Prioritising social value, avoiding “growth for growth’s sake”, and leading a charity through the Covid-19 pandemic are all part of the discussion in a brand new podcast launched this week, featuring ECT Charity CEO Anna Whitty MBE as one of the first guests.
The Fit for the Future podcast – produced by social enterprise magazine Pioneers Post and co-hosted by Buzzacott accountants – sets out to explore what it means to build a healthy, resilient, sustainable organisation that’s able to do good and well at the same time.
Throughout the series, the hosts meet some of the stars of social enterprise and mission-driven business to talk about how to build a strong culture, navigating risk and what it means to measure and manage impact.
In this first episode, Anna – who has been CEO at the community transport charity for more than 13 years, is joined by Natalie Campbell, who began her stint as the CEO of ethical drinks business Belu Water just three weeks before the coronavirus lockdown was announced in March.
They have two very different perspectives on the crisis, but agree on the lessons to be learnt from it. ECT consolidated its strong relationships in local communities, delivering food parcels and checking up on isolated and vulnerable people, as well as keeping essential transport running. In contrast, Belu’s activity stalled as the hospitality industry ground to a halt, but used this pause as an opportunity to refocus for the future.
Both businesses started the crisis from a solid financial position, which allowed them to continue to put mission first. And both leaders agree that purpose must come first to remain sustainable.
“I’ve had too much of the ‘my turnover is bigger than yours’ mentality,” Anna tells podcast co-hosts Tim West and Eddie Finch. “ For me, what is important is the social value that we create for our community.”
• You can hear more from Anna and Natalie Campbell by listening to the podcast on the Pioneers Post website.