Meet a Change Agent is our interview series on professionals who have devoted their lives to social and environmental impact. This week, we met up with Chris Rollins to learn more about what inspired him to pursue purpose-driven coaching for people-focused leaders in Tampa, FL.
What is your mission and why is it important to you?
My purpose is about creating safe space so that people have the courage to find and live their truth. I honor this through coaching by supporting leaders to become the most powerful and fully expressed versions of themselves. I’m also passionate about helping leaders build inclusive, people-first cultures at their organizations.
I do this work in support of my mission to build a more meaningful, emotionally connected world of work where people love what they do and love how they feel. It is inspired by the deepest pain, fear and ultimate joy I experienced coming out and embracing my own authenticity – as a gay man and a corporate leader.
How did you get started in social impact?
After about 10 years in the corporate world, I went through a period of intense reflection about how I wanted to shape my career moving forward. I knew I wanted to do something that sparked a fire inside me; something that felt meaningful and deeply purpose-driven.
I thought about what challenges I faced in my life and career up until that point, and how I could use that to fuel my impact moving forward. I realized that, like me, many other leaders in the HR/People space and LGBTQ+ community do not have the support they deserve. So I built a coaching practice to give back to the communities I care about most.
What do you enjoy most about your role, and what are some of the challenges?
I was really intentional about creating my business to optimize for the things I love most. I’m a huge believer in strengths-based development; focus on what you’re good at and what you love! For me, that’s coaching.
Seeing the transformation in my clients over the course of a few months and years is deeply rewarding for me. It’s particularly special when my clients report that life outside of work is improving as a result of work we’ve done focusing on who they are as a leader on the job.
I’m still getting used to being a team of one, so it can be lonely at times. The challenge for me is finding ways to feel connected and supported. Working from home with my dog is amazing, and I do sometimes miss the power of meaningful co-worker relationships!
What advice would you give someone interested in a social impact career?
I think it’s important to feel inspired by the purpose and mission of the company you’re working for, but make sure you also feel connected to the impact of your actual work. Connecting the dots between the amount of time and effort you put into your job and the ultimate impact it has is crucial for a meaningful and fulfilling experience of work.
Anything else you’d like to add?
You can find or create work that has a positive social impact and still make good money, if that's important to you. I think there’s a misconception that in order to do meaningful work you have to take a huge pay cut and work for a non-profit.
I welcome you to connect with me on LinkedIn. I tend to post about LGBTQ+ leadership, coaching, inclusion, organizational culture and other HR/People related topics. Feel free to strike up a conversation!