Meeting the Team is a series of Q&As with the team behind Greater Change. Get to know the people working hard to keep this platform going, with serious questions about their motivations and experiences, and silly questions about where their thoughts wander on a long tube ride...
The countdown to Christmas has officially begun! In this season of celebration, we hope to remember those who may not have the warmth of families and homes to come back to. The team continues to work hard to provide the best service possible to our clients!
Next up in our series of getting-to-know-you Q&As is Jonathan Tan, our Chief Operating Officer. Jon oversees the running of Greater Change, from corporate partnerships to ground implementation. He shares the responsibility of working on funding, grants, and permissions with Alex, our founder.
1. Describe your Greater Change journey.
When Alex first approached me about Greater Change, he had already built up some good relationships with key people in Aspire (an Oxfordshire-based homelessness charity), but it was just an idea, so I was a little skeptical. Nevertheless, I thought it was an innovative approach and at least someone was trying to do something about the homelessness issue. I volunteered to help him set up the crowdfunding for the project.
We were able to raise a substantial amount of money to enable the project to launch a pilot trial in April 2018 and what really changed my mind about the viability of the project was when I met the people we were helping and saw how we were changing their lives. I distinctly remember thinking "Something that can do so much good, just has to work, we have to get it to succeed". So I continued to commit 10-12 hours a week, alongside my full time job as a consultant. By December that year, we had secured a moderate amount of grant funding and investments and the volume of work was way too much for one person to handle. So it seemed like it was just naturally the right move for me to leave my job and join Greater Change full time.
2. What is the greatest thing you’ve achieved whilst working at Greater Change?
I think it was when I was onboarding a new client in Chichester and they were telling me their story and I was explaining what we can do for them. I saw first-hand that we could give them a little bit of hope that their lives might finally change. That what we have built from scratch is now able to dramatically change someone's outlook on life, and then change their lives. It's not perfect, but it's working.
3. What surprised you the most about working for Greater Change?
Our philosophy and our approach to this whole issue of homelessness. We are relentless about asking people what they really need and giving it to them. The people on our team who work with the clients directly are always given what they need to get the job done, because we make the radical assumption, that they know better. It's a unique form of trust that is extremely hard to find.
4. What do you think about when you’re alone on the tube?
"I wish there were dogs here."
5. Share a memory that makes you smile.
When I first baked a loaf of bread myself that I was really happy with!
6. One fun fact!
I was a huge nerd in high school! I did a lot of programming just for fun...