From Stockbroker to Humanitarian

How did I go from a stockbroker to a humanitarian?

This is a topic I get asked about a lot, so today I am going to share a little bit about my journey from stockbroker to humanitarian.

Those two labels don’t necessarily fit together, but part of that is that I’m no longer the same person as I was a number of years ago when I was working as a stockbroker.

To find out more about my journey watch this video or keep reading.

When I started working, I was a person who didn’t really have a massive dream or vision for how I wanted my life to look. I wanted to move out of home, I wanted to have freedom and I wanted to go off and travel. And so, I did what many people around me were doing at the time got myself a job in a bank. From there I progressed, trained and became a stockbroker. I was a fully qualified stockbroker by the age of 23.

At that point, I was living my life thinking, honestly, of not much more than myself and the life that I was having. I eventually got to the point where I realised that this wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I needed to go and explore what life is actually about. So I went off travelling and backpacking around the world for a few years and then got a degree. I had a fantastic time and but for one reason or another I ended up back in the investment world.

In 2003 I had the opportunity to take redundancy. For me this was brilliant – I was so excited because I knew by this point that this industry was not where I belonged. I had a very different set of values to many of the people I was working beside. I do have some great friends from my stockbroking days, but increasingly I didn’t share the views of those running the organisations. The further I progressed the bigger the gap and the bigger the potential conflict in values.

I decided to set out by myself, as a coach and therapist. I started to build a business which offered emotional well-being programmes within organisations. Within a few years I was running a successful training consultancy business but one of the downsides of that success was the exhaustion, I was burning out. I had become a slave to a job which I loved – I was working too many hours and travelling a lot. It was very lucrative but it wasn’t why I had gone into business. It wasn’t giving me the lifestyle I was looking for and there was still something missing inside my heart.

I was out in India, working a lucrative training contract, when I decided that I needed to take some time out. I came home and walked away from this contract, and my full diary! I knew I wanted to do something more meaningful I just didn’t know what shape that would take.

I had always been incredibly affected by pictures or footage on the news of natural disasters, wars or the other horrific events happening all over the world. However, I felt helpless, I didn’t feel like I had the skills to go off and help. I donated money, and I still do, however part of me wanted to do more. I set the intention to do something meaningful with my life, ideally something involving children as I haven’t had my own. I also wanted travel to play an active part in my life, and to utilise the skills I had built up over the years.

The very next day I received an email containing a short clip from a film about Dr Lori Leyden about her humanitarian work with genocide survivors in Rwanda. This film felt like a sign to me, a message to me to reach out. The old me seemed to give way to this courageous energy inside which enable me to reply:

                “I love what you are doing, would love to hear more.”

8 weeks on, there I was at the top of a Rwandan mountain delivering my first training session to genocide survivors.

At that point I thought I wanted to do some fundraising and go out a couple of times to support this cause, but I never for one minute thought my involvement would go as far as it did. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been to Rwanda and we have had a Hollywood film made about the work we did. We helped those genocide survivors overcome their trauma and we taught them heart-centred leadership and entrepreneurial skills so that the stood a better chance in life.

It’s impossible to imagine how it feels to see your family murdered in front of you, or imagine experiencing any of the many atrocities of war. Those emotions can drive people to suicide, create terrorists and tear lives apart. But these young people we worked with really opened my heart and showed me the capacity we all have as human beings to heal, to recover and to make the most of our lives. That was the start of my journey as a humanitarian. That one trip has significantly changed my life in so many ways as you can probably tell from a lot of the material I am putting out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing my story and I’d love to hear yours – please share your journey below.

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P.S. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE or my Give to Profit Facebook Fanpage HERE.


Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to empower business owners and entrepreneurs to grow fulfilling profitable businesses that make a difference in the world.

Alisoun’s keynote talks, training, mentoring, and best-selling books Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes and Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves doing humanitarian work, fundraising and living by the beach in Scotland.

Alisoun is also the founder of The Heartabiz Hub a business training academy and has written the following free ebooks:

  • 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
  • 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
  • The 9 Secrets to Signing Up Clients Without Selling (click here)

You can connect with Alisoun here:

  • Alisoun’s website – 
  • Alisoun Mackenzie Facebook Fanpage – click HERE
  • Give To Profit Facebook Fanpage – click HERE
  • Twitter – @AlisounMac
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