Before joining social enterprise Two Generations, I was trained and chartered as a financial accountant with a global financial services firm.
Throughout my eight-year career, I was in various roles and firms. I focused on merger and acquisition (M&A) tax, structuring, and insurance advisory, in particular, working on prime real estate and infrastructure transactions in the UK and globally. Basically, I was the tax person in an M&A deal.
Moving from finance to a social enterprise
My interest in social goods and humanity started at university where I was actively involved in cultural exchanges and non-profit-driven work. This included a summer of cultural exchange with AIESEC in Istanbul, Turkey, obtaining a grant from LSE to conduct ethnographic study in Hong Kong. I also did a work placement with British Red Cross.
My eight years in the finance world were exceptionally rewarding. They helped me gain insights into how profit-driven organisations strategise, manage their businesses and react to economic changes. From recession to Brexit, I have experienced immediate market reactions firsthand.
The knowledge and experience I gained in the corporate world allowed me to formulate a much better understanding of the optimal organisational structure, which is of course a social enterprise. It’s an in-between type of organisation that is both for-profit and for-social-good. Any society enterprise would have two missions: firstly to create a sustainable and scalable business, and second to create a business that will NOT sacrifice the positive impact and social good.
I believe the latter mission should always be part of any organisation. There’s no better time than now to join (or start) a social enterprise as the start-up culture has matured in the UK. And there are more and more customers with disposable incomes who prioritise the story, the mission and the ethical standards of an organisation.
Working for a social enterprise
Two Generations is a start-up with a small team of highly capable, passionate and commercially-minded people. The thing I enjoy most about working here is the speed of making decisions and changes. For example, initially, our focus was to reach out to as many organisations with trusting relationships to older people as possible, so they feel comfortable contacting us directly with regards to their spare home.
However, almost immediately after Two Generations being featured on the BBC, it became apparent that many older people are very open-minded to new experiences such as intergenerational home-sharing.
This is what inspired me to write this piece about why the most important aspect of aging care is to provide accurate and up-to-date information for older people to make informed decisions that are best suited to their revolving caring needs.
Reaching out to younger people
We have now received more enquiries than before from older people who are willing to explore intergenerational housing. As a result, Two Generations has reacted to the market and demand swiftly and pivoted to promoting this arrangement to younger people.
Overnight, my work has changed from overseeing physical leaflet dropping to optimising SEO for greater digital reach. This is an incredible and unique experience that can only be found in hands-on start-ups with a good and clear sense of direction and understanding of their customers, like Two Generations.
We all work passionately to elevate loneliness in older and younger generations and truly believe in the good that intergenerational home-sharing arrangements will bring to society, especially during this pandemic which has put a lot of people (old and young) in isolation.
Pursuing other passions
During my time working in the finance industry, I have continued to pursue writing. This has led to an incredible book deal with a Hong Kong publisher (here’s the link to the book if you are interested, but it’s all in Chinese!). During the pandemic, I have started writing in English (albeit this is my third language) and gaining a little bit of publicity – here’s my Medium page.
If you are interested and passionate about one thing, and for whatever reason, you end up doing something else, that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your passion on the side. It’s about how much you want something, not always about the environment and conditions
Advice to my younger self
Separate people’s opinions from facts. Most of the time what people say is just their opinion and not the objective fact. If their opinions have led to self-doubt, then it’s more important than ever to consider they are most likely highly subjective.
Self-doubt is often the only obstacle to making dreams come true. I wish I had known that much earlier. I would have totally joined my school’s cheerleading team when I was 13 years old!