• Yes Get It

Profit is not a dirty word: 5 lessons I learned from the first Young Social Pioneers intensive

Updated: Nov 11, 2018

Are they sure they picked correctly? Is everyone else nervous? Can we actually change the world? These were the questions I and 44 other young people asked ourselves last week as we began the first intensive of the Foundation for Young Australians’ (FYA) Young Social Pioneers program. Over 3 days I was inspired, challenged and energised – and I want to share 5 of my biggest takeaways with you.

1. The future is bright

 FYA has gathered an amazing group of young people (see the full list here) into a supportive and unique community.

●     All 45 of us are from wildly diverse backgrounds, but are united in our commitment to addressing Australia’s most pressing social issues to create a future we can believe in.

●     From a shark scientist and shark advocate, to a social enterprise tiling business that employs refugees run by a former refugee – you name it, and someone is tackling it.

●     The wonderful FYA staff, fearless leader Jan Owen and alumni are the magicians who’ve created and nourished a community that’s like no other in Australia.

2. Money and profit are not dirty words

If you’re creating something of value, it should be acknowledged.

●     This was repeated by many guest speakers, and is something that we cover in Yes Get It as part of our negotiation workshops for women. 

●     Money and profit can come in the form of philanthropy, payment for services/products or donations. Making, accepting and talking about money is not dirty and can be empowering, especially if you’re working for social impact.

●     Each of us will even be pitching for $10,000 in seed funding at the end of the program – so if you have any tips for us, please share below!

3. ATP – Ask The Person

The brilliant Andrea de Almeida (ED of B-Lab) and Rona Glynn-McDonald (CEO of Common Ground) led a session on systems change and introduced us to ATP - Ask The Person. It sounds too simple, but is important to remember. To find the best solutions to problems, we must actually ask the person impacted what they want. I‘ll be doing just that over the next few weeks - speaking with young women about their biggest challenges and what they want for their lives. If you’d like to share with me, please comment or DM me.

4. Leave your ego at the door

I believe this was the biggest ‘aha’ moment for most of us. Don’t tie your business or non-profit outcomes to your self-worth – that is a recipe for burnout and heartache.

●     The only way we can address big social challenges in a sustainable way is by doing it together, and being in it for the long haul.

●     Making social change is a marathon not a sprint – so make sure you sustain yourself with systems, routines, self-care and a strong support network.

5. Success is anything but a straight line

Shout out to the outstanding YSP alumni and Jan Owen for making this point over and over.

If you’re pushing the boundaries and socially innovating, you’re going to feel out of place. You won’t always know what you’re doing. If you know it all, you’re too far in your comfort zone.

Be comfortable with making it up as you go along and know that everyone else is doing the exact same thing.

Do any of these lessons resonate with you?

Helen Babb

Founder & CEO, Yes Get It


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