Spending a year on secondment to Social Business Trust as a Senior Investment Manager was hugely worthwhile says Jack Jaworski, EMEA Head, Professional & Consulting Services at Refinitiv. He explains why:

How would you summarize your SBT experience?

At a high level, working with inspiring social enterprises and helping them to grow. The most enjoyable part of the experience for me was meeting such a diverse group of people and leaders from all walks of life.

The ethos is very different to the corporate sector, working with those who are maybe more intrinsically motivated and driven by a social mission, as opposed to salaries and bonuses. There’s lots we can take from that when driving our own organisational culture through leadership.

Which social enterprises particularly interested you?

I absolutely love Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF): the team work unbelievably hard with limited resources but they’re always extremely passionate and have an infectious energy. One of my favourite moments was attending SSF’s Festival launch. I was really taken aback by the two schools that performed; the children were incredibly confident and energising.

It put into perspective my SBT experience and demonstrated how leveraging corporate expertise and investment could significantly impact the lives of thousands of beneficiaries, in this case young children, for the better.

I also found Moneyline fascinating, with the story of how they started on housing estates, providing those stuck in the most dangerous situations with safer financing options and alternatives to loan sharks. The depth of impact they have is truly eye-opening.

What have you learned from the experience?

I have a better understanding of the social sector. There’s not as much recognition of the sector as there should be but that’s hopefully starting to shift. Meeting with the enterprises you get a sense of momentum and a change in mindset for traditional charities who want to act more like businesses.

In the financial industry, major fund managers are now considering social factors when investing. However, there is still comparatively little investment in social enterprises, as the incredible work and impact does not always translate into large profits. There should be higher recognition placed on the amazing service they are doing for the community as a whole, as we are all interconnected.

Working alongside people from Bain, EY and other SBT corporate partners also led me to challenge my own way of thinking and approach to organisational strategy. I’ll make better management decisions going back: I’ve gained lots more than I was expecting.

Would you encourage other to get involved in SBT?

Definitely, it’s something I would highly recommend. I’ve got a new-found energy and will be returning to my organisation with a fresh perspective.

“I was previously siloed in a particular way of thinking but now I look forward to challenging how and why we do things with a more holistic mindset – always considering the bigger picture and wider community. It’s been hugely beneficial and I’ll be a better leader for it.”

*Refinitiv was formerly the Financial and Risk business of Thomson Reuters.