• Felicity Jones

    Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones

Marketing / Strategy Advisor

5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Kindness is not a weakness

  • It’s OK to be obsessive about learning languages – and it helps to make friends and connections across cultures

  • Don’t let others judge you superficially (people assume a lot when you are called Felicity…) but don’t do that to anybody else either

  • Follow your gut – about where you live, what you do, what you eat, and who you share your life and energies with

  • Don’t ever dye your hair platinum blonde again (you will always be more of a brunette….)

About me

As a teenager…

I never felt there was a category for me. I was sporty (I played hockey for the North of England), but I was also classed as gifted academically. Those two things weren’t meant to go together and I ended up with two very different circles who didn’t have much in common.

The place that did help me put it all together was at school – or rather with some amazing school teachers. I saw how good teachers and mentors can also see through to the real you.

I can still see Mrs Plane in her purple 1970s jumpsuit who was teaching me German but also knew that my home life was quite chaotic and difficult. She would stay chatting after school with me, gently checking through discussions about German exchanges and how to make Lebkuchen how things were at home.

I was also constantly attaching myself to friends’ families and looking back I see how I lucky I was that they were all kind and loving people. Others are not so fortunate.

For ages I wanted to be an interpreter, but in the end I decided that I wanted to produce my own ideas not translate others’…

After school…

I left home and immediately became a vegetarian! I had always said I didn’t like meat but this was the 1970s and 1980s on the Fylde coast and there weren’t many role models so my parents waited for me to grow out of it. After 12 years of digging meat and fish out of my food, I still wanted to be vegetarian and over 30 years later I still am.

I went to Edinburgh University to study History and Languages. I had no idea if I wanted to study history or languages. So I went to there as I didn’t have to decide for 2 years…

In the end, I specialised in French history and went on to do a PhD on medieval France. I also fell in love with the city and it’s still one of my favourite places to visit. I also worked in so many jobs to be able to stay in the city and study, including a summer working in Wimpy and leading ghost tours. Really every experience was worth it as I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.

Now I’m…

After lecturing in history for a few years, I decided to be more involved in organisations working on current issues as I was already involved in my spare time in lots of environmental and Fairtrade groups.
I had no idea it was a career path, but I became a fundraiser for international development and social justice, working for many years at the LSE (www.lse.ac.uk) where I found the deep love for Africa which has carried on into my work today. I worked with the most inspirational people including the late great Professor Thandika Mkandawire, who had been made stateless by Malawi when he was a student in the UK. He went on to be LSE’s first Professor in African Development and taught me that the best work is often done over lunch.

I also went to Rwanda, over a decade after the genocide there. We were putting on an international conference on climate change and human rights and I got on the wrong bus! I ended up with all the Rwandan staff not the international delegates and because I could speak French I spent the rest of the day talking to them all about their experiences and their hopes for the future. It made me think back to my French teacher, Miss Wilkie, who had sown those seeds so many years ago.

In 2020, I set up my own company Thinking Philanthropy, followed by SDG Changemakers with my business partner Claire (www.sdgchangemakers.today). We now work with innovative start-ups, social enterprises and charities who are not hanging round and who really want to build a better world for everyone. Like E2M!