Social Consulting aims to solve poverty through business education. I was part of the Fiji Social Consulting team in January 2018 and lucky to work with a bunch of people who gave 100% every day and were passionate and inspired in what social consulting was all about.
Our jobs were two fold: firstly, to develop and run workshops on basic business content to local business owners and potential entrepreneurs, and secondly to develop stakeholder relationships to grow social consulting and to drive people to our workshops. I was mostly involved in the second part of this though I also had the opportunity to run workshops. Running workshops was always engaging and a whole heap of fun, because it was where you could directly see the impact of our business and how we were working closer to our goal as the attendees business mindset develops right in front of you.
Most of the work I did was engaging with stakeholders, so setting up meetings with people in government and organisations with related purposes, like micro-finance banks, and the tribal council.
By the end of our four weeks, we had gone from having 5-10 people coming to our workshops to 30 people! We also established an agreement with one of the biggest micro-finance organisations in the Pacific region, and were building relationships with local villages.
I’m from Perth and the first person from WA to work with Project Everest! I’ve grown up in Perth but always loved travelling since my parents first put me on a plane at 6. When I was in high school I started volunteering, including for Australia’s largest NGO where I worked for 5 years including as the director of their youth movement. Many young people feel as though we don’t have the power to make change on global issues – so we become disinterested in doing anything. I’ve always loved encouraging other young people to change their mentality and look for opportunities to disrupt the way we think about global issues like poverty and environmental sustainability. This led to my passion for development and to end up studying it along with law. In 2016, I went on exchange to Hong Kong where I studied public policy and social enterprise and I became interested in the role of social enterprise in international development. I completed an internship with Austern International there and went on to be a facilitator for them, which developed my business knowledge and skills, but I was keen to combine that experience with my love and knowledge of development as well. That’s what lead me to work for Project Everest Social Consulting.
In my team at social consulting most people came from a business background but in different areas. It was good to have a diverse team and I think any background has something transferrable which could be applied to my job. As a law student, I was able to assist my team in a unique way. I rewrote our teams memorandum of understandings (similar to a contract) and was able to make our agreements with stakeholders more clear and help other teams to do this as well. My development background was also incredibly useful to my role, because I always had an impact focus which was a contrasting perspective to the business focus of my team members. By working together we could achieve a good balance in everything we did and consider both aspects of what makes a social enterprise a social enterprise.
Apart from being in a literal tropical paradise? I loved working in a team of people where everyone held their own and worked 100% to our goals. During our month in Fiji we achieved so much with the social consulting project and I loved being able to see a tangible difference from where it was in the beginning and where it was by the time we left, because that translates into positive changes for Fijian business people.
A major limitation is that you’re normally only working on a particular project for 4 weeks, so you don’t get to see where it goes after that – you have to trust the team that comes in after you will have the same passion and vision as you do. One thing you can do to mitigate this is to have great handover, as the quality of the handover can be a big limitation both coming into the role and being able to hit the ground running, and in ensuring your project continues to succeed.