Fighting Fear and Pushback with Purpose and Tenacity with Justine Leigh-Bell

While we are still facing the global pandemic, an even bigger challenge is looming — climate change. It is undeniable that we need to act fast. Yet, environmental issues alone cannot sway investment decisions; it needs to be backed by sound economic models and policy strategies.  

What does it take to change the world? 

Joining us for this episode is Justine Leigh-Bell, Deputy CEO of Climate Bonds Initiative. She shares how her tenacity kept her moving forward towards her goals and purpose. Justine also discusses that fear is an opportunity to grow and learn and the importance of listening to your inner voice for guidance. When our values and purpose guide us — nothing can stop us from changing the world for the better.

Tune in to this episode and learn how to develop tenacity and listen to your inner voice!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. How do we overcome fear?
  2. Understand the importance of values, purpose and vulnerability.
  3. Discover the ways you can tap into your inner voice.


Episode Highlights

[02:12] Justine’s Tenacity Against Pushback

  • Justine loved sports as a child and got into her school’s basketball team. She wasn’t able to get in during the first try, but she rose to that challenge. 
  • When choosing her degree, a career development expert advised her against taking sciences and math. Her stubbornness led her to pick natural sciences, majoring in math.
  • Her work in the Climate Bonds Initiative led her to work with the Brazilian government. In the meetings, she was the only woman and non-Brazilian in the room.
  • Despite the challenges and fears, Justine kept moving forward with tenacity.
  • She shares that we shouldn’t be held back by fear. Listen to the full episode to hear her thoughts on this!

[10:43] Overcoming Fear

  • We need to face fear head-on.
  • We often hold ourselves back because of the fear of failure.
  • Instead, we should accept failure as expected — to keep failing until we get it right. 
  • Every failure comes with irreplaceable lessons. They are gifts for growth.

[12:55] Justine’s Work at Climate Bonds Initiative

  • The company helps drive significant capital towards climate change solutions.
  • Climate change is the biggest problem we are facing this century and beyond. We are currently living in what’s called the Century of Volatility.
  • Climate Bonds Initiative supports businesses, investors, banks and governments and turns them into green investors.
  • The company is both an advocacy and technical group.
  • Their work reaches Europe, China, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

[16:26] Justine’s Leadership Style

  • She values a high threshold for performance, passion, commitment and loyalty.
  • Justine’s former boss inspired her leadership values.
  • This boss taught her that a leader might have good ideas, but it’s a good team that can execute and bring these ideas to life.
  • This is exactly how she views herself as a leader.

[18:29] Keeping Purpose and Passion Alive

  • The pandemic forced teams to work remotely.
  • For Justine, this made her team grow closer and stronger.
  • They hold weekly meetings to keep everyone connected.
  • There should be a balance between work and personal life. Companies should not cross this boundary.

[21:17] Staying Positive and Motivated

  • Yoga and meditation keep her sane.
  • She takes the weekend off to rest.
  • Maintaining a consistent schedule for rest is hard, especially when a slight shift in work can destroy the plan.
  • Justine’s routines are not perfect, but she keeps practicing.  

[24:25] The Importance of Values and Vulnerability

  • Purpose helps us stay tough and look forward to the future.
  • Exposure to work where you lack experience can bring about vulnerability.  
  • Your vulnerability does not have to last long. You can change this lack of experience.
  • Just take it forward and keep looking for ways to make it right.
  • Celebrate your small successes! Listen to the full episode to hear Justine’s take on how to move past your fears and vulnerabilities.

[29:05] Listen More

  • We are quick to speak before listening to others.
  • We need to listen to our team members and never forget their contributions.
  • Listening is often underestimated in our culture.

[32:20] Justine’s Absolute Secret to Success

  • For Justine, the secret to success is listening to your inner voice. 
  • We all have the inner wisdom that knows what to do next. 
  • Listen to the full episode to hear Justine’s experience of a silent retreat!

5 Powerful Quotes

[10:17] ‘If it is something that is scary, you have that moment of contemplating with that fear on what you’re going to do with it. And then the joy is being able to get over it and get to the other side’.

[12:32] ‘Every fail comes with amazing lessons to reflect on. And that may not seem like a gift at the time, it’s hard to see through failure is all-encompassing, but it really does actually make you stronger’.

[25:02] ‘We never always have the right answers, we may not always know the right direction of travel, especially when you are managing an organisation that is growing really, really fast’.

[26:51] ‘The vulnerability part is accepting what you don’t know and trying to do the best in figuring it out. That exposure to the lack of experience is a moment in time, and it can definitely change — it’s up to you how you want to change it’.

[29:22] ‘We’re very quick to speak our minds before listening to others. And I say that in a just a sense that especially when you are leading the growth of a fast paced organisation, you do not want to forget the great contribution that your teams can make and the people that work around you can make’.

About Justine

Justine Leigh-Bell is currently the Deputy CEO & Director of Market Development at the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). Her work involves helping businesses and governments find sustainable development solutions in our global challenge of climate change.

She works closely with public and private sectors to develop national policy guidelines and investment roadmaps to support green bond financing.

Justine has an MSc. in Molecular Science from Yale University and an MSc. in Environmental Economics and Policy from Imperial College, London. Her specialisation includes sustainable development in emerging economies, climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies, climate finance, economic valuation and market-based instruments to manage natural resource assets.

Interested to learn more about Justine’s work? You can check Climate Bonds Initiative. You can also follow her at LinkedIn and Twitter

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To defining success,