Executive Director, Positive Money
Fran lives on the fourth floor of a tower block in Hackney. From here, she can see the soaring skyscrapers of the City of London and Canary Wharf. Every day she looks at them and thinks “I’m coming to get you”.
Fran studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and went on to complete a PhD researching carbon dioxide storage. She became interested in economics and money creation after realising that the huge environmental and inequality crises we face could not easily be fixed without rethinking how the current economic system works, and how to redesign it.
She now works as Positive Money’s Executive Director and, for her, being able to make change happen feels like a privilege: “I think many people know our banking sector is not fit for purpose, but not many people get to try to change it for their job”.
Positive Money is a movement for a money and banking system that works for society rather than against it. It is campaigning for systemic change that supports a fair, democratic, and sustainable economy.
“With my team, we think of innovative ways to keep the momentum of a campaign going. If we aren’t inspired, others won’t be either, so we have to think about new ways of trying to reach our goal, whether that is starting a petition or doing a media stunt outside of the Bank of England. Creativity and energy are two crucial ingredients,” she says.
And judging by the successes the campaign has achieved since Fran became Executive Director in 2013, the team does not lack in creativity and energy.
Back in 2013, Positive Money was four people. By the end of 2017, it will have more than tripled in size. The organisation has secured major funding for the coming years, and has gained traction in the media, with increasing press coverage in several major press and TV channels.
In November 2014, Positive Money partnered with Steve Baker (conservative MP for Wycombe) and four other MPs spanning four parties to secure a debate on Money Creation and Society – the first of its kind in the Houses of Parliament. “We worked very hard to get MPs along. The debate resulted in more credibility for the organisation. It helped catalyse our energy” says Fran.
Fran attended the Influencing Change course in 2013 in London, where the coaching sessions helped her to develop the organisation’s new strategy: “The course helped me to decide where we were going to deploy our resources, and to step into new territories. It was a catalyst to try out new things”.
The course also helped to boost Fran’s confidence. “There are so many paths do go down in campaigning” she says “Having different campaigning tools explained in a comprehensive way was really helpful. It gave me the self-belief to experiment with new tactics, while providing reassurance that I was on the right track with what I was doing”.
Following the course, Fran felt ready to deploy more resource into policy work with parliament, and decided to recruit for a policy and advocacy officer as a result. “I also developed a new media strategy, which became more sophisticated,” she explains. “It all started through the Influencing Change course”.
What was the best thing about the ‘Influencing Change’ course?
“It was a massive confidence boost.”
Why would you recommend it to someone else?
“If you want an overview about all the tools in a campaigner’s toolkit, and how to use them – from strategy development to twitter – this is the course for you. It’s jam-packed with content to equip any campaigner with the knowledge and expertise to run a successful campaign”.
Your one piece of advice for someone else trying to achieve change?
“Don’t do anything you aren’t excited about yourself. Your energy and enthusiasm will rub off on other people you want to engage. Keep focussing on the goal, and don’t let setbacks get you down.”