Hi! I'm Rebecca Mills.
I'm the Founder and Managing Director of the Transformation Agency, The Lever Room. The Lever Room actively supports people, organisations and movements to have impact at scale. I'm known for my abilities to think holistically to create practical solutions that are win-wins for people, profit nature and our climate. My methods create prosperity for people, organisations, cities and sectors.
As a strategy, sustainability and innovation specialist, I've also been fortunate enough to be a founding team member of The B Team, Homestar, The Edmund Hilary Fellowship and Te Awaroa. I am a Board Member of Sustainable Seas and The Deep South Challenges, a Mentor and Advisor to a number of organisations.
I hold a Certificate in Disruptive Innovation from Harvard Business School and a Master of Science and Technology (First Class, First Division) from Waikato University.
I've worked across scales and countries, and also across government, not-for-profit and business sectors. Through a career, which kicked off as a biosphere scientist, I have come to believe that there is a need to use system thinking (understand the entire system, and interactions between the various components,) in order to create the most impactful solutions.
The depth and breadth of my work allows me to undertake systems based evaluations rapidly. My experience in business, science and government allows me to uncover leverage points (I call them acupressure points), which unlock regenerative, highly profitable outcomes which match the needs of those I work with.
Example Projects and Initiatives
The notes below show some examples of my work. A more fulsome overview of my work can be seen here.
I dedicated 2 years of my life to help shape and build the startup which is now known as The B Team. The B Team is a global initiative (founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz), which simply and ambitiously put, seeks to change the way the world does business. As the first person working full time on the start up, I was fortunate enough to spend time working closely with the global advisory board I helped bring together. Working with fellow advisors I framed initial discussions and thinking that defined areas of focus for the B Team. These focus areas are now communicated as 10 ‘challenges’, which together create the Agenda of Plan B http://bteam.org/planb.
In the video below Jane Henley (The World Bank Group, previously NZGBC), gives her insight into both the development of ‘Homestar’ and her personal experience of working with Rebecca Mills at The Lever Room.
Prior to launching The Lever Room I led the impact evaluation and sustainable design process for a number of large-scale masterplans across London and South East England during a period of rapid growth in the region. The (now acclaimed) regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula, and the Sustainability and Energy strategies for London 2012 Olympics are examples of such masterplan projects. I’ve also led the assessment of large coastal and renewable energy projects (including geothermal, hydro and wind) in New Zealand, although its fair to say my work in New Zealand has been more sector and region based. In both countries I have also worked at a national policy level, representing England in various climate adaptation discussions.
I’m interested in the idea of New Zealand being a ‘innovation nation’ and have focused on scalable models and strategies which seek to regenerate while providing a template to be shared with others. Related to this, I’ve played a central role in building bridges to connect world-class talent, impact capital, and high-tech innovation to the New Zealand startup ecosystem. There are a few examples of this and one of them is the curation of people and ideas for a festival primarily designed to spark conversations about integrated and innovative solutions to global problems.
In 2017 I was invited to produce the closing workshop for the global experimental knowledge lab 'The Unschool' where I also judged a startup disruptive design challenge. I've also acted as a mentor for numerous entreprenuerial programmes including the globally renowned ‘Unreasonable Labs’ 5-day accelerators for early-stage entrepreneurs devoted to solving the world's biggest problems.
My work coaching young people resulted in me being the first person in New Zealand to be nominated as a 'Global Shaper' by the World Economic Forum. Once selected I went on to curate and build New Zealand's first hub, in Auckland.
I'm advocate of role of gender and cultural diversity in creating great ventures and was stoked to be featured alongside such amazing female entrepreneurs in this video.