Movemeon pandemic response was developed in reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, titled ‘Consultants Against COVID-19‘. This initiative comprises of 400+ highly skilled consultants and commercial professionals who are providing their services for free to support charities, public sector and other not for profit organisations. Headed up by Movemeon’s Jack Fitch and Clare Tsangari, they are matchmaking the best skills to key roles, building a strong community and generating awareness through LinkedIn.
60+ consultants have currently been placed with a variety of public health organisations, charities and government at the national level. This is Guan’s journey to supporting Khushi Kantha. Guan mapped out the operational structure of Khushi Kantha across the UK and Bangladesh.
“I am thankful to have connected with Laura and Khushi Kantha through Movemeon’s pandemic initiative. It was a great experience and I encourage others to get involved if they can spare their time and expertise.”
– Guan Yeap
Where did you start your career/where are you going?
After a few investment banking internships at university, and a gap year after graduating, I started my career in strategy consulting for Cartesian, a boutique that focuses on the Technology, Media & Telecoms sector. I spent just under 3 years there before making a switch to a pan-sector operational consultancy, Efficio. For me, it felt like a significant change given the stark difference in the type and length of projects undertaken, but also the sectors I covered and places I travelled!
After 2 years at Efficio, I have started to miss my time in strategy consulting so am looking out for opportunities to go back into that space, either from a consulting/corporate/start-up standpoint.
I am currently freelancing for another consultancy, Akeso & Co, as an Engagement Manager where I am working alongside public and private sector colleagues on the UK’s Test and Trace initiative. For me, this is a nice transition phase as I get to leverage the strategy and operational consulting experience from my past for societal benefit, whilst planning the next steps in my career.
What first attracted you to volunteer your time and join Consultants against COVID-19?
I was already a user of Movemeon and so was kept abreast of opportunities from the newsletter; naturally, I saw your Consultants against COVID-19 initiative and was interested in how it quickly grew to support small businesses and not-for-profits.
Before starting my freelancing role, I had some downtime over summer this year, which is an extremely rare thing for me when I move across roles. Whilst I had some time off, I decided to use this to offer assistance to the Consultants against COVID-19 initiative, where I felt my consulting experience could be an asset.
I had also done something similar back in university, where I worked on a pro bono consulting engagement for Body & Soul, a UK charity that looks to remove stigmas associated with those affected by HIV. I found that experience rewarding, which further encouraged me to get involved with Consultants against COVID-19.
What are the key aspects of your new role and how do they help support your new company?
I have been helping on a pre-launch social enterprise called Khushi Kantha, founded by Laura Rana, a very driven and energetic individual. They are a pre-launch social enterprise seeking to empower struggling mothers from the impoverished communities hosting the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to earn sustainable incomes. Specifically, these mothers produce baby blankets from recycled saris and are then sold onto ethically-minded parents in the UK.
In my role, I worked with Laura in mapping out the operational structure of Khushi Kantha across the UK and Bangladesh, tackling the various issues that comes with the sourcing, development and transfer of goods across the world.
Beyond the rewarding experience of helping out those less fortunate, working with Khushi Kantha cemented my determination to move into a role that allows me to positively influence multiple aspects of a business in the drive for aggressive growth.
On a lighter note, should I have kids myself, I can only hope Laura has saved me a baby blanket in advance!
How has this worldwide pandemic affected you personally/your work life?
Thankfully, my health has not been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Since I am highly social and extroverted by nature, the initial lockdown in springtime was a big adjustment to get used to as I was typically out most nights of the week and weekends.
Like many others, I can safely say I have done more conference call quizzes than I have had hot dinners! After a couple of months of some semblance of ‘normal’ in London, I am more mentally prepared as the UK enters another lockdown.
Perhaps the biggest thing I miss from a work perspective is seeing colleagues on a Friday when most people would be in the office. I will certainly be looking forward to that part after the pandemic.
What are you doing more of because of coronavirus?
As highlighted earlier, I have had more time to ponder the next steps in my career, which has therefore given me an opportunity to catch up with old friends and ex-colleagues.
I have definitely been guilty of not keeping up with the news as much as I should have; working from home, I can now have news running in the background more frequently.
Contrary to what I thought, I have spent less time on social media – with time indoors, I initially found myself scrolling through the likes of Facebook and Instagram before realising that I have wasted time browsing stuff I have no interest in. That said, all the time I have saved from not pointlessly scrolling on social media has been rolled into my games console.
I am a certified FIFA addict so the launch of the latest game under a month ago, plus the new lockdown – well, some plans just make themselves.
Finally, what are you most looking forward to doing once social distancing rules have been relaxed?
I normally greet friends and family with hugs and handshakes, so to go back into the old routine would be welcome. As my friends start to lay down (firmer) roots in London, I have enjoyed going over to my friends’ places for dinner parties, game nights, catching up, to name just a few things. These are relatively simple pleasures but ones I dearly miss as households are not allowed to mix.
Although not strictly impossible to do over the past couple of months, I am looking forward to doing a spot of travelling with my girlfriend and friends when the world becomes less tense.
I am also at that age where friends start settling down, and whilst it is unfortunate to have seen their wedding dates postponed, I am looking forward to celebrating their new lives together, even if it comes at a cost to my annual leave allowance(!).
Whether you’re on the front lines of fighting the virus or not, Consultants Against COVID-19 are helping companies with full-time support down to one-off expertise. Please contact freehelp@movemeon