Cecilia Crossley

Social Entrepreneur and Founder of From babies with Love

What was your main motivation to carve your organisation with a social conscience?Business can be a powerful agent of change in preventing and addressing the world’s social and environmental issues; I saw an opportunity to create one example of how it can be done.

How do you tackle the highs and lows of running an organisation?
My blood type is B+ (positive) and my husband says this sums me up! I’ve trained myself in switching off, I think this is important for balance – it’s true what people say, starting a business is like having another child, always on your mind.

What is the one book we should read, or podcast we should listen to or piece of art we should encounter to better understand the world of early years?
Storybrand, by Don Miller. It’s a simple theory of marketing that I think is highly applicable to all social enterprises and have found it very helpful in designing how we communicate.

What are you interested in that most people aren’t and should be?
Circular and regenerative economic models, for people and planet. They are the future of business.

What’s a project you’ve dreamed about but haven’t started yet?
Creating my children’s baby photo albums. My eldest is 10 this year!!!

What’s the most ridiculous think you have ever done in the name of work?
This could be a hilarious thesis on what founders do, when they do what needs doing! To pick one thing… unloading, by hand, an articulated lorry that pulled up on my residential road, full of pallets of stock, during a crisis in our warehouse arrangements. It was too comical to cry!

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

Just for fun – If someone made a film of your work, who would you ask to play you?Baloo the bear.

Tea or G and T?
Can I add a Long Island Ice Tea to the mix?

Social Enterprise during a Pandemic…

What impact did this have on your day job and how did you adapt?
The biggest impact has been home-schooling; my husband and I are shift working during the day, catching up in the evenings/weekends. I feel very lucky that we can both work flexibility, it’s a privilege, and I hope something positive from the pandemic will be a cultural change that sees more people able to work flexibly.

What are the big challenges you have faced / are facing as the pandemic continues?
The biggest challenge is for the vulnerable children From Babies with Love supports. Schools and learning centres are suspended, just as they are here, and in some places where they live social distancing is very difficult (think of refugee camps) and hygiene infrastructure is basic – a challenge pre-pandemic let alone with a pandemic. Hunger and starvation is an immediate risk – caused by lockdown and not being able to work, meaning families don’t have money to feed their children. I heard in some places, people are eating their pets.

What acts of kindness have you seen or shown that have made you smile recently?
I loved seeing Ikea give their car park to a Muslim community so that they could pray together, using the parking space lines to guide their social distancing.

What has this crisis taught you – both professionally and on a personal level?
A big part of me feels that the time I’ve had home-schooling is a blessing – yes it creates work stress – but I’ve had a wonderful insight in to what and how my boys are learning. I’ve learned more about their strengths, frustrations, and how much we all take school for granted. In my work, this helps me appreciate just how important Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education for all) is to breaking children out of the cycle of poverty.