Seth Allen gives his take on being an Adviza Trustee. If you’re interested in joining us, it’s a must-read. We’ve also included a short video of Seth talking about his role. You'll find a link to our Trustee vacancies at the end.

Seth Allen is an inspiring and entrepreneurial consultant, marketer and connector who is passionate about building meaningful relationships that help to make the world a better place.

Seth’s many achievements include co-founding Madio, which aims to find solutions to challenges in international food supply chains, and leading the UK territory of Kairos, a venture fund and global community that builds and funds solutions to problems.

It might seem as if Seth and Adviza were made for one another, but it took a highly fortuitous meeting between Seth and our CEO at a train station in Slough to make it happen—you can read that story at the end of this blog!

Seth, tell us about yourself, your work history and what drives you.

Since a young age I’ve been stubborn and have always followed my own path. I’ve never fitted into a box and although I studied law at university, I didn’t want a career as a corporate lawyer. Like many young professionals I chased the money for a little while and went into corporate sales, but I quickly realised I wasn’t financially motivated.

At only 24 years of age I had a “quarter life” crisis and realised that what I’m really passionate about is building things. I recognised that’s what I needed to do, and spent the next six years as a founder, CEO and consultant within innovation and start-up environments, building up some great experience. I now work in innovation and business consultancy, helping businesses to work on projects where they need to do things differently either at a product, technical or organisational level, often helping Boards and teams to manage processes.

A chance meeting with our CEO Katharine Horler led you to joining Adviza. What was the pivotal thing about the meeting that made you want to get involved?

It was definitely all about Katharine as a person. She made a big impression on me. I have worked with a lot of people in my relatively short career and I’ve always felt you can see a lot about an organisation reflected in its people. Katharine had an air about her – very unassuming, but not timid, and not afraid to ask for help, which you can read about in my story!

I love authenticity and there’s nothing more authentic than being able to ask for help, so I liked Katharine straight away. Also, I have three criteria for working on a project: firstly, it has to resonate with my core and values, and there’s a big tick for Adviza there! Secondly, it has to feel like the project itself is going to be fun. Thirdly, I want to enjoy working with the people. These are my three tests for anything I do. Adviza ticks every box.

Not long after we first met I had a lovely conversation with Katharine where we talked about a wide range of things, and regardless of what we were discussing she had this consistent identity that I could feel really strongly. Knowing that she was the leader of an organisation, I felt I could extrapolate what kind of an organisation it was without having met anyone else there. So that was really the push for me—Katharine making me feel confident that the wider Adviza team was just like her: really passionate, caring and in it for the mission, which is to say the people they support.

What do you do as an Adviza Trustee?

I’m a member of the Finance and Audit Committee and also the Chair of the Business Development Committee. Those are the titles! But what it means is making sure the financial aspects of Adviza are in good order, and, for the BD aspect of the role, looking at the practicalities of the strategy.

When it comes to BD, what that really means is this: putting money to one side for a moment, what do we need to do, what is our vision and how do we deliver it in a sustainable way in an uncertain global market? In that context I can support the team with my expertise from innovation and start-ups, where things are always uncertain, and I can share methodologies and structures I have been exposed to. I can also help the charity to be flexible and sustainable.

As a member of the Trustee Board I get to learn from other Trustees who have held senior roles in multinational companies, and from how they apply their experience. Some of them have much wider perspectives than I do and it’s great to be able to learn on the job.

What do you enjoy about being an Adviza Trustee?

The space Adviza operates in means I get a sense of fulfilment, and it all comes back to working with passionate people. The default perspective of most organisations is to be inherently self-serving, and with Adviza it’s the other way around. Of course it has to function and run effectively, but any commercial context is much more altruistic here, and the big question is always “how can we really help people?”. I love bringing my ideas and perspective to that, and helping Adviza to operate in a way that is altruistic but sustainable. It’s a nice challenge to solve.

What would you say to anyone considering applying for an Adviza Trustee role?

I’d say Adviza is great because it’s an organisation full of passionate people who are driven to help others first and foremost, and who are deeply focused on their mission to help people improve their opportunities through learning and work. To be surrounded by people who live and breathe that is a joy.

Personally, I am more inspired and more likely to learn when I’m surrounded by passionate people because they have great energy, knowledge and verve for what they do.

It’s not that easy to find organisations where everyone is united around a common purpose and it gives me a very special feeling. It opens up a lot of possibilities for learning and sharing. Just as an example, I’ve been on Adviza team calls about equality, diversity and inclusion, and the knowledge and interest shown by the staff is so inspiring that I find myself writing down ideas, themes and resources. I can’t help but learn from passionate people.

When you consider volunteering your time for a role such as Trustee, it’s natural to consider what you get back for the time and energy you give. And the answer here is learning and growth from the amazing staff and Trustees alike, and being surrounded by people with a unique passion. You’ll be able to share in and learn from the success and experience of other people. You’ll experience the joy of asking “what can we do here?” and making it happen—bringing real and positive change to a fantastic charity.

Thank you for your time Seth.

My great pleasure!


View our Trustee vacancies.

How Seth and Katharine met: read Seth’s fantastic story.