Hilary Thompson: Strength and guts
Hilary Thompson is an inspiration.
She has worked tirelessly all her life to protect workers – young and old - across a vast array of cultures and contexts, to help them and keep them safe in the face of often grim practices imposed by bosses responding to global supply chain demands. Exploitation happens because we want cheap products on our store shelves and Hilary works for the people at the far end of global supply chains, in the remote unseen corners affected by our demands.
She has also worked tirelessly to protect Nature, particularly forests, and the people that depend on them for the livelihoods.
She has spent many years working in male-dominated cultures, in stores, as a store manager, as a buyer and as a sustainability manager.
She’s also a single mum and has raised two wonderful children who now have their own children – Hilary’s grandchildren – that delight her.
And she’s battling cancer, for a second time, having already fought and survived once.
She’s tough but won’t let her battles define her. She prefers to focus on what’s happening right now and what she might do in the future to make things better for those precious working people that inspire her to get out of bed every day.
Hilary joined TFT in November 2004 and I’ve had the privilege of working closely with her ever since. She now leads TFT’s Respect program and we recorded a Cooee! podcast last year where she shared the objectives and approach she and the teams are taking to help workers around the world.
She’s a very private person but last October I corralled her into a small corner and encouraged her to share some of her story - to get Hilary to talk about Hilary for once. It wasn’t easy but we did better than in the past. When I shared the podcast with her, she was embarrassed to hear herself talking so much about her life.
I urged her not to be. She has inspired me since I’ve known her and my hope is that my chat with Hilary will inspire others, particularly young women entering the workforce, to follow their passions and dreams too.
Hilary Thompson has incredible strength and great guts to keep fighting the good fight and to keep putting herself out there, each and every day, on the frontline for workers and Nature the world over.
Thank you Hilary