30 Under 30: Lauren CurrieWritten by The Young Women's Movement
If you’re in your early 20s, you might be struggling to find a job that suits you. Or struggling to find a job at all. You have all of these skills (yes, you do, there’s no question there), but what if there doesn’t seem to be a job out there where you can make the most of them?
Our advice? Take a leaf out of 29 year old entrepreneur Lauren Currie’s book and create your own.
At just 23 Lauren co-founded Snook, now a leading service design agency based in Glasgow and London. It’s a group of designers, researchers, and strategists who use design to public services better , making all of those everyday services we all use (banking, tax returns, getting exam results) run just a little bit smoother.
‘Our first project was with the police, which is a very male-oriented, hierarchical profession, and here we were, two 23 year old women talking to them about digital and social media, and essentially telling them “here’s a new way to talk to the citizens you serve.” That was hard work.’
Um, no kidding! And even after successfully co-founding a business and seeing it become a leading name in the industry, Lauren has kept going. She left her business in 2014 and moved to Manchester to design one of the world’s first MA’s in service design.
She’s currently based in London and splits her time between The Good Lab, working with 12 of the UK’s largest charities to build new ways to raise money for good causes, and #upfront, a movement that she recently founded to force stages around the world to be more diverse and accessible (with a particular focus on getting more women up and speaking – yes please!)
Although Lauren is no longer living in Scotland, she says that it was an emotionally traumatic decision to leave but one that was right for her and her development. One thing’s for sure, though, she’s always going to have a strong connection to her home country:
‘Supporting, encouraging and hopefully inspiring women in Scotland is something that really drives me to do what I do.’
Talking to Lauren, her passion for helping women succeed is clear. Each initiative that she has undertaken, business that she has founded, talk she has given, movement she has started – they all share the same desire to help the next generation of inspiring young women.
‘One thing I’ve found is that there’s no gender bias when it comes to those who make barriers for you and those who open doors, but I think it’s vital women support other women. You can’t be what you can’t see. We all need to step up and show up to show the next generation what’s possible.”
This is particularly significant in the entrepreneurial world, something that Lauren is increasingly aware of – she tells us that the balance between her ambitions to one day become a mum and maintaining the same and time to do good work is something that she finds herself thinking about a lot.
‘The reality is that the system we operate in wasn’t built with women mind. The view of entrepreneurship being about the person who eats the least and sleeps the least wins is very harmful – this model doesn’t work for any for any of us who want to have a balanced life. So how do we change the system? How do we change these norms?’
So it’s safe to say that Lauren’s dreams, which have always been big, are only getting bigger over time. What does she want to see over the next few years? Oh, you know, only that #upfront becomes a mainstream movement, that everyone feels confident and able to tell their own story, and that the number of women identifying as feminist increases. She is on the hunt for women and who regularly speak at events to be #upfront and share their stage and of course if you organise events – your next one should be #upfront!
We love a woman that aims straight for the top! And whose goal is to make the world better with everything she does:
‘It’s really important to me to tell the story that you can do work that does good and makes money at the same time – too may people think you have to choose between one or the other’
A standing ovation for Lauren Currie!
In her own words...
Find out all about Lauren’s amazing and ever-growing list of projects, including The Good Lab and #upfront, on her website (she updates her blog regularly, definitely worth checking out!). You can also connect with her on Twitter at @Redjotter