Women Leaders in Sustainability: Sheri-Leigh Miles, NETpositive Futures

Sheri-Leigh is a Director of NETpositive Futures and has worked in the sustainability sector for over 15 years creating and delivering practical approaches to implementation across a range of business, charity and public-sector environments.


Her focus is on creating meaningful engagement opportunities and measuring the ‘hard-to-measure’; ideally at the same time!


1.    What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to get you where you are today? (what tips can you share from that experience?)


·      Having a name no-one can pronounce (and that would really be better suited to an American line-dancing teacher)

TIP: Have an alternative name for use when it doesn’t matter (my coffeeshop name is Jo)


·      Not fitting comfortably in any given ‘box’

TIP: Realise you are infinitely better off not in a box and look for the others roaming free (they are much more interesting anyway)


·      Understanding expectations in relation to dress code

TIP: Be like Dr Who; have one outfit, wear it everywhere, lower expectations that you understand what ‘formal business attire’ actually is


2.    How can women have more impact and influence in the workplace?


·      Better understand what impact is and how to communicate it in their own context.

·      Find allies and collaborate to unlock influence

·      Moan less


3.    We know that gender parity is essential for creating the positive sustainable world we’re all working for (SDG 5). What action(s) would make the biggest difference here in your sector?


·      Ensuring a consistent approach is going to be critical for any sector. The starting point has to be finding a way of gathering the positive activity that is already happening, so we can establish not only a baseline but also share excellent practice more effectively. We have been working to ensure all our clients understand how they are already contributing so they can develop plans to do more and/or address gaps. That first step is always the hardest and that also gets things moving.


4.    What successes have you witnessed over the past year that we should all be celebrating?


·      A brilliant collaboration in the Higher Education Sector I’ve been working on is helping to demonstrate how the £11bn spent by Universities can demonstrate a positive contribution at the same time as supporting and strengthening its supply chain. I don’t say it lightly, but we have done something quite special and I’m looking forward to sharing that success more widely during 2018.


5.    When it feels like the world is going crazy, what keeps your vision and passion alive?

·      I take the Brownie Guide Promise* I made Age 6 very seriously**

·      A keen sense of humour


* “I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and help other people and keep the Brownie Guide Law”

** Possibly not the God/Queen bits