In this interview series, we want to feature cool and inspiring women from all corners of the world to learn about their financial reality as well as how they navigate sustainability. Our goal is to showcase a breadth of values and practices, and how young women handle the challenges of our time.
Tête-à-tête is coming home this week, talking to London-based Elizabeth who may or may not be a superhero disguised as a human. Beside her GP job, she is in the process of launching her own wellness brand Retreats to Advance, recognising the many aspects of health and wellness. She's working to bridge the gap between self-care and personal development, offering millennial women products and services in this space. We spoke with Elizabeth about the importance of strong female role models, philanthropy, and surprising benefits of Instagram.
WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN TO YOU?
Sustainability to me is being a conscious consumer. That is, a conscious consumer of food, social media, entertainment and so on. It is the realization that I am one of 7 billion people sharing the planet, and consuming in a way that is not detrimental to others. It is also being aware that I have a responsibility in leaving the planet hospitable for the generations that will follow.
(WHY) IS MONEY IMPORTANT?
Money is the currency with which we obtain what we value. It isn't everything, but it is very important.
WHAT IS YOUR MONEY STRATEGY?
I have and follow a budget. I have short, middle and long term financial goals that I write down and measure my progress against. I have worked with financial advisers in the past and will be doing so again in the near future. I have recently taken a keen interest in my pension and started planning for my retirement. I am also looking into how to develop more streams of revenue. The statistics for women, especially women with my background, that is African women or women of colour, paint a picture of financial disadvantage. This can be remedied in part by increasing ownership. By this, I mean home, business and land ownership. My grandmother was a landowner and a successful entrepreneur, and I am blessed to have had this influence so close to me. When there have not been financially strong female role models in the family or community, mentoring becomes very important.
(HOW) DO YOU THINK INSTAGRAM AFFECTS OUR CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND SPENDING?
I find it helpful to browse fashion and get an idea of what I want before I go to physical stores. I think there are smaller retailers whom I would like to support that I would not have discovered if not for Instagram. As a woman with naturally very curly and textured hair, mainstream advertising is insufficient to showcase the products I need to care for my hair properly, so YouTubers and IG influencers are a conduit for becoming aware of products and services that are of benefit to me and not always available at my local chemist. Being aware that I might be unconsciously influenced by Instagram, I deliberately remind myself of my personal goals rather than trying to match the lifestyles or the projected lifestyles I see on social media.
PLEASE SHARE ONE THING YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR MUM.
My mother has taught me the value of volunteering and being generous with my time. She is involved in social justice and does a lot of work with marginalized groups. This is unpaid volunteering, and sometimes it exhausts her, but she is a great model with her selfless approach, aiming to help others. In her philanthropy, she has become aware of the ways that she is privileged and how she can be a blessing to the larger community. I find it extremely inspiring because trying to maximise my time and income can be an unhealthy focus. It is really enriching to give time and money to those who can never pay you back. That inevitably leads to a feeling of fulfilment and inner peace.
More about Retreats to Advance:
Retreats to Advance is a wellness brand dedicated to resourcing and empowering millennial women to flourish from a place of rest through our events and retreats. Our busy modern lifestyles do not set us up for emotional well-being and guilt-relaxation. With trying to squeeze more productivity out of limited time, it is no wonder millennials have been labeled "the burnout generation." Our goal is to resource millennial women where self-care meets personal development because true holistic wellness is the springboard to a successful life.
Based in London? Make sure to come to the launch 28 November! Tickets here.