I feel a sense of responsibility to do my bit and pay back to society from the gratitude that I have

October 30th 2019

Over the last two weeks we have been sharing our thoughts about the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are the thoughts of Pamela Doherty, AxiaOrigin Co-founder and CEO, on the SDG she values most.

Firstly – tell me what your favourite SDG is!

10. Reduced inequalities

And of all 17 SDGs, at a high level why is this one so important to you?

For me, it encompasses the sentiments of many of the other SDGs. It states that everyone everywhere should have equality of access to opportunity in all its forms – education, respect for life, career, irrespective of the labels people put on you.

Inequality exists everywhere. It’s something that we can all connect with.

There are many aspects of my life that could have held me back.  I don’t follow the statistical norms and that’s one of the reasons why I detest stereotyping and biases that can create barriers for individuals and sectors of our community.  I was a free school meals child (called pupil premium these days) but I’ve operated at Board level for the last 10 years. I came from a broken home, but I’m a centred, supportive, emotional intelligent member of my family and business leader.  I left school and started work at 17 with only my O Levels but I’ve had an incredible career and made several career transitions.

And how do you feel that you can impact on the delivery of this goal – at an international, national or local level?

Throughout my career in the corporate world I’ve tried to make a difference to people’s lives through mentoring, support and setting the right tone from the top.  This is an area that every leader needs to question: what am I doing to enable equality of opportunity? And it will in turn help you optimize your business results by having, developing and working alongside the best mix of people.

As the leader of AxiaOrigin I am putting into practice everything I have learnt and also what I believe in.  We have a fabulous, talented and diverse team which I intend to grow with the same principles. We celebrate and talk about our differences and rely on each other to deliver our work. I intend for AxiaOrigin to be a beacon for diversity, equality and inclusion for other leaders and organisations. This is not just about how we treat people internally.  It also extends to how we work with clients as well. In my experience, you can’t embed strategic changes without everyone involved being their best, feeling respected and working as an effective team.

And what are you hoping to do about it first?

I’m very aware of the society around me whether its my own family roots, the community I live in or the societal challenges that we all see around us every day.  I feel a sense of responsibility to do my bit and pay back to society from the gratitude that I have.

Almost everything we do at AxiaOrigin has a connection to the SDG’s. One of the things I’ve recently started is a mentoring group for female leaders in Leeds – open to anyone to attend at no cost. I’ve been a mentor for many years now and received great feedback from my mentees. I’d like to create an environment where we can talk, share and learn from each other.  I have much to share from my 10 years at Board level, 30 years of work experience and 50 years of life experience. If successful, I’d like to grow this programme to include mentoring for young people.

Within AxiaOrigin I’m also helping business leaders with their Diversity and Inclusion challenges – helping to answer questions like “What is the perception of my industry?” as a way of helping organisations break down barriers to bringing in diverse talent.

Have you given any thought to the challenges that you might face along the way? Tell me a little about your thoughts if you have – along with how you might overcome them.

We’re doing things a little differently at AxiaOrigin, so I’m sure there’ll be lots of questions and conversation along the way.  The thing is, we want to help leaders by producing meaningful work that answers their toughest questions. If we’re not the right people to do it, we will be the first to say it.  If we are, we will deliver with you and we’ll have a fantastic experience along the way.

And finally, any words of advice for anyone reading this that feels inspired by what they’ve heard you say?

I’d love to get to a day when we don’t use labels of race, ethnicity and religion because there is equality – we see the person and the soul of that person rather than the thing that sets us apart from each other physically.

“Reducing Inequality” is just one of the SDGs. I like to see the SDG’s as a gift to help solve this and many other global challenges. They present a helpful yet imperfect framework to channel and structure all our efforts to create a more resilient and prosperous world, and eliminate inequality in all its forms.

On reading this article back for the last time before publishing I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose and drive to inspire others, encourage everyone to be their vulnerable best and for all of us to take on the responsibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Pamela Doherty | Co-founder and CEO