Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility.
Meet Grace Owen
Grace Owen of Grace Owen Solutions Ltd (www.grace-owen.com) runs a 12-year-old leadership development consultancy that works across the private, charity, public and enterprise sectors. She is an advisor to organisations and institutions, facilitator to groups and teams and a mentor coach to senior women leaders. Recent clients are London Business School and UNICEF UK anbd Grace is also the author of the self-development book The Career Itch – 4 Steps for Taking Control of What You Do Next.
What you do for charities?
“Recently, in May 2015, I launched a community legacy project, African Diaspora Kids because I believe that primary school-aged children have so much to offer Africa and the Diaspora. We have worked with over 500 children to date and are now exploring a partnership with a well-known museum in London.
In 2013, I was looking for an opportunity to support a charity, with an exceptional record of international development. A series of divine appointments led me to become a non-executive director for Camfed, which campaigns for female education in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the UK and USA. So far, apart from attending board meetings and sharing my perspective I have visited students in Tanzania, delivered leadership training to a pan African group of leaders and am sponsoring a strategic project. If you don’t yet know about the amazing Camfed alumni, Cama, do check it out!”
How did this happen?
“Over the decades of doing a wide range of work for numerous charities I wanted to be more focused and have greater impact so devised a philanthropic model based on giving my time, energy, skills, resources and networks each year.”
Why is this a good fit for you?
“All of the charitable causes that I am interested in today reflect my interests, which are currently leadership, education, the creative arts and issues relating to women and young children particularly in Africa and the African diaspora.”
What have you gotten out of it?
“It has been great to make a difference to others and see the effect of that right before my eyes or hear about the positive impact that has been made as a result of my intervention and involvement. I am interested in seeing systemic change as well as change to an individual and their unique situation, so working at a grass roots and strategic level means I get to do this. I have developed my existing skills and acquired new knowledge about global and local issues. Travelling to new countries, hearing different perspectives and meeting lots of new people has been great for expanding my network.
I am constantly inspired by the stories of people who have overcome difficult circumstances to make the most of opportunities given to them and who then give back to multiply the difference so that others can benefit like they have!”
What’s your advice to anyone thinking of doing this?
“Don’t hesitate. I believe we are hard wired to make a difference to others. You never know what the experience will teach you about yourself and your fellow human beings. Don’t wait for the opportunity to be the right one, do whatever you can and you’ll work out what is really important to you. If you want more advice, you’ll need to read my book on leadership which is out in spring 2016!”
Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!