Member Story: Sarah Flynn, Human Sustainability Coach, Sarah Flynn Coaching & Consulting

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

Working in CR&S is a combination of all my quirky passions, interests and loves. I grew up in the countryside and always saw the beauty and wonder of nature. I also loved observing the world around me and understanding the dynamics of how things work, particularly people and systems. I trained as a psychologist and spent many years researching resilience and how people can thrive in their work, and how people and systems successfully change. I saw early on that the corporate world is often at odds with what the needs of the people working within it, and the natural world. I made it my mission to understand how to create workplaces that enable the people within them, and the world that they serve, to thrive. So, I use an understanding of psychology and coaching to help purposeful changemakers and sustainability professionals find authentic resilience so they can create a healthier world (without depleting themselves). That, for me, is human sustainability.

2. What makes your sector unique from a CRS perspective?

Anyone working in CRS has a challenging role; you are working to change hearts, minds, and systems to address complex, urgent challenges, in the face of existential threat. The technical aspects of this are hard, the human change aspects are possibly even harder, and less tangible. Yet this aspect is often not acknowledged, discussed, or ‘taught’. I see people struggling with this on their own and doubting themselves as a result. So, I want to normalise these challenges and bring those human change and resilience skills to this space to aid people in this crucial work.

3. What do you need to do your job brilliantly?

Just like my clients, I need courage, compassion, and strong relationships to show up powerfully and create genuine systems change.

4. What are the most essential skills for working in CRS?

Self-care and kindness!

I know these aren’t thought of as ‘skills’, but I believe that anyone in a CS&R role is in a caring role – you are caring for humanity and the planet. Anyone in a caring role needs their own self-care and support. Yet people sometimes feel they should be able to ‘push through’ and end up struggling and depleted as a result. When we feel this way, it becomes harder and harder to create impact.

Just like this beautiful planet, we are not a limitless resource, so its important to work with of our energy, not against it. Otherwise, we are trying to prevent the depletion of nature, whilst depleting ourselves, and that just isn’t sustainable.

5. What advice would you give to others on getting into CR&S?

Do not make yourself wrong for finding this work hard!