Roser Preuss

Can you tell me about your background and your career prior to On Purpose?

Prior to my time with On Purpose I worked at Sainsbury’s in Supply Chain Strategy, where I used data to find insights on how to improve our supply chain. Following my position with Sainsbury's, I joined Palantir, a tech firm that specialises in data and helps their clients integrate data, decisions, and operations.

What are you doing now?

I am staying on at my second placement at Village Capital , where I’ll be working on internal change projects, including Village Capital’s diversity, equity and inclusion roadmap. This includes a project around the benchmarking of employee representation. I’ll also be supporting the organisation’s growth by developing and documenting key processes. 

How did you feel in your work before you decided to make a change?

I felt disconnected from the purpose of my work. I was constantly questioning the why - why I was working, for what? I felt limited in my work and wanted to open up my perspective to roles much more focused on social or environmental impact. I also felt that I had stalled in learning. On Purpose helped me broaden my horizon and learn a multitude of new things.

At what moment did you decide to make the change?

It all began towards the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, around March/April 2020. I had left my old job at Palantir and was looking for a new opportunity. For me, the pandemic was a wake up call. I realised I wanted to move my career to something more purposeful. I had known about the On Purpose programme for about a year, as my sister had completed it and, having seen her personal transformation and the positive impact on her mindset and path of life, I knew it was the right time to apply and make that change. 

Why did you join the On Purpose Associate Programme?

I wanted to change my career path and On Purpose was a really supportive way of doing that. I knew of the powerful impact that the cohort, the training and development opportunities would have on my mindset and was sure the programme would allow me to safely expand my horizon and try out something completely new and different. I felt that the programme provided a good safety net to its Associates to take this leap. 

What was the most difficult thing about making this change?

I was worried I wouldn't enjoy the On Purpose Associate programme as much as other people did or thought I would. I was also concerned that I would complete the programme not knowing what to do next or how to find the next job. The uncertainty of the situation worried me.

Can you tell me more about your placements?

My first placement was at Cotswold Fayre, a fine food wholesaler and a founding B Corp in the UK. During my time there, I worked to measure and improve the environmental sustainability of Cotswold Fayre’s suppliers. I worked closely with suppliers to measure their environmental and ecological impact and supported some of them on their path to becoming a B Corp.

My second placement was with Village Capital, an organisation that supports impact-driven, seed-stage startups. Here I primarily worked on internal change projects for the EMEAA region, specifically looking at the wellness of the region, on standardising processes and also supporting the strategy development for the region.  

What’s the most important thing you learnt during your year as an Associate?

One important thing I learnt to recognise is the power of business to create the needed paradigm shift away from maximising shareholder value, towards creating value for all stakeholders, including the planet and humanity. The training provided by On Purpose on systems change helped my understanding on this. My placement with Cotswold Fayre also allowed me to realise that using business as a force for good to benefit both people and the planet is possible and organisations like this do exist. On a personal level, I also learnt to reevaluate my priorities to change the way I live. 

What support did you get along the way?

I received a lot of support from my immediate cohort. During the programme we formed accountability groups and they've been and still are one of the biggest support mechanisms. The On Purpose core team were instrumental in introducing me to the programme and facilitating connections with Fellows. Furthermore, both my coach and mentors were a big support tool and created space for me to explore my mindset, helped me develop and build my confidence and navigate a couple of big life changes. My mentors were also particularly helpful in ensuring placement success. The power of this network that you get access to as an On Purpose Associate really is one of the biggest selling points of the programme. I am now part of an amazing group of human beings that are doing impactful things in the world and who I can always reach out to. 

How did your year with On Purpose set you up for your new career?

It equipped me with the right mindset and tools to navigate through future career changes. The programme gave me a broader perspective and better understanding and knowledge of what is affecting our planet right now. It also gave me inspiration and the motivation to work on these issues. The Associate programme also equipped me with an open mindset and helped me deal with the fears of what may be next. It really opened my eyes to different career pathways - for instance, I am currently training to become a B Leader (course which trains sustainability professionals to guide businesses through B Corp certification).

What advice would you give to others in a similar situation?

Apply for On Purpose. Just do it. It’s an incredibly positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone considering it. Go on the Associate Programme with a very open mind and allow the experiences to shape you and just see what happens. 

What do you miss about your old career, and what don’t you miss?

I miss the financial security and working with the smartest people. I don't miss feeling disconnected from the purpose of what I do every day. I don't miss flying every week and living an unsustainable lifestyle. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The motivation to create change in the world. To work on key issues of our time with an incredible team of people. To lead and facilitate change and to make this world a better place.