Covid was the worst thing and the best thing to ever happen to my social enterprise
As borders shut, and the realisation that our work over the next year would be impossible, emails started to flood in.
These emails were from NGOs around the world who started to realise the impact of Covid-19 on their organisations and communities around the world. They needed our help. Now more than ever before.
Looking ahead, we could also see a year of hunkering down, all of us getting obsessed with our tiny lives.
By April and May, when we all shut the door on everything, we wanted to find a way to continue to help people see that the big world is still out there. Despite the pandemic, problems still exist with regards to poverty in the developing world, education of young people, preservation of the ocean, climate change and so much more.
And we couldn’t forget that.
We needed to continue to be global citizens. Not just thinking of loo paper in our cupboards.
And this brought us to an even bigger question.
What is leadership in this new normal?
Is it just synonymous with a job title?
What does leadership require from you as a person?
Has anything changed as a result of all of this?
I would say leadership is something you DO when you get appointed to being a leader.
But what does that look like?
I would say it’s a sense of responsibility, empathy, seeing the world in a broader sense.
The definition and expectations of leaders has evolved to thinking beyond profit and growth, to encompass a responsibility of looking at the world in a broader sense and finding ways to make it better.
By connecting professionals from the private sector with social initiatives in developing countries you can create opportunities for people in the corporate world to move out of their comfort zones and grow as leaders by doing good.
Creating leadership experiences that aren’t taught.
We’ve been doing it since 2007.
And it works.
So in April, when we looked at all of these dynamics, it was clear we needed to find a way to continue doing what we do.
Necessity is the mother of invention. In every challenge there is an opportunity. And the obstacle is the way.
With that, the new TIE movement started.
Very quickly we created three new virtual offerings: TIE Accelerator, TIE Advisor and Team TIE.
And the support to make these offerings come to fruition came flooding in. It was incredible.
The pandemic has created a shared experience, where even though we are isolated and can’t travel or see people, we feel ever more connected to other people around the world. The world has become more human.
This virtual space was created so that people can unlock different thinking. Create some meaning. And use their leadership to impact the world.
We have just finished our first ever TIE Accelerator project. Jason Oke who has run companies for WPP for the last 10 years, Iris Glaser who’s a Creative Director and Cyril Awere a Business Consultant came together to help the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights. The Jiyan Foundation supports survivors of terror, torture and war in Syria and Iraq, and their goal was to find a way to generate revenue with artwork from their beneficiaries.
The team got involved because they were looking for ways to grow, push their brains and give back in some way. And the Jiyan Foundation got a powerful solution that will help them generate income so that more people can get the treatment they need.
And they did it all from the comfort of their homes, a couple of hours a day.
We recently finished our first ever Virtual TIE Advisor project with Cameron Milne, the Director of Business Development at The&Parnership in New York. And Cameron was able to put his corporate skills to the test in a more socially minded context, helping an African children’s book publisher bring African stories to children across the world.
And last week we launched another TIE Advisor programme with Paul Steggall, Partner at Manchester Square Partners and Shameem Sangha Founder of Rousseau. Over the next few months, they will be using their leadership to impact the NGO Shaishav Child Rights in India, to consult on their business strategy and develop a long-term financial strategy for the organisation. A chance to truly impact an organisation, a community, and the world with what they know. But a chance to grow in new and different ways whilst they are at it.
It’s about life experiences that empower you to be more than you are.
As Carter Murray, Worldwide CEO of FCB says, “Leadership today isn’t just about strength and stability. I think it’s about listening, and vulnerability and being human.”
Our participants experience what doing leadership with a soul really means.
How to put the heart back into business. And how to make the corporate world more human.
In this new normal, it’s about understanding other people.
That is leadership.
As Harry MacAuslan says, “Leadership is not given, it is found. Leadership is not passed from one person to another, it comes from within us and is the result of experiences and beliefs”.
TIE provides those experiences and helps to form those beliefs.
So as you look to 2021, and you’re keen to do things differently. Keen to find another way, but not sure where exactly to begin. Consider TIE. It’s a true game changer. And you will not only impact the world with what you know. But also grow in new ways whilst you are at it.
Thank you for being a part of all of this. For your support, for getting involved, for reading the blogs and newsletters, for joining the TIE community, and for coming along for the ride. I am just so grateful. None of this would have been possible without you.