You left the UAE in 2019, and came back to the UK and promptly got a consulting role working alongside HR and L&D in Hampshire. What had changed in the HR and L&D World UK since you left?
I was lucky that the company I was working in put an emphasis on L&D and saw that it was beneficial to both the employees and the company. They ensured that talent and skills were assessed and made learning part of the employee and company’s journey to deliver high quality Services. They used a blend of online, in-person and coaching techniques which the employees seemed to enjoy. It also motivated them to apply learning to their work to create better results. The key element was that the coaches were available to help implement the learnings into the work. I think the change that i saw there was that Learning and Development had become both motivational, relevant and aligned to the individual’s and the company’s success.
You are now UK Ambassador with One Small Town? Would you like to tell our readers what this exciting initiative is?
One Small Town is my dream job. It is a global movement that works with communities to turn their towns into places of prosperity. We do this by building interconnected businesses spanning all industry sectors, which are co-owned by all the members of the community who contribute time in exchange for dividends, and a share of everything that is created. At a time when we see global changes, it is clear that people are rethinking what they value and so are looking for alternative ways to how they work, as well as also being part of their community. Imagine your community growing it’s own organic food, which is also served in your community’s restaurants, well-being centres, and also sold to your neighbors in your own co-operative store. Food is just one of the outputs, the lists of goods and services, which include energy and water, are endless.
Currently, your role requires setting up a whole new “ organisation” , requiring Talent and implementing structure. What are your challenges?
The amount of interest is growing daily, and we are currently designing the global organisational structure. As a result, we will be actively recruiting for talent. High on the list is setting up the right structure to help people manage their co-created businesses, time and learning-so, HR and L&D professionals that comprehend our business model and philosophy, as well as other key roles will be what we need. Our challenge is also our strength, as our organisation is one of a kind and requires a whole different way of thinking. The core essence is that it is community driven and therefore strategy and policy are not driven from the top down, but rather driven from the collective goals and needs that are analysed and agreed upon.
How do you see One Small Town evolving and your role in it?
There is no doubt the organisation will grow and evolve and the exciting thing for me is that I am open to what happens next. I used to plan my next move, but now I just feel excited to co-create with my fellow teams around the world who are not defined or pigeon-holed by their past roles or qualifications. There will be many exciting projects that we can all add value to as a collective. Each day people contact us asking how they can help and one of our challenges at the moment is how we onboard and utilise a diverse skill-set. We have developed our own technical platform, and this will help us manage our members and their talents. It is currently being rolled out in our Lebanese and South African towns and soon in the Isle of Man, which is our first project in the British Isles.
Many ONE Small Towns are springing up all over the Globe. What kinds of projects are emerging in which meet your community driven, values-based set ups?
The beauty of this is that everyone has a part to play. We are creating projects which span across each business sector and will probably be creating some new ones as we go along as the possibilities are endless. The aim is to use peoples’ natural talents so they come together to produce goods and services but also have free time for family and their passions. Nothing is off the table, from growing food, inventing new technology, to art and theatre, it’s all about creating the community you want together.