, shed their corporate mask and understand that they have the power to make a difference both within and without their organisational contexts. I will continue to champion flexibility and keep pushing for “Value Exchange” to change the world!.”
Annabelle was the youngest of 3, and she quickly followed the ‘prescribed’ formula of success and went to University to study History at The University of London, and then immediately went on to find her first job. She was not initially successful with her application, but she showed her determination and convinced them they had made a mistake, showing her determination to get what she wanted at an early age. Indeed she has consistently shown throughout her life that she is a firm believer in maximum effort and commitment in getting what you want out of life.
Following this she was recruited into Ernst & Young by another Ethos founder, Rob Pye. She has described Rob as truly empowering her and somewhat changing her perspective on what employment should be. Rather than a means to an end it should be something you truly want to do. And Annabelle is a staunch believer in this mantra to this day. Despite her own determination and doggedness in her work, she knows that she is just one person, and as such is an exemplar of insisting that people do not take on more than they can handle.
Her passion for developing communities and how the internet could help drive this from both her experiences living abroad in Sweden and visiting San Francisco in the 90s, back when the internet was more messaging boards and less social-media. Although the technology and the interactions were very different from how they are today, Annabelle quickly saw how important the internet was going to become for community and society in general.
Having worked for and with many so-called Monolithic entities, she has found that a lot of these companies are slow to adapt to the world, and slower to adopt a people-focussed mentality. And during her work with these companies she continues to be dedicated to convincing these companies of the necessity of adopting a people-first approach.
In 2011, she rejoined Rob in forming Ethos, choosing to invest in the future and taking on a lot more responsibility she made a commitment to the idea of Ethos. Something she has evidenced time and again over her career that she believes in, and with Ethos she has made great strides into realising this idea. Some projects that epitomise this idea are the Young Leaders programme, Team Police and Ethos Wilder.
Annabelle’s Recommended Reading: An Intimate History of Humanity – Theodore Zeldin
Best Gig: OK Computer, Radiohead, Wembley Arena, 1997
Fave Cuisine: Italian
Where have you not been but would really like to: Japan/New Zealand
Portrait by Young Leader Callum Ewings