Introducing EINE woman with Alice Cornell

EINE WOMAN is very excited to launch with the brilliant Alice Cornell; travel enthusiast, Internet game changer, former DJ and Global Director of Deliverability at Change.org.

It’s 7pm in Borough, London and we’re watching the sunset from Cornell’s sky tower apartment. She has kindly invited us into her home to capture her unwinding. Petra Metzger our creative director and Alice are enjoying wine between takes, having an involved conversation… Here’s a glance:

Petra: What do people know you for?
Alice: For my love of people and travel. I was at the forefront of the move to email as the mass communication channel as we know it today. I am honoured to be part of the email community dedicated to making email work better for senders and consumers, to reduce spam and malicious Internet activity.

Petra: What is your job now and what does it involve?
Alice: My role is Global Director of Email Deliverability at Change.org. We are an open petition platform with over 150 million users worldwide and we send around a billion emails every quarter. It’s my responsibility as Global Director of Deliverability to make sure those emails reach people’s inboxes.

Petra: What inspires you to do what you do?
Alice: I work for an organisation that empowers people by giving them a platform to tell their story to effect social change. I find those people really inspiring and I feel amazingly lucky that I can use the skills I have learnt in the corporate world to help our users make the changes they want to see, whether at a local level, nationally or even globally.

Petra: How did you get to where you are now?
Alice: A long and winding road!

Petra: Tell us more!
Alice: I had a very bohemian upbringing, my mother lived in communes, we lived in a tipi and in a cave and I went to a Steiner school, which is quite an alternative form of education, which I loved. When I was younger I was very politically active, I was at Greenham Common and other peace camps and joined peace marches and student demonstrations in the 80s. And then having left home at 15 I had to start work and work lead me from York where I grew up to the City of London where I joined a very corporate world of suits and heels and meetings. And working in ‘the city’ was quite an experience, certainly a long way from living in a cave!  I spent my career in electronic messaging, first fax and telex and then email, working as a consultant in the email arena for companies sending large volumes of messages, such as Groupon, eBay and Virgin to help them send email well.  Change.org was my first role outside the corporate sector.

Petra: Sounds like you came full circle?
Alice: Yes, When I was headhunted by Change.org to join them it felt like coming full circle because they are political without having their own agenda; instead they give a voice to people who may not otherwise have one. These days it seems that people are much more disaffected with politics and don’t feel that demonstrations have any impact, whereas online campaigning really gives people the power to make change, to have a voice in the world.

Petra: How do you move between the different areas in your life/ how do you interlink the different areas of work, leisure, relaxation, private life…?
Alice: With the job that I do now I feel like my work and leisure time are much more linked and I’m lucky enough to be able to manage my own work time which means I more-or-less live my job, but am able to make time to do the things that are important to me. I work with some amazing people so work doesn't necessarily feel like work.

Petra: What different aspects of you does that require? What sides of you do you need to draw on in your life?
Alice: It takes a lot of enthusiasm and energy. My job means I have to speak to a lot of people and understanding the challenges they experience around the world... enthusiasm, empathy, and listening. Most importantly listening.

Petra: Do you find it sometimes a struggle between trying to help the world and enjoy it?
Alice: I have the perfect job - I love what I do AND I get to help the world at the same time.

Petra: Who is your role model?
Alice: My best female friends are my role models. They constantly inspire me and I admire the way they handle life with such grace, glamour and warmth.

Petra: You travel a lot. Where is your favourite location?
Alice: So far it’s Tokyo because it can feel really far away from what we know in our everyday lives in London but yet is efficient and culturally so interesting. I would love to spend a lot more time there and travel through more of Japan.

Petra: How do you recharge? What do you do to relax, treat yourself?
Alice: Going out to dinner with friends is one of my favourite things to do. I also love the theatre and opera - it’s a real escape. I also regularly do yoga, which can be tough but makes me feel amazing and clears the mind. I have tried meditation (on my brother’s recommendation) but it is still a struggle for me to quieten down that internal dialogue. 

Petra: What are important areas in your life that feed you as a whole person?
Alice: My family, my brother especially. I have an amazing bunch of friends. Travelling to new places. Work – I am massively lucky to do something I enjoy.

Petra: How and where did/do you find your power?
Alice: On my bicycle. I love to be mistress of my own destiny, travelling under my own steam, taking whichever route I choose. It also gives me time for reflection out of the everyday hectic whirl. I think I take most of my energy from my friends who are a huge support, but also I appreciate that I’ve got to where I am on my own and I find that very empowering - that I made it happen and no one else. I find the empowerment of self can be a difficult thing as a woman as they often judge themselves much more harshly than men do. We have to stop listening to that little voice telling us we’re too x or too y.  Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome, but women are socially conditioned to efface themselves. Even choosing the language that we use can be hugely powerful. I try to cut out the ‘I think’s and the ‘maybe’s and the ‘I could be wrong’s from my every day communication – it’s a struggle!

Petra: How would you describe your personal style?
Alice: Although I love to dress up, my everyday style is pretty laidback. I don’t wear make up – there aren’t enough hours in the day to spend too long getting ready. When I go out however, its red lipstick and heels! I do love a good frock; I don’t think I have can have worn trousers in the last 20 years.

Petra: How did you feel wearing this EINE piece? In what situations do you see yourself wearing this piece?
Alice: At home but ready to step into a cocktail party! The material is so light it’s as if you’re wearing nothing at all. I could wear this at an Ibizan pool party drinking Campari spritz or at home on my balcony having a glass of wine. I love to get changed when I get in from work.  I have a selection of housedresses. What I love about the EINE piece is that it isn’t overtly sexy, but makes you feel fabulous - which is when we are all at our sexiest.

Petra: How does an ideal day at home look like for you?
Alice: I’m rarely home, so a day at home usually involves unpacking and laundry, but I love to read, make a spot of lunch, organise myself and re-charge for the next adventure.

Alice: A question for you: Will fashion ever break away from the pervasive idea that thin equals beautiful?
Petra: The definition of beauty has been so diverse in various cultures and is continuously evolving, as all trends do. I am certain our current definition of beauty will change again to something else. Our sense for aesthetic is now subtly and widely influenced by the virtual. And the virtual is becoming our reality again.

Petra: It’s been wonderful to converse with you today, really inspiring. One last question: where do you see yourself in the future, say 5 years from now?
Alice: That’s a tough question!  At the moment I am really excited about how the Internet is making a nomadic lifestyle possible.  I’m part of a project looking to create sustainable live/work spaces out of abandoned or unused places, forming new types of communities. Check out www.FindingAldea.org for more on this!