WHO IS SIMON HAMPEL?
“Yesterday I was clever and I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise, and I want to change myself” Rumi (attributed)
Simon Hampel is a Partner at Leaders’ Quest, a social enterprise that works with leaders to create a more equitable and sustainable world by challenge them to explore purpose and create positive change.
Simon spent the 90s into the new century as a serial entrepreneur, building companies in Europe, the US and Canada in the fields of financial services, leisure, consultancy and technology. Leaving these ventures behind, in 2002, he joined an Amazonian exploration, which ultimately resulted in four years doing scientific research and aid work in the Amazon, across the Himalayas, through Mongolia, and down Ethiopia’s Blue Nile. In 2006, he became the CEO of Right to Sight, an International NGO, and worked on developing sustainable eyecare projects while living in Africa and India.
Simon has spent his time since 2010 exploring how to combine profit with purpose, people and the planet. In addition to his role at Leaders’ Quest he is a Partner at the Global Leaders Academy and is on the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship. He is an Associate at Positive Group, sits on the Advisory Board of the DO School in Germany, and is an Ambassador for Embercombe.
You can connect with Simon here:
IN TOR 096 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- Simon’s brand of mindfulness in serial social entrepreneurship.
- The challenges and successes of bringing subjects such as compassion and wisdom in conversation with corporations.
- How to ease into the layers of global and personal change. How it’s less about convincing and more about ‘revealing the alignment’ already there.
- Simon’s high optimism about purpose and sustainability in both the for and nonprofit world.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Sense of Purpose
- Cleverness cf. Wisdom
- Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning
- Devendra Raj Mehta’s Jaipur Foot
- COP21 Paris
- Mumbai, India
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Eclectic serial social entrepreneur
Leader’s Quest “is my anchor.” Social enterprise in London, NY, Mumbai.
Involved in conversation about leadership, wisdom, compassion.
The world is at a disruption.
We need “fellow leaders.” Learn together. Collective experience.
LQ works with individuals, enterprises, political and religious organizations.
Focus on systems. Currently food loss, which includes waste, climate change awareness.
Also the future of banking.
“We’re catalysts for change.“
Wisdom and compassion? In business leadership?
Helping people recognize “change comes from within.“
Rumi’s quote (see below). We’re getting clever, economic and technological growth.
How can we be wiser? Achieve peace, connection, put in each other’s shoes.
Sense of relationship leads to sense of purpose.
“Are we compassionate to ourselves as much as to others?“
Simon’s message resonating, particularly in the 500
LQ works in layers: macro conversation, short term leadership, personal identity.
To an extent is a self selecting process. “People come to find us.” It’s an easier conversation.
Individuals acknowledge the questions and the conversations rather easily.
Frankl discusses destiny and freedom as located within the gap between stimulus and response.
In organization where ‘not everyone’ wants Simon to be, there is cynicism, but more often than not the conversation leaves people enthusiastic.
Nevertheless, conversations are not particularly hard or intimate. People do want to know more about mindfulness and their role in the world.
Joy, excitement, energy, all good things people usually want. “It’s very rare to find someone who does not align with that.“
Letting people share, even within closed doors.
Simon’s quest, perspective, portfolio of experience
A tour of the world is a tour of the many different challenges people face.
There are different levels of technological advancement and resources, but it is possible to find vision, passion, drive.
For some, the first question is about funding, for others it’s what they need before money, i.e. purpose.
There is (or must be) a relationship between scarcity and community engagement.
On developing a wise leader
Devendra Raj Mehta talked to him “Simon, the equation to life is simple: e=mc2. ‘e‘ equals energy, ‘m‘ equals money, and ‘c‘ equals compassion. With that equation we can do anything the world needs.“
Simon spends about a month in retirement on a zen community. Lot of silence. “Challenging. I didn’t feel silent.” Gradually got into it, still practices silence everyday.
How do individuals grow? For Eastern citizens, it is about vertical growth, based on knowledge gained from institutions.
But the leader’s quest implies a shift in their awareness as a whole, consciousness, through personal experiences.
Phases allow people to see life through different sets of spectacles. “Our center of gravity shifts.“
Leadership growth is all about displacing the personal center of gravity.
Getting people to go through enlightening realizations in front of his eyes as a career
“Challenges going on in the world makes this very important .“
Social enterprise is becoming more and more mainstream, embedded in business.
Social mission as identity and brand is coming to the UK, it is influencing VC.
Several flavors, some dark sides. As long as the important thing is making the choice of the individual more influential.
On ‘greenwashing’, CSR, no accountability: “It is a Trojan horse. It might have been done cynically at first, but ultimately there is a momentum… that organizations can’t help but move towards. I’ve seen it time and time again.“
New generation’s focus on purpose makes it difficult for certain industries to maintain their MO. Like high finance. “It’s an opportunity.“
Anecdote from failure
Simon has had 4 companies. “They all failed quickly, in the end.” Not aware enough of the market
Had to return to wait tables in Spain, learned to live on a very small income. “It was a lovely gift from the world, to look after me.” Humbling. Discovered a sense of trust, things would work out, he would be alright.
When success and failure are ongoing, trust is key for balance, to control fear.
Experimentation is important, even if it falls flat. “Prototyping works.“
When it comes to innovation, building relationships based on open conversations is difficult, but it should be half the efforts. “Relationships give you the sense of what is possible.“
What they do without money
Simon’s Foundation supports 200 grassroots leaders through fellowships.
A lady in India helped train future leaders through family reach. A woman felt frustrated for the dangers of being a woman leader in a slum. Over time they managed to obtain the support of 50,000 Indian women. They campaigned, obtained government funding for a massive effort of toilets for women. It was not about money, it was about authenticity.
The plan is to let big corporate leaders meet with resourceful local leaders for exchange.
The part of the future that enthuses Simon
“I’m an optimist. I believe inside of ourselves we all want a better world.“
There is fear, challenges. “But we’re having conversations today we could not have had five years ago.“
Businesses are joining the conversation about sustainability, responsibility, purpose.
COP21 was a good, exciting thing, as it allows for the conversation to continue. It’s by no means a settled issue “but there’s a momentum.“
It all comes down to personal involvement in change.
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