How to build INFLUENCE BY finding, living, and evolving your purpose – AKOLA CEO Sheeba Philip

With Sheeba Phillip
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Show Notes

Episode Title: How to build influence by finding, living, and evolving your purpose – Akola CEO Sheeba Philip (Episode 178) 



Purpose! No doubt at some point, you’ve been given the advice to find and live your purpose, or to find your calling and lean into it.  

But have you ever struggled to figure out what your purpose is? Or maybe you’ve wondered if the purpose you’re pursuing is the right one? Or maybe whether your purpose has shifted? 

Understanding and living our purpose can be a powerful driver and motivator, and can be an important component of building and sustaining influence. Purpose is closely tied to our values and what’s most important to us. And yet, it can sometimes feel elusive. 

This week’s guest shares great perspective from her own pursuit to find purpose in her life, but also how she’s thought about purpose at different stages in her career, and within different sectors and for different organizations and brands. 



As a career marketing executive and now CEO of Dallas-based, social impact jewelry company AKOLA, Sheeba Philip has repeatedly found purpose in how she’s approached the customer experience. This has been true for her whether it was working on the Oreo cookie campaign for Mondaleze, or creating the “get your pennies worth” turn around campaign for retailer J.C. Penny. It’s also been true for her in helping the International Justice Mission fight against global slavery, and more recently, in Sheeba’s current role at Akola, where she has been helping shift the social impact jewelry company to a for profit model where its goal is creating a more sustainable economic model to break the cycle of poverty in Eastern Africa. As you will learn in our conversation, Sheeba’s approach is about creating a connection between the women who make the product in Africa, and the women who buy, wear, and embody the spirit of the product. AKOLA’s latest iteration of this approach is the unlock it bracelet. I’m wearing mine in this conversation with Sheeba, and we talk about what it means. Last year, her work for Akola and ability to evolve and pivot the brand during covid landed her on InStyle Magazine’s list of “The 50 Badass Women for 2021.”




CONNECTION: As Sheeba and I discuss, the power of connection is deeper than just getting someone to buy your product or listen to your message. Creating a connection can inspire greater brand loyalty and can be a powerful part of influence. It can also be key to finding purpose in our lives. 


RISK TAKING & FAITH: Faith plays a big role for Sheeba in guiding her decisions to pursue risky proportions in the name of finding purpose. 


THE IMPORTANCE OF REST: I love how Sheeba talks about the importance of working hard, but also of the critical importance of rest, and the positive impact breaks can have to spark creativity and innovation. 


CAREER PIVOTS: Sheeba has had many. She talks about how to pursue them even when they seem to fall outside of the bounds of what we “supposed to do.” 


SHEEBA’S WORD OF THE YEAR: “Spectacular!” Find out why.  Do you choose a word for the year? 


One of the things I especially love about this conversation with Sheeba is how adaptable and relevant her advice is whether your focus is service, retail, non-profit, large or small business, or just within your own life. Talk about powerful ammunition for building INFLUENCE!

Let me know what you thought of the episode! DM me @lauraCoxKaplan on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter — I’d love to hear from you! And, if you are feeling generous, please be sure to leave a review on itunes. Reviews help others who are looking for content like this to find it. 

Have a great week! 

About Sheeba Philip 

The Unlock It Bracelet

Akola Founder Brittany Underwood, Episode 63