Glenn St John-Colgan selected as Non-Executive Director for the Wise Group
Augmentas’ Director, Glenn St John-Colgan, has been selected as the Non-Executive Director for growing social enterprise, the Wise Group. The Wise Group works to lift people out of poverty, working with vulnerable groups in society to empower them and create a fairer society for all.
Glenn explains what the appointment means to him and the wider picture for the Augmentas Group.
Why did you want to join the Wise Group board?
A friend of mine, who was a trustee at the Wise Group, introduced me as it was looking for help with its tendering success. It wasn’t long before it became clear that the Wise Group’s purpose and approach was a great match for both me personally and the work that the Augmentas Group does.
The vocational help the Wise Group provides to people is invaluable – the commitment and effort the organisation puts into individuals enables them to have a chance to grow and to live a life that may otherwise have been out of reach.
It echoed with my approach to work and, particularly, with the Augmentas Group. We work hard to make the business landscape as inclusive as possible, so that good people and good companies have a chance to win work and contracts that they have the experience to deliver.
Working with businesses and organisations that we know are the right people to deliver meaningful and impactful work, who otherwise might have been overlooked, means that we’re adding value too. People are ultimately getting access to better services because of our approach, and the more work we do with organisations like the Wise Group, the bigger impact we all have together.
What do you think you will bring to the board?
I’m hopeful that I will bring a shared sense of values along with strong commercial leadership skills.
I hope that my experience as an entrepreneur coupled with my knowledge of the public sector will help the Wise Group to challenge the way it does things. To take new, revived approaches to its work that will enable it to bring core business values to the enterprise and across the wider public sector.
If we can prove that third sector organisations can create a business model that rivals the private sector, then ultimately, the customer will get an enhanced and personal service and that will be a true test of my time on the board.
How does the position align with your values?
I have always had a values-driven approach to life, and this is something I’ve carried over into business. At the core of what we do at Augmentas Group is to help people get greater value out of commercial delivery, where they aren’t already, and to demonstrate growth by example.
As a small business, it’s not easy to do, but we keep the bigger picture in mind. When we give back, it benefits everyone. And if we can do it, so can the bigger firms.
The pandemic crystallised this approach and our commitment to these values – we did pro-bono and not for profit work for charities and the NHS, helping where we could. Using our skillsets to help others strengthened our vigour to uphold our values, even when times were tough. They’re inherently important to me, and to the group, and it became clear that those values are essential if we are to truly create social impact through our work.
The Wise Group does the same thing, but so much more. Their values place people above profit, because they understand that giving an equal platform to everyone and trying to help individuals who are marginalised, for whatever reason, is a priority. They are wonderful people, committed at a personal level and I am inspired by them all.
Over the same period, I have also become an investor and board advisor at the under 5s nursery MEplace, in London. It’s a nursery that focuses on mental and physical wellbeing for children, alongside providing them with exploratory educational experiences, dietary and play.
Again, this ethos fits alongside my personal values and how I work. Focussing on wider wellbeing and seeing profit as a way to level the experiences of everyone is invaluable. Despite only in our sixth month since opening our doors and even in a pandemic and lockdown, we have started to offer free scholarships to some young families less fortunate.
How important is it for you to create social impact through your work?
It’s far more important than I thought it was when I was younger. My perspective has shifted over time and it has been something I’ve been moving towards for a while, but the pandemic has really allowed for it to take the lead on what I do and how I do it.
With Augmentas, we’re not just doing better for us, but for our customers too. The Augmentas Group has just become a member of the Social Value UK association because we appreciate that social value is key to creating impact through our work.
When we work alongside businesses, organisations or charities, like the Wise Group, and we see the difference our services makes to their ability to change lives, it’s clear that our value is inherently more than the bottom line.
And by taking this approach, we are also able to shine a light on those who could do better – making the business landscape better for everyone.
To find out more about the Wise Group, visit the website at www.thewisegroup.co.uk. To speak to Augmentas about how we work or to find out how you can amplify your social value, ring us on +44 (0)203 918 8550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.