Overseeing the transformation of Forest Green Rovers into ‘the greenest football club in the world’ may not seem like the work of a trained Food Technologist but, like most of Helen Taylor’s diverse career, it’s symptomatic of a desire to make a difference.
Everything she does is to help people and the planet become more sustainable and inclusive.
“I use my tenaciousness, high energy and love for meeting and connecting people to try and evoke change” she said.
And, after almost 30 years helping businesses and charities further their missions, it was these qualities that saw Helen found her own company – One Blue Marble.
Helen started out in quality management learning about supply chains from farm to shelf and the challenges producers face in meeting stringent supply specifications in the food industry.
In 1999, during the height of growth for the UK’s organic sector, Helen began her sustainability career by joining the Soil Association in Bristol. Over the next decade, Helen directed the certification of organic food processing, beauty, and textile products for the organisation.
She established and ran a Business Development function to support companies wanting to go organic too - all the while working to ensure that farmers and growers who’d invested in the transition to organic production had a secure market.
Frustrated with the need for more marketing of the benefits of organic products, Helen moved into managing the conferences, campaigns, and public events for the Soil Association’s charity arm. And, in 2008 she went on to become the charity’s Development Director successfully leading fundraising activities with Patrick Holden, then CEO of the Soil Association.
It wasn’t until 2010 that green energy and, shortly after, green football offered Helen a new challenge altogether.
Joining Dale Vince’s team at Ecotricity, meant Helen was able to further the company’s mission to create a Green Britain by representing Dale and the business at events, conferences and meetings.
Ecotricity got involved with Forest Green Rovers at a time when the club was struggling financially. After providing initial financial support, Dale offered to take a greater stake in the club as Chairman. In 2017 Helen found herself as CEO of the football club.
She said: “All the things we believe in with Ecotricity are really difficult to translate through the energy side of the business alone...”
“You can see bits of it, the electric charging points for example. But it didn’t all come together anywhere. So, we suddenly thought, well yes, FGR could be a physical manifestation of what we believe in. People could come and find out, learn, experience things and, perhaps, be inspired to do more.”
By 2018, Helen, now an established change-maker, created One Blue Marble to help businesses and charities accelerate their cause, support them to create a sustainable future, and make real change.
As well as Ecotricity and Forest Green Rovers, One Blue marble’s clients include: Sea Shepherd UK, Sustainable Food Trust, Catalyse Change, the Health and Wellbeing Trust and Positive News.
Helen was nominated by Dr Anthony Samuel.