When Liam Black left 15, Jamie Oliver’s foundation, I wondered what he’d do next. The first part of the answer comes in the form of Wavelength 100, a two-day event connecting social entrepreneurs and private sector businesses. Over lunch at One Alfred Place this month, we talked about the idea that two people in completely different jobs or sectors could, at heart, be trying to solve very similar problems. And how bringing those two people together could result in some powerful reactions.
I met Liam at a dinner hosted by James Lawn and Bronwyn Kunhardt, founders of Polecat. Sitting opposite me was the excellent Katie Ledger. We kept in touch and last week Katie did a superb job hosting the Catalyst Awards final.
Liam Black once told a Guardian interviewer that his first vocation was to become a priest. Jim and Bron went from Microsoft to found Polecat, measuring the social impact of social media. Katie used to present the news on ITV and Channel 5 and now helps business leaders get their story heard, and is writing a book about portfolio work. Different people, different paths.
Last year I met the inspiring Dalton Leong, who changed path from his City career to run the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. Just this month I spent the morning at the St Giles Trust, run by former investment banker, Rob Owen.
Two weeks ago I hosted some Speed Networking between employees of ten investment banks, here in London. Although the mood was extremely positive, talk turned often to passions beyond the city.
Regardless of where people are holidaying and what they’re reading this summer, I wouldn’t mind betting that we hear about some pretty major career changes from some pretty influential people come September.