Jacqui Hocking: B Corp Passion, Dollar Votes For The Future & Pandemic Craziness - E178

· Women,Purpose,Popular,Founder,Podcast Episodes English

I probably spent the first six or seven years doubting myself that this is legit, that I'm legit. The imposter syndrome thing, it's like "No, no, no, I'm not legitimate". And it's like, if I could go back 11 years ago and start it, then and say, "No, no, no, you're on the right track".-Jacqui Hocking

After starting her first storytelling company as a teenager, and then sailing around the world with a UN Global Climate Expedition as a documentary filmmaker; Jacqui came to realise that the best ESG solutions exist already, but these visionaries needed more visibility. Hence, she moved to Singapore to become a serial systems entrepreneur — building B Corp certified companies that work with multinational clients & visionary social enterprises around the world on their Strategy & Storytelling.

Now a Forbes 30 under 30 and 2 time TEDx speaker, she hopes to be remembered for being on the forefront leading businesses to become the solution for the world’s problems and not the cause.

Jeremy Au: (00:30)
Hi Jacqui, so excited to have you on the show. We definitely had a few technical issues along the way, but finally excited to have you on the show. We've known each other for years now and I've always been inspired by your passion for climate sustainability and the fact that you've been a kick ass founder who's been out there taking names and making and crafting stories that inspire people out here in Southeast Asia and I’m excited to share your story out here.

Jacqui Hocking: (00:57)
I know it's so great to catch up with you again. It's been so long.

Jeremy Au: (01:00)
Yeah. So, Jacqui, I'm excited to, I guess, turn the camera around and put the lens on you a little bit here. So, Jacqui, could you share a little bit more about who you are professionally?

Jacqui Hocking: (01:09)
Yeah, sure. Well, thank you so much for having me on board. My name's Jacqui. So for my day job, I'm the founder of a communications company here. So I work to try and help really visionary startups or entrepreneurs, social enterprises, even multinational businesses get more visibility for their social and environmental impact stories. I've been doing that for about the last five years, but on the side, I'm involved in anything to do with sustainability and social impact.
So I'm a huge believer in the startup ecosystem here. I help support Impact Collective, which is a movement here. I helped co-found the Singapore Environmental Film Festival here, very involved in the social entrepreneur ecosystem.

Jeremy Au: (01:50)
Amazing. So how did that first passion for climate and sustainability first start for you?

Jacqui Hocking: (01:57)
When I was young, I grew up in a national park in Australia, so I think I've always been very connected to nature and I was about 18 years old when I started making documentaries and documentaries around social issues, environmental issues. I was really, really lucky to work on a UN environmental project around the world and the beginning of the project we were trying to raise awareness around climate change, but by the end of the project, after working with these guys for about four or five years, sailing all over the world, visiting all of these incredible solutions, I was like, Well, the solutions exist already.
Like we have solutions for every single social, environmental problem. So then the issue is just like scale. So I think wanting to make an impact and wanting to work on environmental issues has been with me since I was born or for as long as I can remember, storytelling, the passion for picking up a camera and finding amazing human stories as long as I can remember, it's only been recently in the last, I guess, decade that I've really seen business as a way to bring it all together and actually leverage business as a tool to create meaningful impact.

Jeremy Au: (02:56)
And what's interesting is that you’ve also combined this a very entrepreneurial flair, which is that you've always done this in some ways, you could say freelance, initially, but also you've done this for my agency, but also a very entrepreneurial dynamic. So could you share how did that angle come out instead of, for example, doing it from a governmental, foundation, or nonprofit angle?

Jacqui Hocking: (03:17)
Well, actually, I've never really freelanced. It would have probably made more sense financially, but I love people too much to work by myself. So I've always been kind of building teams. So my first company was in Australia doing film production and then my second company was building a team here. I've always tried to grow and build businesses because I believe that business and entrepreneurship in general is a very efficient way to scale anything.
I do think that we need all stakeholders. You need to work with the government. NGOs play a really important role as well. There's lots of different stakeholders involved, but if you really want to do things fast, working in business I think is an incredible…there's just so much opportunity. There's so many problems out there. We need tools that can come up with solutions and scale them quickly.
So I see business is like the fastest tool we have to solve problems like climate change. So that's where my passion for entrepreneurship really came out. It wasn't like I was chasing to be an entrepreneur. It was very much accidental. What I was chasing was, How do we solve these massive global challenges that are impacting every corner of the globe?
What else impacts every corner of the globe? I know Coca-Cola or like a massive multinational company like business is incredible how quickly and how huge they are as a system. So that's why I got really passionate about like systems change and trying to work across a full system to be able to make an impact. Yeah, that's where my entrepreneurial flair comes from, as you put it.

Jeremy Au: (04:40)
What's interesting is I've also gotten a chance to see you slowly, kind of like iterate on those different dimensions, starting with that small approach, small team, social enterprise, B Corp. Can you tell us a little bit more about that evolution from your perspective?

Jacqui Hocking: (04:55)
Oh, my gosh, yes. It's so funny. I've literally gone full circle. Most people have a corporate job and they quit their job to go and save the world. I did that complete wrong way around. I had this like amazing job sailing around the world. So I started working with a lot of nonprofit organizations, a lot of foundations, using my skill in storytelling, filming, photography, writing, and I kind of went the complete opposite way around.
I went from NGO and I was like, Wait, well, these guys lack resources, so we need to be more strategic. So then I started thinking about larger multilateral organizations, maybe the U.N., if I really wanted to make a difference. Oh, I thought of media at one point. Maybe I should be in the press and media, because I do think that media is one of the most powerful tools to change the world.
But there was no media company I wanted to work for. I think ultimately every entrepreneur is an entrepreneur because they can't find the business that they want to work for. I would love to work for a company doing what we're doing. It just doesn't exist. So I didn't really have a choice. I didn't feel like I had a choice, but to kind of build our own industry.
For those of you that don't know B Corp, that was such an enlightening moment for me because I think when we first met at Impact Hub, if I'm not wrong, which was the first kind of impact space in Singapore about a decade ago, Impact Hub was very much about the social entrepreneur, people doing good, but it still had a bit of a stigma around people that didn't really make money.
They don't make money, they just do good things. And for me, I was always very challenged because I didn't agree with that. I wanted to bring this social and environmental impact into like multibillion dollar businesses and actually use it as a strategy to increase their business. I really believed in that. And so when I first heard about B Corp, which is a certification to help companies really verify their social environmental impact, but there's still profit making businesses.
I got really excited. I remember they had one of their big forums because they're very big in Europe, in the US, very nascent in Asia at the time. Okay, that's it. I'm going and I went to Rome. I didn't know anyone. I just needed to be around these leaders that believed in using business as a force for good.
And that's where I met, to this day, some of my best friends, business leaders, CEOs that are trying to find new solutions using business as a tool. So, yeah, I think it's been a really, really interesting journey, especially in the last 12 months. I think it's starting to click, so it's starting to catch on more and more. So we've been kind of riding the wave as any entrepreneur.
When you come in a bit too early and then you take a step back and then the concept of systems change. It's still relatively new. Being a systems entrepreneur, it's still relatively new, really excited to be here and I'm sure there's plenty more iterations to go.

Jeremy Au: (07:31)
Yeah, that's a big tussle for a lot of folks. Remember all of us hanging out in Impact Hub Singapore and that was very much like the first cluster of folks there. And there's a lot of struggle because there were a lot of founders who are all very mission driven and very much confused about what the best way to get there was.
Because at that point of time, I think startup funding wasn't around. So everybody's trying to access all kinds of pockets of money, friends and family grant funding, the tech side, the media side, as well as from the social sector side. And then obviously there's this argument about if you're really passionate about something that you want to build as a nonprofit, did you want to do it as a social enterprise, a nonprofit plus?
Or would you look at it as building as a social enterprise, which is a corporate minus, what you build as a startup, which was…question mark, question mark. It feels like things obviously have changed quite a lot since then. For someone who wants to really make a difference, how has your personal thinking about that dynamic matured and change over time?

Jacqui Hocking: (08:36)
I don't think it's actually changed that much, to be honest. I don't come from a very privileged background, so money for me was something that was always necessary, like it wasn't an option and I never went to university. I didn't go to any fancy school. Like earning money has always been important. You need to earn money. So growing up with that lens has been really great because no matter what business I run or build, number one is it needs to be sustainable.
And the joke is like there's nothing more unsustainable than bankruptcy. So all the companies we've run, even the side projects like the nonprofit projects that I've run, we still make sure that it's sustainable first and foremost, because that's how you can make the biggest impact. So I think my perspective on that hasn't changed. Maybe the only thing that's evolved is that the opportunity is perhaps much bigger than I had initially estimated.
I used to talk about the billion dollar opportunity and now I see the top four consulting firms talk about the trillion dollar opportunity in sustainable and social impact. So when we look at industries like energy, food, agri, like there's actually trillions of dollars of opportunity. So I believe we're going to start to see some real unicorns that are coming out of this space from an environmental lens that are actually doing incredible impact and changing lives and everything else.
So if anything, my perspective has evolved to see an even bigger opportunity than I did before. I don't think I've ever felt like profit is a bad thing. Profit is a really important thing because being a profitable business means that you can grow because that's how I use profit. Like if we have any extra money in the company, it goes into the growth of the business.
I'm a huge fan of revenue based businesses, so I'm sure we can talk all night about being an investor and being on the other side and what that's like. But from my side, I really believe as a founder, you have a responsibility to build up a stable business, pay your people well, invest in your impact reporting like you've got to walk the talk before you can go and promote other people to make an impact.
We have to be B Corp certified before we go and tell everyone else. To become certified is really important and it's actually hard for us because we don't have the resources of a massive multinational. So investing the time to do impact measurement as a small company is not easy. Like we need to improve.
So I would say evolve not really changed as a mindset.

Jeremy Au: (10:58)
And how do you advise people? Because now we see this new generation of folks who want to be social entrepreneurs or want to be B Corps. Of course, you are now an ambassador for the B Corp movement in Southeast Asia. So, what advice do you have for folks who are thinking themselves how to get started?
Do you tell them not to rush? Do you tell them to think about…what advice do you give them?

Jacqui Hocking: (11:21)
Okay, I will answer this with two lenses. Okay. Because the first one for the founders that are listening, for your tech founders, startup founder, get really clear on the purpose of why you're building the company and find a way to start measuring that and tracking that. If you started a company because you want to bring access to water, start tracking and measuring your impact.
The B Corp tool is free, so as a founder, you really don't have an excuse not to use it. It's a free tool that anyone can go and use and so start thinking early about how you can leverage all of the tools that are available to help you create an impact. You don't need to have everything figured out just yet.
The Sustainable Development Goals, the global goals, the SDGs. That's another really easy framework. Just pick one. Which one are you most passionate about? Now, embed that into the company, see what you can do every day to really make a difference. So that's for the founder. I'm going to switch gears and say that there's probably a lot of people that are listening that are in a day job in a big company, and maybe they want to quit and become a founder, which is why they're listening to you and stalking you.
I think for these guys, don't quit your job. Try to find a way to become an intrapreneur and change your business. I gave a talk years ago saying that we need more change makers in companies if we want the companies to change. So I think there's a lot of perspective that needs to happen around the power of these huge companies and working within them.
It's an amazing opportunity if you can change inside your business, and I'm seeing that now, more and more. People that used to be in an I.T. role, they're now becoming sustainability and their salaries are going up and they're becoming more respected. And now we're seeing chief sustainability officer becoming CEOs because that's what shareholders actually demand. So if you want to build your career looking into this space, there's an opportunity is also a good advice.

Jeremy Au: (13:02)
Why do corporates care now? Because ten years ago, everybody was saying like corporates would never care.

Jacqui Hocking: (13:10)
I wasn't. I believe in you!

Jeremy Au: (13:13)
At least now it is a trend towards their views that corporates are caring more on average and the trend is towards more. So why do you think that's happening from your perspective and from your vantage point?

Jacqui Hocking: (13:23)
In basic economics? It's starting to hit the bottom line and this is what I've been preaching for years is, you know, like if you look at every pillar of your business, starting your team, recruitment talent, young people are going to be impacted by climate change much more than older generations. They care about climate change. And if they're looking for a job, they're going to work in a company that it doesn't conflict with their personal values.
So recruitment, you're going to save, again, millions, if not billions of dollars in recruitment fees. We get applications from super senior leaders at big companies. We could never compare with their salaries, but they want to work with us because they care about the vision and the excitement and the passion. So I think recruitment is just a huge cost saver.
That's like one reason investments, banks, shareholders, like everyone is seeing the risks involved in sustainability and social impact. Imagine being a property developer and you've got this entire property along the coastline and then you haven't done the environmental assessment to see that actually it's all going to be underwater. I'm like, you're going to be or you're investing in Bali, all of these amazing places where water is actually running out.
So I think people are starting to see that the environment impacts financials just as much as anything else. The consumer demand is there. It's a great way to position your brand as a unique competitive edge compared to all of the others, which are just like out there to make money. There's honestly, there's no downside at this point. Even the costs like it sometimes people say, Oh, but it's expensive to do sustainability.
And I just said, the tool for B Corp is free. You have so much wealth in that tool. And then once you join the community, you now have access to hundreds of CEOs all over the world who are equally passionate about this. So you're like tapping into this huge network of business leaders that want to support you to scale and grow your business.
So it just makes sense from every single level. I don't think there's any massive pullback except for if you talk about like massive transformations. I remember working with one company, the entire industry really, really needed to change. But then the opportunity for the companies that are smart and they started investing in plant based means they're ahead of the trend.
And now look how much money is being poured into that industry. So it's a smart business decision and people can think I'm crazy, but I mean, that's how the trend is going.

Jeremy Au: (15:39)
And when you see that the trend is going that way, how do you feel about your role as part of that trend? How do you see that developing over time? You see that from a storytelling perspective for sure, but how do you see role especially in Southeast Asia?

Jacqui Hocking: (15:55)
I'm so proud of the work we do. So I think for me the biggest thing, just from a personal standpoint is being able to wake up and work with people that I love, like hand on my heart, love every single client that I have right now. And we're lucky because we're small enough. We can kind of be selective about who we want to work with and pick the brands that we feel are really changing the world or investors that are really investing in incredible solutions that are scaling and saving lives.
And we see that because the storytellers, you're actually witnessing it. Sometimes we're actually filming it, so we're actually physically meeting these stories. I think that from a personal perspective, I think it's really interesting. I think I went off trail reminiscing about all of our adventures with other our clients.

Jeremy Au: (16:34)
So I guess riffing off of that, why is storytelling important in the context of sustainability? What is the role of storytelling and the visuals and all of this films and creative? What's the role of that from your perspective in the sustainability movement from your perspective?

Jacqui Hocking: (16:53)
So I guess we do communications very differently, like you mentioned, agency or advertising agency, but very different from that world because that world is very much in different silos. You have maybe you have your marketing or your growth or your internal comms or your HR or your policy or whatever. As a communication company, what we do is we really look at the vision of the company, the purpose of why they exist, and we align that across all of their comms, from how they speak internally, how they build the culture, how they then speak to investors, engage their shareholders, how they then reach out to their clients and customers, and how they can ultimately turn their community around them into their brand ambassadors. So they're building a full kind of ecosystem or communication strategy around it. So that's kind of what we do as a day job. And I think it's important because for, again, two lenses for the smaller companies, we're helping them reach the economy of scale. If you're a small startup, let's say you want to replace plastic and you have this really visionary technology, visionary idea and it makes business sense.
Perhaps they're just not able to communicate to the right people. They don't know how to speak to an investor. Or like you said, maybe they've come from a nonprofit background and they need to learn how to speak in the business world. They need to learn B2B sales. Or maybe it's the other side. Maybe they're B2B their whole life, and now they're trying to do a consumer product.
I know a few people that have quit their jobs to do like sustainable brands, like sustainable toothpaste or whatever. I think from a smaller startup company, communications is critical to learn how to scale your company, reach the right people, and build that network and build that ecosystem for the larger companies. It's crucial to get everyone on the same page.
And so that's what I really love is like how you take the vision of a regional CEO and actually get everyone on their team to really believe what they're doing and work together to find like, to innovate, to come up with new ideas because maybe they don't have the solutions. That big company doesn't have it, but the smaller ones do.
So I see storytelling as a tool to enable connection, collaboration, partnerships, ecosystem building. I mean, you know, the drill, you're the same. It's about doing podcast, sharing with one another, leveraging off each other to build a stronger ecosystem and really prove the case that together as a system, we're actually going to become super successful and we're growing along with all of our clients for the past ten years, which is amazing.

Jeremy Au: (19:08)
Yeah, I love that. And I think to riff off that, what you made me think about is that from a consumption perspective, I think it's a little bit of a hope that there's actually a path to get a better world, through this route through consuming this rather than that, by going with this company versus that, that's worth something.

Jacqui Hocking: (19:29)
Every product you buy has an impact and it's going to either be negative or it's going to be positive. So you can buy ice cream. The other day I was buying ice cream because I was feeling cheeky and, you know, looking at the different tubs in the supermarket. And I actually wasn't aware that there was B Corp ice cream apart from Ben and Jerry's, as you mentioned.
But I've been trying to be more vegan and vegetarian recently, and I was like trying to find like a vegetarian ice cream. And there was one with a B Corp label. And I was like, Wow, that's amazing. Now I've learned about this new B Corp brand, and that was a nice vegan ice cream, delicious, by the way. And I was like, I know that my purchase of this is supporting their employees, the governance of the company’s legitimate, their legal accountability, their workers, their supply chain.
That's a huge weight off my shoulders. And every time you buy a product, you're making a decision to make an impact either way. So why not make it a positive one?

Jeremy Au: (20:17)
It's a vote for the future that you want to have.

Jacqui Hocking: (20:21)
Yes, exactly. B Corp is making a vote every time you buy.

Jeremy Au: (20:25)
With that in mind, obviously. How do you personally think that vote for the future? How do you think about that tussle? Do you think B Corp is going to be one of many things in the future? Do you think it's going to be like the dominant thing? How do you really think about it?

Jacqui Hocking: (20:42)
Well, two things. First, I think that there you're right, there is sometimes a challenge, let's call it product, that maybe people that start like founders that start purely purpose driven founders may be less inclined to be really focusing on the profit and on the product and on the customer service and all of these things that tech companies are brilliant at.
So, to help the founders see the importance, having excellent customer serving, having a better product, better flavor, I want B Corp companies to outperform on all levels, not just because they're nice and social impact or because they’ve got a good story. I believe that the products can be better quality and the B Corp label actually becomes representative. You're getting like the best for the world, not just best in the world.
And then the second part of that is where I think it's going. I think, yeah, absolutely. People are really familiar with fair trade. Fair trade is pretty common as I think it's one of the world's largest verifications that's a product certification. And so that's really important for the product to be certified. B Corp certifies the entire company right up to even the constitution of the company.
And so I think B Corp will eventually become just common practice, that there will be certified companies everywhere. And you can just make that choice. The ultimate vision of B Lab, which is the nonprofit which verifies the certification process. They actually want to change the law, like change the legal structure of business. And they've done that in many countries around the world.
When you register your business, you can choose to register as a nonprofit, as a for profit, or as a benefit corporation that will benefit everybody, which means that you're legally liable to protect all of your stakeholders, not just your shareholders, because right now most constitutions or the purpose of business is really to give returns to shareholders. So that's ultimately what B Lab is trying to do.
I think that one is maybe a bit further away, but definitely I hope to be one of the first legal B Corp entities in Singapore if we can pass that law here, that would be amazing.

Jeremy Au: (22:43)
On that note, could you share about a time that you have been brave.

Jacqui Hocking: (22:48)
Being someone that has been building companies and just foot on the pedal for so long, for so many years, and to start to finally see that trend tipping towards like everyone kind of is waiting for that moment where their category is going to become mainstream. And so we've been kind of trying to build this category for a really long time and to finally feel that momentum and to feel it happening.
And then for COVID to hit, and to cut your business by like 80% within 24 hours. It was like if there was ever a time to quit, that was my time. Like, that was my moment. Just like take a message from the universe, just take a break. Do something more responsible. Like how on earth; I'm going to have to fire everybody. I'm going have to lose. Like, that was probably one of the worst moments of my life, to be honest, that first kind of month of COVID, I was in complete denial. I don't know about you when COVID first hit, but for me, I was still traveling like crazy right up until they literally cancelled. I remember the last flight was out of Thailand and there was no one in the airport and we got back to Singapore.
I think Singapore went to lockdown shortly afterwards and that's when the reality started to hit. And I think that would have been an excellent time to kind of accept fate that, okay, entrepreneurship is just not your thing, you've just had bad luck, pack up your bags and go get a job for a while until the economy can recover.
To decide not to do that, to make a decision not to fire anyone, not even to reduce anyone's salaries, to just try and find solutions, I think was pretty brave. I don't know if it's stupid or brave, but let's go with brave. That's a bit kinder and once that decision was made, once you kind of look at the fear and you're like, okay, I'm terrified, but let's just see what we can do.
As soon as that decision was made, you call back your partners and then you try and find solutions together. Or you adapt and you find other people or you reach out to other big corp CEOs. We say, What are you doing? There's another company we love in Canada. Like, Hey guys, you're similar industry. You've got all your filmmaking.
You know, we had flights booked every month for the rest of the year. We were going to go and meet with all of our partners, whatever. Everything was cancelled and just phone call after phone call or zoom after zoom of like, let's just treat this like any other problem we have as a founder. And actually, we ended up having our best year from having like thinking we had to close the company, we had our best year and we've actually hired people in the process.
So it's amazing what happens when you really are driven by a sense of what you're doing is important and it's worth kind of overcoming the fear. But I'll be totally honest, I couldn't have done it unless I had the team that I have and the partner that I have. He's also a tech startup founder. Having someone else that gets it and gets your crazy and is okay to go on that ride with you.
Okay, you in? You on the vote or off the boat? It's like, okay, I'm on the boat and then making that decision. I mean, you need to have an army of people supporting you, but yeah, so I consider that pretty brave or crazy.

Jeremy Au: (25:45)
Awesome. I love that story. And let's talk about that pandemic craziness, being on that flight, seeing no one around and not accepting it and all of that. How were you feeling around that time period?

Jacqui Hocking: (25:57)
It was like, okay, okay, this is real now. I'd probably been to Changi every fortnight for years. To suddenly see it empty and to realize it might be a while till I'm back in Changi again. That was really weird. I think I was still in denial, a little bit of shock. But then when I started to really understand what was happening, I was gripped by fear.
None of my blood relatives are here in Singapore. I had no idea when I would be able to see them again. I still haven't seen them. My brothers have little babies and I can't go to visit. So I think I'm just so grateful to be in a country that I'm proud of, to see how people here in Singapore and how the government is really like taking these harsh stances to take care of the society and community.
I mean, it's kind of this weird mix of being, Oh wow, I'm so grateful, but I feel terrible, like I should feel this way. But this is how I feel. And I love how Languishing became a really popular term because that's, I think, what I went through. Like everybody else. Even now, I'm not at full capacity. I'm probably still 60% productivity.
I have a lot more that I could tap into, but I've just been so gentle this last year to just make sure that we implemented so many mental health tools we didn't have them before. The COVID like inspired our team to adopt Safe Space, which is a tech startup here that helps companies kind of onboard mental health access and things like that, which I thought about before, but it wasn't really a priority.
But during COVID, it suddenly became like, Crap, we need to take care of each other. And it's no joke. I know a founder that committed suicide in the last 24 months. I've seen people really struggle with their mental health. So it's not easy. Like I said, I'm brave or crazy. And crazy is a very, very difficult topic for founders to discuss openly.
I'm an open book, as you can probably tell. Yeah, I would say I felt pretty frickin crazy the past 24 months. I'm pretty unstable, but again lucky I have such an amazing support group or army of supporters around me.

Jeremy Au: (27:51)
Yeah, I think it's amazing that in all of that, like you said, the craziness of that pandemic over the past two years, take a while to process that, to adapt, but also evolve and actually overcome. And I'm glad to hear, like you said, with the help of your support system and team and community, to be able to overcome but also thrive; being able to not only preserve but also to keep growing and have the best year ever.

Jacqui Hocking: (28:17)
I wish more people would tell stories of them in the foetal position in the bathroom crying because I mean that would have made a great podcast if you'd interviewed me 12 months ago. Like so many people have had that moment and they think that they're not normal and like, No, no, no, sweetie, it's okay. Everyone's done that at least a few times this year.

Jeremy Au: (28:34)
I think mine was probably this like eating way too much junk food at two or three AM in the morning, I think.

Jacqui Hocking: (28:43)
There's worse things that can happen that seems like an okay coping mechanism.

Jeremy Au: (28:47)
If there's your second or third take out meal of the day, probably. Oh. So Jacqui, I think my last question here is, if you could really go back in time ten years ago, what advice would you have given yourself back then? Back in 2011?

Jacqui Hocking: (29:03)
I don't think I was bold enough. I was so underestimated back then. Like so, so underestimated. No one took it seriously. Like when I talk about all of these trends, like how one day it's going to be worth billions, like no one really got it or a few of our clients did, and some the retention. I'm still working with people from that era and I think what I would have told myself or what I wish I could have been is just to be a bit more bold and a bit more like believing in myself more because I knew it.
Like I knew it at my core that this was the future and this is what was going to happen and I've seen it happen exactly how I thought it was going to happen. It's just I didn't have enough confidence to really step out there. And I wish I could go back and tell myself to, like, get more like coaching or whatever, do the work, do that, all of that insecurity, like for any advice for anyone out there, especially women in business like try to tackle that as early as you can because it saves you a decade of wasting time doubting yourself.
I probably spent the first six or seven years doubting myself that this is legit, that I'm legit. The imposter syndrome thing, it's like, No, no, no, I'm not legitimate. No, legit. Even now, it still hits me every now and then. And it's like, if I could go back 11 years ago and start it, then and say, No, no, no, you're on the right track.
Definitely would have been my advice to just be louder? Don't be afraid of speaking out and believing what you believe in and leading with love when everyone else is trying to be aggressive and talk about sales, marketing, and I can be out there and be just as aggressive and talk about how love is like the best leadership strategy and people will actually listen and that's what they're starting to do.
And we have leaders like Jacinda Ardern that are leading entire countries now. So yeah, I wish I could go back in time and do that.

Jeremy Au: (30:39)
Amazing, Jacqui, thank you so much for sharing. A small tidbit, my daughter's name is Ardern as well, actually.

Jacqui Hocking: (30:45)
Really. After?

Jeremy Au: (30:47)
I had no idea, to be honest, I picked a name and then it turns out, maybe subconsciously, who knew? But turns out.

Jacqui Hocking: (30:54)
Yeah, maybe. Maybe you knew something. Oh, that's awesome. What a great name.

Jeremy Au: (30:59)
So, wrapping things up here, I’ll love to kind of paraphrase the three big themes that I got from this discussion here.
The first is, thank you so much for sharing. I think your passion for B Corps, for sustainability, for changing the world for the better. I think it's just awesome to hear that high energy just comes through our entire discussion. Just seeing that not just show up in terms of experience, but also through I think your actions and through, I think, the insights that you shared.
The second is of course, is thank you so much for I think sharing a lot of advice and how to think about what sustainability and communication means. Because, fundamentally, every consumer is making a dollar vote for the future based on their actions and, similarly, talent is also making a dollar vote for the future based on the companies they choose to join, based on the sustainability practices. And so are the company executives who are choosing to work for a company and not in terms of overhauling their sustainability as well, which is something that we used to discuss in hushed weirdo tones ten years ago to now. Yeah, it's a trend that's going to keep on going because like you said, it's becoming more and more a problem and also because it's becoming more and more of a business and both things need to happen because, like you said, nothing is more unsustainable than bankruptcy.
And I love how you tied it up back to your roots, which is that you had grown up in the childhood where you had to make money to live and it has no shame in not having money.

Jacqui Hocking: (32:23)
Yeah, I think it's actually a blessing. There's nothing to lose.

Jeremy Au: (32:26)
Yeah, exactly. And lastly, thank you so much for, I think sharing some of that raw honesty around the pandemic about how crazy it was. You change your lifestyle from a place where Changi was your second home. The shock of that, changing your routines, how that changed your order of magnitude smaller than it was initially, but then you eventually building it up with the support of your community and friends and a team to be better than ever.
Such an incredible story and thank you so much for sharing all of that, Jacqui, for all the folks out there.

Jacqui Hocking: (32:56)
Thank you so much, Jeremy. And it's so nice to see you again and I look forward to seeing you again at the Impact Hub when it relaunches again in Singapore.

Jeremy Au: (33:04)
Looking forward to it as well. See you around Jacqui.

Jacqui Hocking: (33:07)
Thank you. Bye.