Ali Alvarez on love, resilience and courage to challenge convention

Have you seen the monarch butterfly migration in Mexico?

300 million butterflies arriving in Mexico during day of the dead.

And this is where we start our story talking about my friend Ali Alvarez. Mexican-born, LA-raised, and London-molded.

She started as a professional horse jumper and then went on to build a creative career in advertising and film-making.

And while she was juggling work in advertising, and working on her butterfly film, something happened to her that changed everything.

A traumatic head injury from a horse-riding accident one Sunday afternoon where she lost her memory and the ability on her right side to move.

Ali tells us about what happened after that fateful day.

When she got her memory back.

And then what she did from there.

She talks about how she went back to finish the film and how it healed her.

We talk about love, her inspiring family, and the power of being able to be herself and create the life she wanted to create.

She tells us the three things that have kept her together in really challenging times.

And then we finish having a conversation about how we can all make a difference in our own unique way – whatever form that may take.

This is an inspiring story of what happens when someone lives their life with conviction, determination, and love.

So grab that favourite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and enjoy this conversation with Ali.

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

To find out more about Ali and her work you can click alialvarez.com

And to check out the incredible stop frame animation film Ali, Cali Oliver, Bart Yates and Joseph Mann made for TIE in 2010, click here

00:00:02:05 – 00:00:27:03
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we unearth new ways of looking at ever evolving lights around the world. Seen from a number of different industries, cultures and backgrounds. But there’s one thing that unites everyone I speak to. They all want to do their part to make the world better in their own unique ways. It’s a uniting passion. Whether they’re from the commercial world, third sector or public sector from the Global North or the global south.

00:00:27:15 – 00:01:09:18
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. Hello and welcome to episode 60 of TIE Unearthed. Today we’re speaking with Ali Alvarez, a friend of mine who I met in London many moons ago while both of us were working in L.A.. She’s Mexican, born L.A., raised in London, molded. And she’s had an incredible path. She started as a professional horse jumper and then went on to build a creative career in advertising and filmmaking, working as a creative at Mother and Fallin and then executive creative director and partner at Brooklyn Brothers.

00:01:10:08 – 00:01:43:01
Philippa White
Her work has been recognized at Cannes DNA de MTV Music Awards, the Webbys, the Emmys, the British Museum, and film festivals around the world. But then one day, she almost lost it all from a traumatic brain injury in a horse riding accident. She had to relearn everything and then healed herself by making an award winning documentary. She’s now back in the world of advertising as chief creative officer of the L.A. Shop Almost.

00:01:43:14 – 00:02:09:18
Philippa White
This is a story of resilience. Challenging the system, fighting against convention, and showing where sheer determination can take you. And that love conquers all. Ali is a true inspiration, and I can’t wait for you to have a chance to hear her story. So grab that favorite beverage or throw on those running shoes. And here is my lovely friend Ali.

00:02:11:17 – 00:02:16:15
Philippa White
By Ali. It is so nice to have you with us. And we finally made it happen.

00:02:17:11 – 00:02:20:02
Ali Alvarez
Thank you for being patient.

00:02:21:02 – 00:02:27:11
Philippa White
Life is busy. I know life is busy. And you’ve obviously just done a big move. So tell our listeners, where are you right now?

00:02:27:22 – 00:02:40:14
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, I’m in L.A. Life is busy, but I’m trying not to keep I’m trying not to be busy. I hate that word. But we just moved from London to L.A., where I grew up. Then in London, 20 years. 20 years is.

00:02:40:20 – 00:02:41:18
Philippa White
A long time.

00:02:41:19 – 00:02:54:21
Ali Alvarez
Yeah. And so I was moved back to L.A. after 20 years away to be closer to my father. I grew up here mostly from the age of 6 to 25, so weirdly had been in London the same amount of time as I’d been in here.

00:02:54:21 – 00:03:15:12
Philippa White
So it isn’t it it’s funny, I think your move to London was similar to the time that I moved to London, but I’ve now been in Brazil also, I think now longer than I’ve lived anywhere. It’s weird when that happens, when you kind of make that switch and you’re like, Oh my God, that’s crazy. Particularly when you’re somebody who’s moved around.

00:03:16:00 – 00:03:20:07
Ali Alvarez
Yeah. And then you go, Where’s that? Where’s home? Right. And that’s the first thing ever when I see like, where’s home?

00:03:20:16 – 00:03:27:13
Philippa White
Where are you from? Totally. I have that too. So sitting with Frida in the background, I can see.

00:03:28:11 – 00:03:28:23
Ali Alvarez
The dog.

00:03:29:07 – 00:03:37:17
Philippa White
Breed of dog. Oh. So tell us about you, your background, and what you do. What’s your story?

00:03:37:20 – 00:03:40:12
Ali Alvarez
What do I have? Like, this very L.A. question?

00:03:40:20 – 00:03:44:21
Philippa White
It is, isn’t it? Yeah. Hi. Let’s have a martini. What do you do?

00:03:45:18 – 00:04:07:24
Ali Alvarez
At the moment, I’m working as. Here’s a very fancy title. At the moment, I’m working as the chief creative officer at a little independent agency here in L.A. called Omelet. There are about 50 people I’ve been in the advertising world for as long as I was in London. So 20 years I have worked in the business in various guises, as you know, different chapters.

00:04:08:05 – 00:04:11:19
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, before that I was a professional horseman.

00:04:12:03 – 00:04:16:21
Philippa White
Oh, my gosh. I didn’t actually know you were a professional. Well, this is why.

00:04:16:21 – 00:04:43:10
Ali Alvarez
When we talk about the accident, it’s important because I used to ride horses professionally. I used to show jump. I used to get paid to run and jump horses on big fences and train other people. And as I did, I did that from like 11 to 22. I turned professional, semi-pro at 16, professional at 18, did it for like four years and then decided my childhood thing became a job and it really ruined it for me, to be honest.

00:04:44:00 – 00:04:45:14
Ali Alvarez
So then I got into advertising.

00:04:45:15 – 00:05:02:19
Philippa White
Oh, my gosh, that is an important point. And I can’t believe how long I’ve known you. And I actually didn’t know that important bit of information. Okay. Maybe coming onto that. No, let’s just back up a bit. Let’s talk about the Butterfly film, because that started before the accident, didn’t it?

00:05:03:02 – 00:05:20:12
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, it kind of. Yeah, kind of did. So when I was 30, I had a sabbatical from work. I took a month off and I and I’m such a traveler, right? I’m used to moving everywhere. So this month off, I decided that I would challenge myself, be still, and be in one place and be in the country where I was born, which was Mexico.

00:05:20:13 – 00:05:39:17
Ali Alvarez
So I rented this little house in the mountains of Mexico for a month. Yeah, I remember. And I met these cowboys. I made some amazing friends and made some really amazing horse riding friends. And at the same time, the most incredible visual thing I’ve ever seen, which is the monarch butterfly migration, which goes from Canada all the way, ends up in Mexico.

00:05:39:17 – 00:06:02:06
Ali Alvarez
At that time the population was huge and it was like 300 million butterflies, like come to this one mountain range in Mexico. The skies are like orange and you hear the butterfly wings and it’s amazing. It was absolutely one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. And I just started researching it and it turned into this documentary idea that I wanted to make.

00:06:02:06 – 00:06:21:07
Ali Alvarez
But typical people that work in advertising always have these ideas and they never get around to them. So I was talking about them for ages and ages and ages, the butterflies and butterflies. And I found this beautiful connection that when they get to Mexico is during the day in the dead. And there’s the souls of ancestry that come to see you every year.

00:06:21:14 – 00:06:45:03
Ali Alvarez
And then I when I started researching that, what I thought was this incredible, I found all these stories of people who had seen these butterflies when someone had passed away. The components that that brought to them and like nature kind of helped me through the grief process. I started researching that and found all these stories of people who had seen these butterflies when someone had passed away, a family that lost a son, a family that lost a son.

00:06:45:03 – 00:07:18:15
Ali Alvarez
And then on the day of his funeral, this butterfly, this monarch that had been raising hatched on the day of his funeral, this detective in New York City who was working on the the site of ground zero 911, and his job was to find the black box there of the bodies. And and one day he was digging on site and like hundreds of these butterflies came out of the rubble on the site, became such a powerful story that I wanted to tell, but it took like a really big moment in my life and to make the time to make to do it.

00:07:18:22 – 00:07:21:23
Philippa White
What was that catalyst for you to do it?

00:07:22:06 – 00:07:39:24
Ali Alvarez
So basically I’ve been talking and talking and talking about it and then one day it was a really bad accident. It was really bad horse riding accident. That’s why the writing information is important because although, you know, all my childhood, I grew up riding a horse, I fell off and, you know, I never broke anything. I never got really hurt.

00:07:39:24 – 00:07:46:21
Ali Alvarez
And then this one, Saturday, was it Sunday? Sunday, I went out riding and the horse slipped.

00:07:47:01 – 00:07:51:02
Philippa White
And this was in story just really quickly. This was in London?

00:07:51:09 – 00:08:08:21
Ali Alvarez
Yeah. So we’re in London. I was doing, you know, I would ride every weekend. I did a little horse there. I went up riding with a friend and apparently the horse slipped and I came off and I, I hit my head, but I got a traumatic brain injury. I hit it. I guess I hit it really hard. I, I don’t remember it.

00:08:08:21 – 00:08:29:06
Ali Alvarez
So I basically lost my memory for two weeks. I don’t remember falling off the horse. I don’t remember seeing ambulance in the hospital. I don’t remember all the tests. I don’t remember this hotel room of hotel. I still remember the room. I was there for a month, so it seemed like the hotel room. I was in the hospital for a month.

00:08:29:08 – 00:08:53:04
Ali Alvarez
I lost all of the ability of my right side to move. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t walk. I had to learn all those things again. So crazy. I spoke Spanish for about a week, but I didn’t know they would ask me the same questions every day, and I didn’t. I couldn’t retain the information. They would ask me what year it was, and I’d say it was like 1812 or 2013 or 1987.

00:08:53:06 – 00:09:03:12
Ali Alvarez
Like I didn’t have a place to hide where I was then. It is so the cut is crazy telling the story. I got the memory back on the day of my wife’s birthday.

00:09:04:22 – 00:09:08:20
Philippa White
So every night I remember her posting about this. This looks like her.

00:09:09:08 – 00:09:26:08
Ali Alvarez
Yeah. My dad. My dad had come from L.A. to be with me in London and take care of me would be with me at the hospital. I think the night before I don’t remember, but the night before, apparently he said tomorrow’s their birthday. And then the next day he said, you know what day today is? And I said, yes, 13th birthday.

00:09:26:08 – 00:09:37:06
Ali Alvarez
And like that like, triggered everything. Like, I remember. Really? Yeah, that’s crazy. I remember everything from that point forward. I don’t remember the two weeks before, but I remember everything from that point forward.

00:09:37:18 – 00:09:45:06
Philippa White
Really. So you remember seeing your dad beside you, I guess at the hospital. You remember you don’t remember the day before?

00:09:45:14 – 00:09:46:15
Ali Alvarez
No, no.

00:09:46:22 – 00:09:47:23
Philippa White
That’s funny.

00:09:48:08 – 00:09:51:09
Ali Alvarez
Verity walked in. I sang Happy Birthday. I remember all the time.

00:09:51:10 – 00:09:55:07
Philippa White
She cried all Yeah.

00:09:55:11 – 00:10:11:22
Ali Alvarez
It was a pretty big moment. But then there was and that was a huge moment. And then there was another big moment. So I finally went home a couple of weeks later, let me go home. And when I got home I was, wait a minute, I remember something. I was like, I remember I remember the morning of the accident.

00:10:12:00 – 00:10:15:12
Ali Alvarez
I was in my spare room filming myself for Kickstarter.

00:10:15:19 – 00:10:16:24
Philippa White
So I got to.

00:10:16:24 – 00:10:34:15
Ali Alvarez
Raise money to try and start this film that had been banging on about for seven years and that was like, I remember everything. Like, I remember the white leather chair I was sitting in. I remember there was a map of Mexico on the wall behind me. I remember the camera on the trip. I can describe to you perfectly like the camera on the tripod.

00:10:34:17 – 00:10:51:21
Ali Alvarez
I remember everything about that. The dog coming in the frame and like having to put her in the back room. And then I don’t remember turning off the camera. I don’t remember going to the stables. I don’t remember falling in love. I don’t remember anything from there. If my memory remembers wanting to make this film, I have to try and make this film.

00:10:52:04 – 00:11:04:16
Ali Alvarez
That was the catalyst really. That yeah, just I guess, I guess listening to your body release, if that was the one thing my head held on to that day, I was like, I’m going to make this the priority.

00:11:05:07 – 00:11:11:01
Philippa White
For our listeners just because I think it’s interesting to close the circle on the film. You did make the film, didn’t you?

00:11:11:04 – 00:11:35:04
Ali Alvarez
I did make the film. I rehab making that film as a creative person. I guess it was the creative project that got me back on my feet. I literally I directed and produced it and it took me three years. I basically I had some shares in the company, in the agency that I was working at at the time, and they bought the shares back and that gave me money to just live for three years and make this film and get better.

00:11:35:10 – 00:11:46:22
Ali Alvarez
Literally went from I mean, the first shoot of this film, which was eight months after the accident, I could only go film for like an hour. And then I was exhausted.

00:11:46:22 – 00:11:58:00
Philippa White
I remember I remember you walking to even go down because I remember meeting with you once you were at home and even just walking to the end of the road and back was a marathon for you?

00:11:58:11 – 00:12:07:00
Ali Alvarez
Totally, yeah. By the end of making the film, I was like hiking up mountains in Mexico. I had to ride horses up this mountain in Mexico.

00:12:07:08 – 00:12:09:03
Philippa White
Talk about get back on the horse again.

00:12:09:15 – 00:12:32:24
Ali Alvarez
My side with like four bananas and a backpack and like, all day filming, you know? But it was incredible. And I got, yeah, I got better making it, but my memory, you know, my editing skills, my storytelling skills, my focus literally, and then my my physical stamina. Yeah, like, yeah. Just got better at making this beautiful art project, this beautiful film.

00:12:33:06 – 00:12:37:05
Philippa White
Isn’t that incredible? And you showed it at some festivals?

00:12:37:18 – 00:13:00:08
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, I got into some festival. It won Best Human and wildlife interaction at the International Wildlife Film Festival, which is like, Oh, this is really beautiful. I’m really proud of that one because it’s like, you know, this kind of festival that like BBC and Planet Earth into and stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty good. Pretty nice of them to go.

00:13:00:11 – 00:13:05:10
Ali Alvarez
You know what? That was the best example of humans and nature getting along. Yeah, it’s it’s a compliment.

00:13:05:10 – 00:13:32:10
Philippa White
It’s a beautiful insight. I mean, for anyone, you know, it’s funny, isn’t it? So especially in the creative world like you, if you’re creative, you just or anyone who just likes creative stuff, it’s, you know, one is the being in the in Mexico, seeing the butterflies, seeing that is an all inspiring, just spectacle. But what makes it is that connection with day of the Dead and then those beautiful insights with everyone.

00:13:32:10 – 00:13:42:06
Philippa White
That’s what just it’s such an incredible insight to humans around the world, actually. But obviously, then the Day of the Dead is in that connection that many of the Mexicans. Yeah.

00:13:42:07 – 00:13:45:03
Ali Alvarez
The Mexicans have, right? Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

00:13:45:18 – 00:14:15:14
Philippa White
It really is beautiful. Yes. You know, this is just such a beautiful example of love conquering all kind of just having your focus and love for this film and love for life and not giving up and just persevering in the face of a pretty difficult moment. And obviously, Verdi’s birthday and your memory coming back and I just I would like to touch on your family because I just find we were talking about it a little bit before we started recording.

00:14:15:14 – 00:14:55:20
Philippa White
You know, your family is so inspiring and an example of how love can transcend adversity, challenges the status quo and for all the reasons that we’ve just talked about in more ways than one, like the power of challenging the system and fighting against convention and like your sheer determination to follow your heart. And I just wonder, because for our listeners, I think many people have faced challenges, however big or small or or they might be wanting to follow their heart in a way that they just haven’t managed to sort of pluck up the courage, whatever that might be.

00:14:56:11 – 00:15:08:21
Philippa White
And I just wonder from the accident, from the butterfly film, from just your personal life, are there any learnings that you can share with our listeners if they’re facing challenges, whatever those might be?

00:15:09:09 – 00:15:31:01
Ali Alvarez
Hmm. I guess of the context of some of what you said, I guess for the listeners too, you know, I’m married to a woman. We have a beautiful boy. We’ve managed to create this little family. We’ve lived in a really progressive city like London, and that’s important to be able to be somewhere where you can be yourself and love who you want to love and create the life you want to create.

00:15:31:01 – 00:16:04:14
Ali Alvarez
A lot of people don’t have those options. I think wherever you are, whatever challenge there is, I would say, I guess two things that have gotten me the I’ve had a lot of a lot of challenges from my mom dying when I was young to everything. We just talked like. And I guess it’s the things that have to smile through, things that get me together, like the people, even if it’s a tiny three or four people, two people, one person that believes in you, that can support you, like that you can be close to, you know, don’t ever shut the world out like however big or small world can be.

00:16:04:20 – 00:16:34:06
Ali Alvarez
And then I guess some are too, I think, true to yourself, and I think that’s what people find hard. And I think somehow I maybe my parents raised me to really be true to myself. I don’t know how I’ve got that innate sense of I just trust my gut it. And then when it’s not right, my gut tells me it’s not right, you know, probably because I’m like super anxious when I’m not like just everything of listening to myself when I’m doing things in the way that feels good for me.

00:16:34:06 – 00:16:54:15
Ali Alvarez
I mean, and then the minute it’s off, I’m just eaten up by anxiety. So listen to that. You know, like, listen to that. And then for me, like, nature is a huge, huge friend in life. The horses that were going through my mother dying, I threw myself into horse riding. That’s all I did was at the stables, be at the stables.

00:16:54:18 – 00:17:11:16
Ali Alvarez
And then when I moved to London to have a horse, got a dog, spent as much time as I could outside, took my dog everywhere with me. But it’s the office, you know, I remember I remember my girl with the dog in Soho, like, and before London had a lot of dogs. I feel like she was always there.

00:17:11:23 – 00:17:25:08
Ali Alvarez
Nature just always reminds me of things so small. I was so small in the picture, this life picture. And so I guess it puts things in perspective. Yeah, yeah. That’s really good. That’s really nice.

00:17:25:08 – 00:17:27:08
Philippa White
Advice. Who inspires you, Ellie?

00:17:27:16 – 00:17:55:11
Ali Alvarez
My stepmother inspires me. She’s one of the most inspirational. My stepmother and my aunts in Mexico. But they’re both women in their eighties, 81, both of them. My stepmother has Parkinson’s disease and she manages it really well. She started boxing at age 75 like with Parkinson’s. She would go boxing three times a week and then COVID hit and she her spine kind of disintegrated.

00:17:55:11 – 00:18:08:16
Ali Alvarez
And she had this like massive back surgery. They like we their whole spine out of like metal. And most people would be like, I’m in a wheelchair now and, you know, I’ve got Parkinson’s now to get herself back to the gym, boxing again. Amy was.

00:18:08:16 – 00:18:09:15
Philippa White
Oh, that’s.

00:18:10:02 – 00:18:35:00
Ali Alvarez
In Boston three times a week. She’s amazing. She’s amazing. She was an accountant all her life. She retired at whatever age, 65, 70. And then she’s become this quilter and a creative person and just so inspiring to see someone that can redefine themselves and keeps themselves fit and will not let something like Parkinson’s or AIDS define them. It’s so inspiring.

00:18:35:10 – 00:18:47:17
Philippa White
It’s a bit like you. I mean, it’s like you having faced a real challenge and rather than letting it define you, you rose to the challenge, right? Yeah. Become a victim.

00:18:47:23 – 00:18:53:04
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, I guess so. That was never really an option. I don’t really even consider it to be an option.

00:18:53:10 – 00:19:21:07
Philippa White
Yeah, it’s amazing. So you mentioned the company that bought your shares back and that allowed you to live for three years and make your film. So that was the Brooklyn brothers, wasn’t it? Yeah, yeah. And so when you were at the Brooklyn Brothers, you and I think Kelly was there. So Carolyn Oliver, Joseph Mann from Blink Productions and Bart Yates obviously running the show.

00:19:21:07 – 00:20:00:13
Philippa White
You guys came together and you created, which I mean, it still is. It’s absolutely insane that that’s even something that was made for us, this incredible tie film, which is this stock frame animation piece, which is on YouTube, it’s on our site. I’m pretty sure it’s on our site. I mean, it’s it’s on LinkedIn. It is beautiful. I remember Bart telling me that the guy who did the animation of the actual not the animation animation because that was Joseph Mann, but the animation of the characters was the same guy that did Shrek animation of the actual characters like them talking like I mean this the level of detail of this film is incredible.

00:20:00:13 – 00:20:22:14
Philippa White
But, you know, you as the you know, you and Kelly, I guess, were the creatives that wrote the script and just honed that. I mean, the strategy is so totally on. It’s still on. It’s unbelievable. And I just would love to know, you know, why did you do this at the time, pro bono for Ty? Like, what was it that resonated with you?

00:20:22:20 – 00:20:41:22
Ali Alvarez
I can’t speak for Carly, but I’m sure she would agree. Like you have to believe in things, right? And you have to believe in people and you have to use the skills that you have for good, I think. And then you sort of you sort of embody that, right? So that’s the whole purpose of Ty is to use creative advertising skills to help others in other countries.

00:20:41:22 – 00:21:00:09
Ali Alvarez
And how could we not help you do that? You know, there’s pockets of time where you you make the time and there’s moments, moments in your career where you make the times of a player’s feel. And you can do that in a small way, like making a little film for you, or you can do it in a big way as a signing up for Ty and and being a part of it.

00:21:00:09 – 00:21:11:17
Ali Alvarez
Or you can decide to start a mentoring program or you get to give back, you have to give back. So that was just our little teeny tiny contribution. And and I think you were you just starting out then.

00:21:12:03 – 00:21:34:14
Philippa White
Yeah, we were. I think that was I mean, that was a good few years ago. Now that was I remember we went to talk to Cannes and that would have been probably I think Bill was just born so sort of 2010, I think like 12 years ago, you know. But it’s just amazing because it’s such a beautiful piece of work that is still so relevant today.

00:21:34:14 – 00:21:54:23
Philippa White
We’ve expanded from just working with ad agencies. We now work with financial institutions and other big corporate clients that we’re starting to kind of get involved. So, I mean, it’s growing from just comms skills, which is why the film is very much just focused on comms. If it wasn’t, it would it would just be like the perfect thing forever then.

00:21:55:00 – 00:22:14:10
Ali Alvarez
So we have to help each other. Like you have to help people get their ideas off the ground for you so heavily. Women like we’ve got to have it to back it, got to help get these things done and made it into the world and had them know it’s so important if we don’t help each other, I want to get away from that competitive world.

00:22:14:10 – 00:22:29:22
Ali Alvarez
It’s like, Yeah, even though you’re an entrepreneur and like you, this is your livelihood. You’re still one person trying to get it done, you know? And the anything people can do to help you make it happen, it’s important. People power them, people power.

00:22:30:04 – 00:22:47:01
Philippa White
People power. I mean, I just feel so grateful to the whole to everyone who just helped me cast from the editing at Marshall Marshall Street I think at the time like, yeah. So I mean there were just so many people that really just kind of got stuck in and it, but it does make me think of where the world is going.

00:22:47:01 – 00:23:08:21
Philippa White
And I feel like these are the kind of conversations that we’re having more and more. I felt TIE back when we started in 2007, 2000 2007 was our first ever meet program. Know this talk of purpose, this talk of human centered ness and company that that wasn’t really something we talked about. And I would say that the business world was more competitive.

00:23:08:21 – 00:23:34:05
Philippa White
And certainly just how you were saying when we started talking, you know, you’re you don’t want to be super busy. You need to carve out time for your family, obviously, for your little boy, for your wife. That’s actually what matters in this world. Right. And we I think anyone who’s working for a company also feels that way. And the way that the world is going now is recognizing that it’s about citizens, it’s about community, it’s about collaboration.

00:23:34:05 – 00:23:55:15
Philippa White
It’s not about competition. And, you know, make as much money as you possibly can at the expense of the people that are working with us and the world is changing. And I think that it’s yeah, it’s interesting what you’re talking about because I just think that’s where so many people are feeling in the workplace, how they’re feeling, sorry, in the workplace and actually how companies, I think, just need to be more aware of that.

00:23:56:02 – 00:23:58:16
Philippa White
They do. I mean, the tide is the tide is turning.

00:23:58:23 – 00:24:03:06
Ali Alvarez
I hope it is. I really hope. But there’s all kind of in it at the moment. So it’s hard to tell.

00:24:04:02 – 00:24:28:07
Philippa White
You are in it or in it and you can help be a driver of that. Yeah. I think a show right and right. And you know what’s important and you showing an example is so important, which is also back to what we’re talking about, healthy families. And I just mentioned this also just because I just you know, you’re such a beautiful example of what love is and what a healthy, loving family is.

00:24:28:08 – 00:24:52:08
Philippa White
It’s about love and it’s about being that structure and that stable upbringing for your little boy. And that comes in the form of love and structure and limits. And and that can take many forms, you know, and I think it’s the same with work, you know, as the person who’s running the show, if you carve out your time and you have lunch breaks and you have your holidays and you’re like, guys, this is what’s important and you need to do this too.

00:24:52:08 – 00:24:54:21
Philippa White
Otherwise we’re not going have a healthy department, right?

00:24:54:22 – 00:25:19:06
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, that’s what I mean by example. Yeah, I tried to do that. You know, sometimes I get frustrated that I’m not doing enough because there’s so many people, initiatives and foundations and hashtags. So. And then all of a sudden I was like, Oh, like, I’m not doing enough. But, you know, like, I try to do it in my way and I say, Yeah, in the way that I work and the way that I run the department and the way that I yeah, I take lunch breaks.

00:25:19:06 – 00:25:33:08
Ali Alvarez
I go pick up my kid three times a week. I drop them off every morning. I’m at the dinner table for the most part, five days a week at 6 p.m.. You know, I might have to go back because I am a bit of a central, I might go back after, but then I don’t have to both of them.

00:25:33:08 – 00:25:43:05
Ali Alvarez
But yeah, we can live like that and work in this business and I think it’s changing and I think it’s changing. Do you see it change?

00:25:43:10 – 00:26:08:13
Philippa White
I see a lot of that. And this is actually the purpose of this podcast, actually, because just very, very quickly, you mentioned I don’t know if I’m doing enough. And actually the purpose of this podcast is just showing in the so many different ways in everybody’s lives how we can do our part, whatever that form takes. And you can own that in your own way, and it can be however that looks.

00:26:08:17 – 00:26:33:09
Philippa White
That’s why I was super excited to talk to you, because I think that the way that simply how you’re living your life and also just as an example of someone who’s persevered and is super resilient and really kind of fought in the face of extreme adversity for a not succumbing to a serious brain injury and fighting for being a happy individual in your love life and family life.

00:26:33:09 – 00:26:52:05
Philippa White
And you know, I just think that that’s huge. It’s huge. Do I see things changing? Yeah, I do, actually. I think that the conversations are certainly there, and I think it needs to start with people recognizing it as being a thing. So just talking about human centered organizations, flexible working, more women in the workforce, what does that mean?

00:26:52:05 – 00:27:17:04
Philippa White
You know, there’s a lot of articles that I write actually around this and taking stats, and the more we talk about this in whatever form that takes, then I do feel that our people quick to respond some companies that are based now on that. So David Webster I spoke to used to be at BBH and Leo BURNETT actually he’s now in Singapore, but he started up an advertising agency that doesn’t even have an office.

00:27:17:04 – 00:27:35:24
Philippa White
It’s all online and they have people literally all over the world and you don’t have to be based anywhere. And that is kind of based on that thinking of we need more women in the workforce. We need flexible working. You can work anywhere. Yes, it is possible. Yes, this is important for people. And I you know, I think it’s just more and more of these people talking about it.

00:27:35:24 – 00:27:58:02
Philippa White
That culture starts to shift. Yeah, I think the key really though, and this is one thing, I’m going to have a TIE event in November and in London and it’s based on a celebration of doing. And for me, there’s a lot of talk about a lot of these things, be it impact from the private sector, ESG and people wanting to show that they’re doing good.

00:27:58:02 – 00:28:23:04
Philippa White
But it’s really just a box ticking exercise versus actually doing something or talking about being flexible working place, but not actually doing that or talking about human, you know, more human centered environment. And yes, we know what’s important. We can talk a lot about it. But actually the reality is, you know, what is the reality? And I just think there’s you know, the time is now for a lot of this stuff and it’s just doing it right.

00:28:23:06 – 00:28:23:17
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:28:23:23 – 00:28:42:03
Ali Alvarez
I hope that, that, that if everyone just did that, you know, you don’t have to set up, you don’t have to set up a foundation. You don’t have to get all crazy on social media talking about it. Do it. Yeah, exactly. Love boundaries. Like show your team like what? Mothers and them and then it’ll start to shift.

00:28:42:03 – 00:28:59:22
Philippa White
Yeah, I agree. That’s how I see it. And I do think that things are shifting and I think just even the fact that TIE is gaining momentum is a sign that things are shifting. You know, this is something that’s important to people. So yeah, now what haven’t I asked you that you’d like to tell our listeners as we wrap up?

00:28:59:22 – 00:29:05:20
Ali Alvarez
Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. That’s really nice. I haven’t.

00:29:05:20 – 00:29:06:16
Philippa White
Heard. Who says.

00:29:06:16 – 00:29:11:11
Ali Alvarez
The. Have you not heard that. Oh I don’t know. Is the.

00:29:11:11 – 00:29:12:16
Philippa White
And I’ll find out.

00:29:12:16 – 00:29:30:13
Ali Alvarez
I’ll find out. But especially when you’re like going through something and it just feels totally hard and awful, you know? It will be okay. It will be okay. You know, and I can say this, no, I lost my mom when I was younger. I think that’s part of why I have this resilience that somehow it will be okay.

00:29:30:14 – 00:29:41:18
Ali Alvarez
It’s not it’s not. It’s not you’re not done with it. It’s not death. Because when it’s the end, like it will be okay. And then that’s just yeah, I told myself that many times a week.

00:29:42:00 – 00:30:02:17
Philippa White
I think it’s really lovely as well. Just what you said about find your allies, find the people that can you know, if you are going through a difficult time, whoever that person is, that can kind of just be that support. Hold on to them, show them love, embrace it. And I also just think a lot of us feel like we have to do things alone almost.

00:30:02:17 – 00:30:31:19
Philippa White
We have to fight it ourselves. And no one does anything big. A little, actually. No one. You need a community. You need other people to help you. Anyone who’s massive, you know, it’s been a team that’s helped get them there. And I think also it’s interesting, even just reflecting on some of our most recent TIE programs that we’ve had, it’s interesting how many people struggle with vulnerability and they struggle with asking for help or asking questions.

00:30:32:04 – 00:30:49:21
Philippa White
And that’s actually the whole point of TIE. The whole point is just, you know, taking people out of their comfort zones, getting them to work in different ways. Part of it, of course, is making the world a better place. But I would say that that’s almost secondary. It’s actually the force of taking people into a different world and working in a completely different way.

00:30:49:21 – 00:31:14:13
Philippa White
And how that just helps you see yourself in the world in a in a different know, through a different lens. And it’s just really interesting how when people are pushed out of their comfort zones and suddenly stretched in ways that they haven’t been stretched before, you know, they really struggle. And the only way that you can really find the answers to a lot of these challenges are by asking questions and being open to the fact that you don’t know the answers and trying to find the answers.

00:31:14:13 – 00:31:21:14
Philippa White
And I think when we’re going through a difficult time showing vulnerability and asking for help isn’t a weakness. It’s a strength.

00:31:21:18 – 00:31:44:01
Ali Alvarez
Yeah, it’s hard that, isn’t it? It’s like I mean, I definitely until my accident was trying to do it all on my own. You’re right. You never do it all on your own. One man creative got so far in my career so early on, but it was like it just completely had to stop when I had that accident and like, people had to help me walk to the bathroom, you know, and get in the shower and like, help me get out of the shower.

00:31:44:01 – 00:31:58:21
Ali Alvarez
And like, that was weeks of that. And it’s like all of a sudden I had to rely on people and I’m trying not to forget those things now that I’m more able, because that was a big lesson that that taught me. You’re right. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people out there that wants to help, that can help them.

00:31:59:06 – 00:32:02:19
Ali Alvarez
I mean, you can’t do anything alone. You really can. So yeah.

00:32:02:21 – 00:32:26:10
Philippa White
And I think this is true in everything health, you know, projects, missions, whatever it might be. We’re not an island. And I think that’s just comes back to where this world is going. It’s not competition. It’s not I, I can conquer all. It’s kind of how can we collaborate? How can we work together? How can you said, you know, so beautiful that you’re like, we have to help each other.

00:32:26:16 – 00:32:45:04
Philippa White
Charlie was a great idea is a great idea. Like at the time, we really wanted to just make it work. We wanted to help. And I just I’m so grateful to that. But it’s just another example of, you know, that was a huge stepping stone for Ty having something like that, like credibility. And suddenly we could showcase, just look at this, we’ve got this.

00:32:45:04 – 00:33:12:15
Philippa White
This is what it’s all about. That’s one thing. Film. Oh, my God, that’s fantastic. Like, yes, I know. Believe in us. You know, that’s that’s all. Ali, thank you for joining us. It was really beautiful to just talk through just your approach to life. And you’re such an inspiration. You’ve got such a amazing story. Thank you. I love you and Verity loads and hopefully I get to meet Sunny so.

00:33:13:01 – 00:33:22:15
Ali Alvarez
I can’t really give a better. This is nothing but social media, right? It’s like you feel like you’re fully on board, but you’ll be in one day. I will I will thank.

00:33:22:15 – 00:33:27:02
Philippa White
Would love to verity world I’m sure at some point you to listen to this so high Verdi. I used to work.

00:33:27:02 – 00:33:27:19
Ali Alvarez
With you as well.

00:33:28:23 – 00:33:29:20
Philippa White
We’ll speak soon.

00:33:30:00 – 00:33:35:04
Ali Alvarez
All right. You. Thank. Thank you. Bye.

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