Member Story: Alex Bell, Multiple Co-Founder and Director, Portland Education, The Power of Us Agency & the Nature Nurture Network

How did you get into CR&S, and why did you choose this profession?

It had always been a strong personal interest when I was a primary school headteacher, and then it intentionally became part of my mission when setting up my own coaching company ten years ago. 

I’ve now got three companies and am proud that between them are having positive impact on growing the next generation of CR&S leaders; on developing more relationship-centred company cultures; and also strengthening the evidence base of nature-connection to address staff development and retention challenges. 

What makes your sector unique from a CRS perspective?

My projects and collaborations have evolved from being purely education-based, into encompassing business and the social sector both in the UK and internationally. 

So it’s a great perspective to see where each sector can learn from the other in taking CR&S forward. 

In working with the Eden Project in Cornwall, our approach of nature-based purpose-led group coaching has contributed to 5% of post-programme participants leaving their sector within two years compared to 17.2% nationally. 

In a collaboration with the 42 Acres retreat in Somerset we are working with key players in education, health and social care to explore the neuroscience of connecting the nervous system of the body to the social system of community to the eco system of the planet. To be in tune with each other. 

We have academics, politicians and other countries interested, so we think we’re onto something. 

What do you need to do your job brilliantly?

What I’ve learned on my CRS journey so far is that the greatest impact comes when individuals see tangible positive outcomes from their collective effort. I totally agree with Richard Curtis’ assertion that ‘to make things happen you have to make things’. 

So all of my CRS project plans are led by the positive and tangible legacy impact they will have on people and planet now and in the future. 

So for all of us to do our job brilliantly in CRS - whether it’s policy, practice, culture, collective behaviours or anything else - we each need to leave behind something that others can get behind.

Anything else you’d like to share?

A final question for us all:

I left a childhood in rural Cornwall to pursue a teaching career in inner-London that evolved into a CRS-based career globally and across multiple sectors. 

40 years ago, there was so much to separate each of those things in terms of mindset, skillset and context. 

And yet today, I see so many more opportunities, if we choose them, to connect the dots across all of those areas to move CRS forward in the ways it is most urgently needed- and to learn from others outside our own fields of knowledge and experience. 

None of us exclusively holds all the solutions to our collective challenges. 

So my question for all of us, is how might each of us share our own CRS skills and knowledge even more widely beyond our current spheres of influence, in the most accessible, empathetic and accessible way we can? 

And so that others can get behind the things we’ve made? 

I’d be more than happy for any of you to get in touch if you’d like to continue the conversation.