A Day In The Life Of: Lily Lapenna

The Founder and Co-Chair of global social enterprise MyBnk, Lily Lapenna is one woman who knows what she’s talking about. Recognised as a Young Global Leader by The World Economic Forum, she now works as a consultant, speaker and business coach – not forgetting she’s also a mother to two toddlers. Here’s what she has to say on her

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF IN APPROXIMATELY THREE SENTENCES…

Seriel entrepreneur, crazy about social impact, Mami of two amazing children, wife that falls in love with her husband again and again, ocean lover.

WHAT TIME DOES YOUR ALARM GO OFF, AND WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP?

I don’t need an alarm, as I have a five and three year old who wake me up way too early! We cuddle a lot and as they usually have far more morning energy than me, they drag me out of bed. I have my first cup of English breakfast tea and check in with my orchids by opening the blinds so they get some morning sunlight. I do a 7 minute work out with my children, high knees really crack them up, I am not sure why! Then my husband, who is the better cook, makes us breakfast.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING WARDROBE? WHAT ARE YOUR FASHION STAPLES – THE PIECES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING?

I expect alot from my wardrobe; it has to be edgy, colourful and full of ethics! I like clothes that have stories to tell and that connect me to the wonderful people who make them. I walk into my wardrobe and I think “Okay whose turn is it today? Is playful Lily choosing the outfit or is it kickass Lily, overachiever Lily or wise Lily?” Depending on what work event or family commitment I have, I choose a different part of my personality to dress me.

Living in Los Angles, I go for colours that make me smile all day long like peacock electric blue, purple and turquoise. White shirts are my staples!

Shop your earth-friendly work wardrobe here…

 

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I start my working day from my home office with my European and Asian clients from 7am until midday, then I engage with my US clients. I run a leadership coaching and consulting business, a team of great consultants and coaches work with me to help our clients overcome limiting patterns, become more resilient and perform beyond expectation. Lunch is with hubby in the garden if he is not on a film set somewhere in Canada – we eat leftovers and talk about endless family to do lists or the latest on Trump. At least 3 times a week I pick up the kids from school and have fun time with them all afternoon. Evenings can be anything from watching ‘This is Us’ in bed to film parties (my husband is a director) or exciting social impact events where I get charged up and leave full of hope.

HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY IN YOUR CAREER?

I was and still am frustrated at the unfairness of the world. The postcode lottery favoured me, I was born into a part of the world, a neighbourhood and a family that had a lot of privileges. I got to go to good schools, to travel, to enjoy a safe environment. I couldn’t digest the fact that this was not the case for all people and that frustrated energy got me out of bed everyday and got me to volunteer and then to work in international development all over the world. It then got me to set up MyBnk.org to fight for what I felt was a right we all had: the right to a money education. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, knowing how to manage it can make a huge difference to your life. The better money educated you are, the more money can work for rather than against you.

WHICH ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Founding the MyBnk where we supported over 200,000 young people to become financially literate, included and empowered. We also lobbied the UK government to bring Financial Education into the school curriculum and it worked, so now all young people receive basic financial education and it really makes a difference!

I get excited by the impact of education, so I love my role as lecturer and adviser at Occidental University in Los Angeles and at Oxford University in the UK. I teach about social impact and entrepreneurship. Basically how do you make a living making a difference and how do you build businesses that address the big challenges we face today?

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST WORK CHALLENGE TO DATE?

My work challenges have always been linked to my inner world challenges. Becoming more self aware and working on my psychological wellbeing has given my work flow, freedom and has produced great results. I believe that we bring ourselves to work. Our behavioural patterns, sub personalities and the way in which we deal with emotions, can get in the way of our work or can enable our work. This is what I work on with many of my clients and I have found that the greatest professional challenges and the greatest oppertunities mostly lie within us.

 

IF YOU WEREN’T IN YOUR CURRENT PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

I would be a competitive salsa dancer.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN LOOKING TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?

  • Speak to others who are doing it, find your community.
  • Just start, don’t wait for the 5 year business plan.
  • Enjoy the process more than the outcomes, the process is your everyday make it meaningful, even fun.
  • You never know what you are capable of until you try, try often, try again, fall in love with trying.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE?

“I don’t know the solution but I admire the problem.”

I like the idea of looking at challenges and problems with a sense of admiration and resolution. It has certainly helped me. I found this quote in a fortune cookie days before setting up my first business. I keep it in the top drawer of every office I have had since 2007.

Like what you see? Subscribe to our newsletter. If you’ve enjoyed our conversation with Lily Lapenna, you might also enjoy reading Miroslava Duma Talks Sustainable Tech and The Future of Fashion and Positive Luxury Meets: Lucy Williams of Fashion Me Now

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