Samantha Hawkins is a leadership coach and facilitator, supporting unconventional leaders, rebels & changemakers to make a meaningful difference in the world without sacrificing themselves in the process. She has over a decade’s experience working with individuals & organisations across the education, non-profit and socially conscious corporate world, helping them grow into their potential and increase their impact. She is a passionate advocate of social justice and helping people take back their power.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
Growing up, I was privileged in a number of ways; my family was comfortable financially, I had a loving support system, a great education, and we enjoyed cultural events and holidays often. In other ways, I faced adversity; several traumatic events happened during my early teen years, and I faced disabling and ongoing health issues which left me hospitalised and which still continue today. I was always aware, though, of how grateful I was for what I did have. I also had, and still have, a wide number of interests including music – playing the piano, clarinet and singing – debate, yoga, meditation, human psychology and behaviour, travel and always a desire to keep learning and growing. I saw from a young age how unfair the world was that based purely on where or when someone is born, they do or don’t have access to all kinds of services, opportunities or even having their basic needs met. I felt compelled to make a positive impact on the world, to try to improve systems of inequality and discrimination which kept people marginalised. During my school & university years, as well as my first few years of work (in marketing), I spent a lot of time volunteering and advocating for those with less privilege than me. I changed careers and went into teaching in my mid-20s because I wanted to make that work a bigger part of my life, so I taught in a school in a disadvantaged area, and worked incredibly hard to help the children & teenagers I taught to reach their potential. My time as a teacher and leader in a school is where my entrepreneurial journey really started, and it influenced and informed my years since. In terms of role models, I have many; but I find most of my inspiration comes from people who aren’t well known or famous as such, but from people who I have met and had the privilege to spend time with, who make a difference in their communities, their families, their world, and who have big hearts and empathy for others. In terms of well known people, the kinds of people I want to emulate in my work are those with changemaker spirits like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Michelle Obama, Tarana Burke, and Jane Fonda.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
I run my own coaching & facilitation practice, which helps leaders who are driven to make the world better and fairer, to have a more significant impact on their chosen focus, while building their sense of confidence and empowerment, and ensuring they still get their own needs met. This includes their mental & physical wellbeing, their capacity to be authentic and aligned with their values, their self-worth, and their deeper sense of fulfilment, peace and happiness.
I work with people in a number of ways, through 1-to-1 coaching, organisational consulting, facilitating group or team coaching programmes, and running workshops. I always seek to run my business in a way which is ethical, socially conscious, and inclusive, and I design all of my programmes and projects from a human-centred approach, always asking – what do the people I am serving need most?
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
The pandemic affected me in both positive and negative ways, on both a personal and professional level. Personally, I faced great challenges in terms of my mental health and loss of connection with others (as many did in that time!), especially because I lived alone and faced very strict lockdown conditions in which we weren’t able to leave our homes even to go for a walk for 2 months. On the other hand, I grew so much as a person, and was able to re-evaluate my priorities and develop my own resilience. As a consequence, I ended up moving back to my home country (the UK) from Spain where I had lived for 4 years. On a professional level, at first it was hugely difficult as budgets were slashed and contracts fell through. However, after that first period, unexpected benefits emerged. Firstly, people have become more interested in coaching and personal/professional development as they took the time during the major lockdowns to reflect on what they really wanted from their careers and lives. Secondly, people have become absolutely comfortable with using video calling technology, which means that I can work with people all over the world, and coach them in settings like their homes where they feel truly comfortable and able to be open.
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
The response has been great – not only have I had the privilege of working with a number of exceptional clients, my wider professional (and personal) community offers a lot of support to the work I am doing, and are always happy to make referrals, share my programmes with people who might be interested, and offer other forms of help. I continue to work to adapt my offering to fit the needs of both my existing and potential clients so it can be of most value to them. I have been featured in podcasts, as a guest writer in blogs and publications in anything from women’s mental health, to education development, and I have landed several contracts with non-profit organisations in addition to the individual work I do.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
Absolutely! I get to do the work I most feel passionate about, work with incredible people and make a difference in the world. I have built a beautiful community around me, and have also found lots of ways to make my business fit around my health problems and allow me to prioritise my wellbeing, reduce stress and be an all-round happier person.
Do you have anyone who is the biggest support system in your life? Please let us know.
I am so grateful to have a huge support system. My family has been an endless source of guidance and practical help, my friends have been my biggest cheerleaders, my partner has supported me through the highs and lows and kept me going when things were hard, I have a number of other coaches and solopreneurs around me and we help each other through our challenges and celebrate wins together, and I have an incredible wider community which is there for me.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would like to see the world become a kinder place, one where people listen better to each other and can begin to understand different perspectives from their own, so that we can move towards resolution and more connected communities. I passionately and optimistically believe that if we can work as a community, celebrate difference and diversity, and find our own source of empowerment, it is possible to build a world where there is justice, and where everyone can access life and opportunities of value to them.