“Our work supports and creates a white light of courage and truth in everything that we do” – Julia Goodman.
Julia was an actor, producer, and director for 27 years. She rose to fame on shows such as Coronation Street, EastEnders, Those Glory Glory Days, The Brothers, The Lotus Eaters and many more. She also founded the British Actors Theatre Company with Kate O’Mara and played leading Shakespearean roles all over the world.
Julia stepped out of the acting world in the late 80s and discovered a new passion: helping people find their truth and their ability to project that. The idea came (as all the best ideas do) while lying in the bath, after a European tour playing Lady Macbeth, contemplating how to keep her head above water in a major recession as a divorced, single mother of two children (she was surviving on less than £90 a week social security when not acting). Julia started her company ‘Personal Presentation’ and in just three years turned over her first £1 million.
Julia is on the board of BAWE (British Association of Women Entrepreneurs), was on the development board of Dyslexia Action for 17 years, helping to bring it up-to-date, and co-founded the 500 Club as part of the Eve Appeal to raise awareness and money for ovarian cancer research. Throughout her career she has continuously raised money, volunteered, and helped charities promote themselves by developing their communication skill, but felt she could do more. So, Julia was delighted to be invited by Chairman Justin Urquhart Stewart and CEO Philip Webb to be a NED with IIC.
Her business, which is rooted in the psychology and techniques of the professional theatre, helps people to find themselves by connecting with their passions, unique perspectives, and beliefs and to become the best version of themselves, and develops their ability to communicate and perform that so that they have a strong personal brand that is recognisable wherever they go – a ‘You Brand’. She is sure to have truth and transparency at the forefront of her business and wants to ensure that everyone feels able to talk about their own truth in a healthy and constructive way. Julia and her team of coaches have helped transform the communication ability of organisations such as KPMG, BP, Cinven and the Bank of England.
When asked about why she was keen to join IIC, Julia said “Anything that has a pragmatic, realistic, truthful and courageous element to it, I’m attracted to, and I will bring whatever I can bring to it. IIC simply aligns with my feeling that if you don’t stand up and speak out and do things, then what are you doing?”
We are delighted to have Julia’s skillset and experience coming to IIC as we continue to grow our movement to unite purpose.
Investors In Community recently had the privilege of sitting down with Julia to discuss her career, advice, and the future of ESG. Check out the full interview here:
So, Julia, how has the charitable sector changed over the years you have been involved? Are you finding more businesses and individuals getting involved now people, especially Millennials and Gen Z’s, are demanding this change?
Julia: Funnily enough, just this morning I was notified that the boss of a big private equity firm that we work with has said that their next offsite is going to have ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) at its heart. ESG is something that I have been on the periphery of for years in terms of how I have tried to influence people, certainly in my business work, to connect with and act on what they know to be right, to let their goodness and conscience dictate their behaviour and that of their company.
That’s why the IIC proposition is so exciting and so relevant. Increasingly, ESG is going to demand transparency, measurement, and accountability. That’s exactly what the IIC platform’s blockchain-based technology is offering. So charitable giving will no longer be just a tick box on the ‘being a good business’ checklist. It will be a piece of solid, objective data that companies can use to demonstrate their ESG credentials, something they can put on their balance sheet. This is especially important now with investors and shareholders demanding fast, significant – sometimes massive – change in the way companies operate and the standards they set themselves. Otherwise, they’ll invest elsewhere. Even if charitable giving is only one small part of ESG, my feeling is that what IIC is helping bring about points the way forward for a wide range of corporate activity. It’s giving ESG more teeth.
The IIC proposition is part of a wider wake-up call to businesses in other ways as well. Consumers, young and old alike, are becoming increasingly aware of the power that their choices can have in influencing the behaviour of the companies they buy from. And young people won’t work for companies unless their values measure up, so ESG is becoming a decisive factor in the war for talent as well, which is a really powerful lever. Overall, then, greater ESG transparency will increasingly support the vital process of large-scale transformation that our beleaguered world and planet so badly needs.
At the end of the day, it’s all about asking these businesses “which side of history do you want to be on?”
Studies have shown the younger generation are likely to take a lower income as long as their company is offering opportunities for them to volunteer and give back to their community and for the company to show their good as well. Are you excited to see where this movement is headed, and do you see this becoming a long-term positive change for businesses to become more transparent and give back?
Julia: In my dreams, yes! Human behaviour being what it is, I can’t deny it’s going to be a rocky road, but I do think the influence of the young is going to force results; however, this is only at its early stages. I believe the biggest problem will be how much power the Next Generation feel they must make this real change and if they have the strength to say no to something they don’t believe in.
I do believe Millennials and Gen Z are working towards this goal and they are already taking more control in their careers which is going to force companies to rethink their strategies. Just recently I was working with a company that was advertising for interns and they found overwhelmingly the younger generation would ask for things such as flexible schedules and working from home to reduce the long daily commutes. The company in question was shocked that these young people would happily take a lower salary if these needs were met. This, I believe, will translate to more companies developing their ESG initiative in the future but it will need massive and constant push.
Do you think IIC will impact this movement?
Julia: I think it will, for the reasons I outlined earlier. But one thing I suggest as the new non-Exec is that IIC needs more of the younger generation to get involved – of course with the support of the older generation in the business. With that powerful combination I believe this could create a very impactful movement.
IIC is already seeing success from the Next Gen Ambassadors Initiative, and we will be pushing for even more of that in the future.
What are your driving values in business today and how do they align with IIC’s values?
Julia: I have a very emotionally strong connection to doing what is right, with community being a huge passion of mine, but I also have quite a commercial side to me too; that came from my family, going back six generations, who were all creative people, artists, actors, singers, who also ran businesses. I think that mix aligns pretty closely with IIC’s values.
Fundamentally, the values in my business are about leading a group of people to a place of truth and real quality of delivery. So, they are very mixed, but at the core of everything I do is the white light of truth, and the truth is not always easy. So, I especially value courage and bravery.
Your work focuses on making people the best versions of themselves they can be, this is a difficult feat and something I’m sure our Next Gens would love to learn more about, so if you could offer one piece of advice on finding your brand, what would that be?
Julia: Within us there is a small voice that constantly comes up, sits on our shoulder and says; “this is what you really think”, “this is who you really are” and “this is what you really want” and when you’re young you might find avenues to express this in all sorts of ways, not all of them very good, or you might even find ways of not having to confront it at all.
Finding your voice is about listening to who you know you are and working with that first. If you had something to say, what would it be? And how would you say it? That’s key! That is where we come in, the whole idea of You Brand (Julia’s program) is that the first stage is developing the YOU, what you really feel, how you see things and what you want to say. Through the process of expression and articulation you start to find that voice and once you’ve got that, you’ve got the gold dust. Then it’s time to work on how you speak your truth, remembering that your level of influence depends on how people feel about themselves in your presence. A good exercise is to walk around your house and say, “if I had my chance, I would say this.” Think about what that is and then think about how you’re going to say it. A top tip: watch yourself in the mirror as you do it, and check whether what you’re saying is backed up by your facial expression and tone of voice. You won’t land with the impact you want if you say you’re “really excited” but look and sound bored! The defining feature of great communication is courage. Having great stuff inside your head won’t take you very far if you bottle it. My mantra is “Show up … stand up … speak out … be you!”
“Find your authentic core and then carry that everywhere, because your individual voice will make a difference.”