Sophie Wade

Helping People And Corporations Move Into The New World Of Work

Q&A With Sophie Wade

What attracted you to the BIF Summit?

I met Rabbi Irwin Kula at an event, and we spoke about the transformation of workplace relationships, which he likened to the transformation of relationships via religion. Then he mentioned the BIF Summit to me. He told me the Summit is a fascinating event about the whole idea of transformation and innovation. He described the way Summit is done, with a cross-pollination of the audience, and it rang very very true with me.

Tell us just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

I realized that the reason I’m qualified to in writing my book Embracing Progress: Next Steps For The Future Of Work, is that I‘m one of the original “millennials.” I lived and worked in five different countries. I studied Chinese and moved to Hong Kong. There was definitely a logic to what I did, across a spectrum of technology and media. But I had a very diversified career, the kind people are now moving into. So it’s easy for me to understand the desire to live and learn and constantly be learning and open to change.

These days, you won’t stay at one organization for 30 years. And as you go through these work changes, there’s a huge opportunity for individual innovation, to understanding who you are and how you’re interacting with the world. Everyone will need to look at themselves, and become more self-directed and self-managed.

A huge amount of innovation is still needed to support these changes in the workplace. VCs are investing in new companies that will create credit lines for freelancers, “back end” operations for freelancers, and more.

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

Sharing stories is a way to make a connection on a personal basis, to help people relate to you as a person, and to connect in different ways. We can hide behind all kinds of data, numbers, and research. But if you’re making me tell my story you make me open up, and that opening up makes other people share as well.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

I do. “Embrace progress”, which is the title of my book. And, “onwards and upwards.” Where we’re going isn’t either onward or upward, but both. That helps deflect the idea that this is a scary lot of change.

What's one thing (or more, if you like) would you like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

As we all bring our whole selves to work, we’ll find out people are quirky and wonderful. But managers haven’t been coached on how to deal with quirky and wonderful people. Boomers and Generation Xers won’t understand what’s going on. We’ll need a lot more coaching and mentoring relationships to help us muddle through this.

I use the technological term “messy” to describe the future of work. People will be messy, situations will be messy. We need to get comfortable with that. And — my book has a lot of dense information, but it has cartoons as well.