An Interview with Connie Pillon

Connie Pillon interview trusted clothes

Tell us about yourself – family background, personal story, education, and previous professional capacities.

My childhood experiences compelled me to look for deeper meaning in life, starting at a very young age.  However, I was fortunate enough to have experienced an authentic kind of love from my mother early on, which gave me a strong foundation to work with.  I was always very interested in the spiritual realm, and have had my share of paranormal experiences.

I was strongly influenced by a few books, such as The Prophet, The Road Less Travelled, The Spirits Book, Mastery of Love, and The Power of Now.  I found the work of Carl Jung to be very informative as well, since I personally believe our highest purpose in life is to heal our own shadow.

When I graduated from high school, I felt a strong calling to choose a career that involved helping others, and I enrolled in nursing at the University of Windsor.  Although, nursing was not my true passion at the time, I was more interested in creative writing and visual arts.  Unfortunately, I was misguided, and believed nursing would be a more meaningful profession, since I would be directly helping others. This was a mistake.  I would later drop out of nursing after realising I had made the wrong choice.  It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that I could help others best by following my own passion and purpose, which would have allowed me to tap into an unlimited amount of inspiration.

After dropping out of university, I worked as a housekeeper in the special care section (lock up area) of a nursing home, and then later in a shelter for abused women.  I witnessed a lot of death and suffering, and it changed my perspective on life.

I went back to college, although still misguided about what path to pursue.  A few life coaching sessions might have been life changing at that point, to help set me in the right direction.  However, I ended up eventually graduating from a Business – Accounting program, where I studied economics, accounting, marketing and organizational behaviour.

I went on to work in finance and administration at a non-profit organization called Inspire Health, which planted a powerful seed in me about the importance of incorporating the ‘body, mind, spirit’ connection into the workplace.

I left after having a child, and later went on to work in public practice for several years.  After doing bookkeeping for more than fifty companies, where I had to record every transaction that went in and out of businesses, I gained deep insight into how companies operate.  A bookkeeper truly sees all.  I suffered a lot of workplace bullying and exploitation.  This was hard, as I was already highly sensitive, like a lobster walking around with no shell.  Equality and ethical business practices became a strong priority for me, and I recognized the need to spread the word about corporate social responsibility.  With so many business leaders operating unconsciously, I decided to set up a facebook page called Corporate Conscience to help educate people.

While working in payroll and human resources for different companies, my eyes were wide open to the fact that employee wellness = company wellness.  Unfortunately, the leadership styles I witnessed were often damaging to employee morale.  I took time to study various types of leadership, and gained a strong interest in coaching.  I enrolled in a coaching program at Coaching Cognition, and obtained a life coaching certificate.  Coaches are considered to be on the same level as the client, I value the equality in that.  They also believe that the client has all the answers within themselves, the coach just has to ask the right questions.

Each of us has a unique set of strengths, I have always been very sensitive to energy, and felt very empathic toward others.  I believe intuition is the language of the soul.  Life coaching has allowed me to use these gifts to help others.

 

What is the importance of ethical fashion?

The fashion industry is influencing our youth, and setting the standard for body-image and appearance.  It is a great responsibility for fashion designers and clothing companies.  May their message be one of self-respect.

Clothing is a necessity, and can be a creative form of self-expression, but it is hard to feel good about wearing clothes made by children forced into slave labour, in a developing country. These clothes might as well be blood-stained from the suffering endured in sweatshops.

 

What is the importance of sustainable fashion?

If we can bring environmental sustainability into the fashion industry, we will have solved a major crisis, since fast fashion is the second largest polluter next to big oil.  Every company should be measuring its carbon footprint.

Companies who are exhausting people and the planet will only experience short-term profits, and also risk getting a lot of negative publicity on social media.  Individuals, and other companies are also less likely to invest in businesses with a reputation for having unethical business practices.

 

What about fair trade?

There are thousands of products that carry the fair trade mark, which ensures that people at the end of the chain, e.g. farmers, are not being exploited.

Consumers can help improve lives in developing countries by purchasing fair trade products. Fairtrade also encourages farmers to use environmentally sustainable practices.

Textile manufacturers are beginning to sign up to the new Fairtrade Textile Standard, which focuses on workers’ rights and working conditions.  Factories participating in the program are also offered training on environmental management, social concerns, and health & safety.

Connie Pillon interview trusted clothes

You self-define as a life coach, writer, and activist for ethical fashion. In fact, you have some musings, and spoken word and poetry on the website as well. What is ethical economy?

An ethical economy represents a win for all, including consumers, companies, employees, communities, and the environment.

 

Why these self-definitions?

My intention is to inspire people to become the highest version of themselves both personally and professionally.  I hope to make a meaningful contribution to the world through writing and life coaching.  I took an excellent program to learn a coaching style of communication, which I find empowers people to find their own inner truth.  The secret lies in asking powerful questions.  The coaching process can help take people from where they are now, to where they want to be.

I also have a passion for spoken word, it is an excellent way for people to express themselves, particularly our youth.

 

You run the Facebook page entitled Corporate Conscience. What is the importance of corporate social responsibility – or a corporate conscience (as they are defined legally as immortal persons, by implication of the law)?

Yes, we have all seen how giving a corporation the rights of “personhood”, while at the same time having no personal liability and accountability, can create a psychopathic ‘entity’.  However, a corporation can be created by ethical business leaders, and have a system that is built on integrity.

Consumer influence is vital.  Thanks to social media, corporations are frequently challenged by the public now.  Recently, there have been stories of CEOs taking pay cuts to raise wages for workers, there is an exciting movement toward conscious capitalism.

 

What other work are you involved in at this point in time?

By day, I work in accounting and administration to make ends meet, it is a practical way to support my family for now, and takes up a great deal of my time.  In my own personal journey, it somehow makes sense to work with numbers in order to earn money.  I work hard, and it keeps me humble.

It is not part of my spiritual path to make money from spiritual/life coaching, nor from advocating for corporate social responsibility.  I would accept donations for life and business coaching under certain circumstances, although it hasn’t happened yet.  Money and career success is not the purpose behind it.

 

What meaning or personal fulfillment does this work bring for you?

All the writing and coaching I have done until now has been voluntary, in the hopes that I am making a positive contribution to the world.  This is all I want.

I have worked to plant seeds of empathy and ethics in my everyday life for twenty years now, both personally and professionally.  I try to be a living example of the things I write about, and I have made a lot of people irritated in my lifetime as a result. Yet I have also had some very meaningful experiences.  I will continue to speak my truth wherever I go, even if it means I am labelled as a trouble-maker once in awhile, for challenging the status quo.

 

With regard to ethical and sustainable fashion companies, what’s the importance of them to you?

Ethical and sustainable companies can act as role models to business leaders who may later follow in their footsteps.  They demonstrate how sustainable business practices are vital for ‘longterm’ success.

Connie Pillon interview trusted clothes

Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

Just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.

I feel fortunate to have been able to make a contribution to the Trusted Clothes blog.  It is an amazing organization, that is paving the way for mindful business practices in the fashion industry.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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