Sophie Wade is a work futurist, international keynote speaker, and author of Empathy Works: The Key to Competitive Advantage in the New Era of Work. As Founder and Workforce Innovation Specialist at Flexcel Network, a Future-of-Work consultancy, she helps corporations maximize the benefits and minimize the disruption in their transition to digitalized work environments.
Sophie grew up in London, England. Her father worked for the BBC while her mother was a teacher in a remote area in London where she taught low income children. Sophie’s family would travel and camp in different countries during the summer holidays which allowed them to meet people and experience different cultures.
The exposure to different cultures and people opened up Sophie’s mind to know more is out there. In her A-Level courses, Sophie opted to study Chinese over Math and Chemistry. Her increasing interest in culture led her to study China’s history and culture, learn Mandarin, and eventually live and work in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In this episode, she shares her journey to becoming the person she is today.
“Data has never really changed people’s hearts.”
“You live outside of your country, and you see your country from the outside. Living in somebody else’s culture and environment changes how you see the world and yourself.”
“If I’m living in another country, I have more freedom to be whoever I am. I resist defining anybody by how they look, their gender, what they know, their race, whatever it might be.”
Sophie’s father worked for the BBC for 25 years as an editor of a children’s show. Her mother was a teacher in a remote area in London. Students came from diverse backgrounds, and English wasn’t their first language. As a result of her parents’ careers, the family would engage in deep conversations at home. Camping in different countries opened Sophie’s mind to different people and cultures.
Sophie’s encounters with people from different groups made her more empathetic and taught her to avoid making assumptions.
Temperament and Personality:
Exposure to different cultures and people has played a significant role in Sophie’s life. She is empathetic and refrains from judging others to the best of her ability.
Recalling her first day using chopsticks in China, Sophie was mortified at the mess she made until she looked around at how the locals ate and realized that eating rice requires bending over your bowl and scooping the rice into your mouth. This was in stark contrast to the generally rigid meal etiquette taught in the UK and most western countries. Experiencing this first-hand showed her just how different various cultures can be from one another.
Sophie is direct, and she appreciates when people are open and candid with her. She believes that a growth mindset is the most helpful way to move forward productively.
Soap Box Moment:
Sophie invites us to purchase her most recent book, Empathy Works: The Key to Competitive Advantage in the New Era of Work and listen to her podcast, Transforming Work.
Tag Line: Empathy is the future. It will shape things in ways we cannot imagine.