As a Managing Director running the derivatives hedging team at investment bank Credit Suisse, Sabine Chappard’s days are usually filled with developing and executing complex currency transactions for corporate clients. But in recent months her days have also been punctuated by calls and meetings focused on a very different type of business.
Chappard is working with Brightside, a social enterprise that is in the business of changing young people’s lives. Its mission is for all young people, regardless of background, to access education and career pathways they might not have believed were available to them.
And it’s achieving that through a platform for online mentoring which it both runs and licences to others to run programmes. The platform enables universities, corporates and charities to reach out and engage with thousands of young people with personalised support that overcomes many of the geographical, time and cost barriers of traditional mentoring.
Chappard was linked up with Brightside through Social Business Trust (SBT) as part of its new SBT Design programme, under which it aims to double the number of social enterprises it helps to grow. Brightside, one of the first social enterprises going through SBT Design, was attracted to the programme because of its focus on putting in place foundations for growth.
As CEO Anand Shukla, pictured here with Chappard, explains: “Brightside is proud of providing mentoring to over 60,000 young people since it was created in 2003. However, given the scale of the UK’s social mobility challenge, we are keen to ensure that as many young people as possible benefit from personalised support. That’s why we’re looking to treble our turnover in the next few years, with the ambition of working with 25,000 young people every year.“
One of Chappard’s clients was involved in SBT, so she had heard of the charity but did not really know what it does. When a call for volunteers went out to Managing Directors in Credit Suisse, an SBT supporter, she decided to find out more. It was Brightside that caught her attention at an SBT event.
Chappard says: “The mission of Brightside really rang a chord to me because I think what they do is absolutely fantastic. Also it was the team. Anand and Sue [Brightside Deputy CEO] presented and they were really professional, really passionate, very knowledgeable. I thought this is really a team I would like to be involved with.“
As SBT ‘Investment Director’ for Brightside, Chappard has supported the charity to think through their strategy and develop their customer offer as well as interpret and challenge financial analysis of the organisation. She also secured the help of an analyst from Credit Suisse to prepare financial projections, found mentors for the Brightside leadership team and organised a training event.
For Shukla, the contribution made by SBT and Chappard is invaluable: “The support that SBT has provided in general, and Sabine in particular, has been vital. They have provided a constructive critique of our growth plans, connected us with experts in strategy and customer development, and brought focus and clarity to our thinking. Our plans are far more robust as a result of their input.”
Chappard says the experience is making a difference to her too: “I feel I’m pushing my skills and applying them on something quite different from what I do every day and it is really very satisfying. If I can help a little bit, it actually feels quite nice to do something like this.”