Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rebekah Lloyd, founder of This Independent Life. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Rebekah! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing at This Independent Life?
Rebekah: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Our vision is to create a future where everyone has health, wealth, and fulfillment in life, regardless of their background, and our mission is to fearlessly transform lives through inspiration and innovation. If you’re a girl or woman, or someone who identifies as non-binary, a person who menstruates or is assigned female at birth, despite making up over 50% of the population you are still underserved, underrepresented, and undersupported throughout your life. Traditional education is falling short when it comes to health, work, and money, societal barriers are systemically deep-rooted, and many public and private institutions and organizations aren’t taking action to make a positive change. And that's where This Independent Life comes in.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Rebekah: In 2021, I had a mental health breakdown and burnt out, was living in chronic pain and received a ten-year delayed endometriosis diagnosis, and was struggling with career and financial challenges. I realized something had to change in my life and once I started opening up to people about my experience, I realized that I wasn’t alone. Today, only 8% of Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 companies have women CEOs, just 10% of women have a stocks and shares Individual Savings Account (ISA), and only 43% of women are correctly diagnosed by the healthcare system. The more we can educate, engage, and empower women and girls in these areas, the more likely we are to create a future where nobody has to live in pain and silence or sacrifice their career and well-being—period.
Spiffy: That’s inspiring! How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Rebekah: Everything we do is rooted in social impact and using business as a force for good, and we work to deliver on our vision and mission in a variety of ways. We deliver talks, events, and programs for workplaces, universities, and communities that support women to navigate their health and become leaders in their careers. We advise and support women's health, careers research, and startups. We also support institutions such as the University of Oxford, to advance innovation and solutions in the space, and host a podcast where we shine a light on founders and leaders working to support independence for women across the areas of health, work, and money in their own, unique way.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Rebekah: We were honored to be invited to advise the United Kingdom (UK) Government Women and Equalities Committee in the parliament, alongside leading organizations, as a result of our work that was broadcast globally via the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). We want to represent and provide a voice to those who can't to help inform policy and reform at an institutional level. We also hosted a first-of-its-kind “Future of Endometriosis and Women's Health” conference that brought together different voices and perspectives to talk about how we can collectively change the future of women's health, including patients, physicians, academics, and organizations. We heard that many had regained hope for the first time in years and connected with others who could relate and support on a human level.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Rebekah: Truthfully, every day. Failure and rejection are a very common and real part of day-to-day life as an entrepreneur, particularly when you're working in the social impact space and on topics that many in society don't deem a priority. However, I firmly believe that failure and rejection are an opportunity to learn and I actively remind myself of this. We all make mistakes, it's part of being human, and embracing the beauty in that is comforting in itself. I struggled with this early on, and I now have a sign on my fridge that says, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." Entrepreneurship is a whirlwind of ups and downs, as is life, and I'm excited to learn to create more impact as part of this journey.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Rebekah: Please remember that if you are struggling with something in your life, you are not alone. There are people and organizations out there that are passionate and committed to providing real help and support, whatever it is you may be going through. And please know that my door is always open—I and This Independent Life are here to support you however we can, be it through us or pointing you in the right direction to get you the support you need. We all deserve to achieve health, wealth, and fulfillment in life, regardless of our background—that includes you and we won't stop until we get there!
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rebekah—it’s been an honor!
Rebekah Lloyd is a women’s health and careers advocate and speaker, event and podcast host, advisor and consultant, and founder of This Independent Life. She delivers education and events for workplaces, universities, and communities, is a United Nations (UN) Women UK delegate, and is a leader and facilitator across workplace wellbeing, investment and funding, and research and start-up innovation initiatives. Her clients include global organizations such as Barclays, UNiDAYS, and the University of Cambridge. In 2023, she independently hosted a first-of-its-kind conference on the future of women’s health and was invited to give evidence to the UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee for the government women’s reproductive health inquiry as a result of her work. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 10, 2024.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.