Adam is a Founder and the Executive Director of Student Hubs as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Hub Commercial Ventures CIC, sister organisations with a joint mission to promote social action, social entrepreneurship and citizenship. Turl Street Kitchen, in Oxford is one of the Hub’s first commercial ventures. Adam is a trustee of Students Supporting Street Kids and had a short stint before university working in an investment bank.
Why do you do the job you do?
Society needs to be more integrated. Sometimes it seems that there is a crippling lack of communal endeavour and shared values. There are few institutions left whose aims include bringing people together, prioritising collaboration and partnership and creating a solid infrastructure of support for the volunteering lifecycle from birth to death. I see us as playing a small but crucial part in this lifecycle which hopefully produces more engaged and relational human beings who are always aware of each other’s needs and are able to respond quickly to alleviate human suffering.
What are you most proud of?
Well I’m continually amazed of the things that students and recent graduates manage to get up to in terms of making a difference in their communities. So I’m very proud that we’ve managed to help some of that happen.
What keeps you awake at night?
Our cafe-bar-restaurant, Turl Street Kitchen, is sometimes open until 3am, so occasionally that. Otherwise blissfully nothing. Far too much to keep you awake in the day to take those worries into the night!
What were you doing 5 years ago?
We’re just about to hit our fifth birthday, so five years ago we were a bunch of first and second year university students rather naively setting out into the world with the outlines of an organisation that had a much dodgier name at the time. Wild ambitions and few resources I think probably described us well – with just enough stupidity to carry us through. Little did we know that the joys of business plans, fundraising, committee meetings were stretched far and wide ahead of us.
What do you expect to be doing in 5 years’ time?
We’ve just laid out a five year plan so hopefully I’ll be looking back at everything we’ve achieved. Year on year we’re looking to get more students, doing more, more effectively, for longer. We want to be working across a wider range of universities and trying to engender social action across the whole of people’s lifetime, not just as students. We quite fancy running a few more restaurants as well…
If you were Prime Minister for the day, what would you do?
I’m fascinated by changing the way corporations operate, so probably something about changing governance to embed social and environmental values right at the core of all organisations, public and private. Super boring maybe, but something that would make a huge difference to altering the way we think about the value and purpose of business. There is much to be applauded in the way we do business today, but shareholders are too detached from the corporations they own to have any real influence. We all know this isn’t the right way and the recent surge in social enterprises, mutual and coops shows that it isn’t the only way anymore either.
What do you think On Purpose brings to the social enterprise field?
On Purpose shares a lot of our values; driving top talent towards making a real difference in the social sectors. Its testament to the successes of On Purpose that my only recommendation would be to work with more and more people. If many of the students we worked with ended up as On Purpose Associates we would consider it job done.