1 min read
Nikki Elton (Pinwheel author)

Nikki Elton

How to change your job – and change the world

Nikki enjoying the outdoors

Ever thought about pivoting your career towards helping the environment? Here, our very own Nikki Elton shares how she switched from corporate law to planet-saving initiatives...

How long have you been working at Pinwheel, Nikki?

I joined Pinwheel in March 2022, and before that was at a charity called Canopi that supports charities to collaborate and network. However, I spent the majority of my career as a corporate lawyer working in the property sector.

That’s quite a change! How did you make it?

I transitioned out of law through a social enterprise called On Purpose, a year-long leadership and career transition programme for professionals moving into the social and environmental impact space. On Purpose matches you with two purpose-led organisations for six months each, while also providing an intensive learning programme.

Why did you decide to pivot your career?

After having children I became acutely aware of the mess we were leaving the planet in for them to clear up, and knew I wanted to be part of the solution. After 13 years as a corporate lawyer I was looking for a new challenge and a career focused on doing something positive for the planet and people.

Nikki with the rest of the On Purpose October 2021 cohort in Embercombe.

Are you pleased with your switch?

Yes! I’m a year into my career move and am really enjoying the exploration phase and the opportunity to learn more about this new sector. It is a privilege to be able to utilise my skills to encourage investment into awesome planet-repairing projects.

What’s your advice for those who want to do similar?

Firstly, don’t underestimate the transferable skills that you have acquired in your current job. I spent a long time thinking I could only ever be a lawyer but once out of my old role, I soon realised I had a valuable set of skills to utilise in my role as Operations and Marketing Manager at Pinwheel.

Secondly, immerse yourself in the sustainability sector. There are some amazing organisations out there. Find the ones that excite you and connect with them.

And most importantly, network, network, network! The startup ecosystem and climate sector are full of generous people willing to give up their time to have a coffee or chat over Zoom. You never know who they might connect you with and whether they are looking for their next hire.

To find jobs in the sustainability sector, have a look at the Environment section of Guardian Jobs, Escape the City, Jobs for Good and For Purpose Jobs.

Is your business thinking about how to repair the planet? Contact us at