Pick of the Month – June 2024

3 June 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

This month, we shine a light on three remarkable individuals who are using their skills and dedication to make a positive impact on the world. Each profile features insights from the individuals themselves, including their motivations, challenges, and aspirations. Find out more about Change Please, Pavilion Dance South West, and Catch22 below!


Social Entrepreneur of the Month – Cemal Ezel, Change Please

Cemal Ezel is the Founder and CEO of Change Please, an award-winning social enterprise which aims to end homelessness by selling great tasting coffee. Change Please uses 100% of its profits to train and empower people experiencing homelessness to become baristas, giving them the support and skills they need to turn their lives around. At the end of their training, baristas are either employed at Change Please or introduced to other potential employers, ensuring they capitalise on the skills they have learnt.


Cemal began by talking to us about the inspiration for Change Please:

“I got the inspiration for Change Please whilst in Vietnam. During a visit to a silent tea house run by deaf and mute women, I saw the potential to merge business with social good. When I returned to London, I was struck by the number of homeless people and one day I spotted a man holding a poster which read, “Change Please”. This was the sign (physically & metaphorically) that I needed to begin the Change Please journey.”


Cemal’s journey has not been without challenges. On the difficulties he faced when launching Change Please he said:

“The initial challenges we had to overcome related to homelessness stigma and instilling trust in our trainees. Whilst the process can be difficult at times, I’ve always taken courage and belief from the thought that ‘If we can just get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we could really change the world.”


Despite the challenges, Cemal says that his work remains hugely rewarding:

“After 8 years in the social enterprise industry, I still find the journey each trainee goes on to be hugely motivating. Witnessing how they use the skills and expertise gained to lift themselves out of homelessness is incredibly rewarding.”


To finish, Cemal offered some advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs:

“My advice would be to keep your mission central to what you do, cultivate a supportive network, and embrace innovation!”


To find out more about Change Please, follow the organisation on X or visit their website


Trustee of the Month – Natasha Player, Pavilion Dance South West 

Pavilion Dance South West is a renowned dance venue located in Bournemouth. As a leading centre for dance development, it offers a vibrant programme of performances, workshops, and classes catering to dancers of all ages and abilities. Improving the lives of people in the local community is central to the organisation’s mission and the venue serves as a hub for dance enthusiasts, professionals, and the local community, providing opportunities for artistic expression, skill development, and cultural engagement. With its range of activities and commitment to promoting dance as an accessible and inclusive art form, Pavilion Dance South West is a vital resource for the dance community in the region.


Natasha began by reflecting on her journey to becoming a Trustee at Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW):

“I became a trustee at PDSW through a previous professional relationship, initially as a freelance creative and finally as a diversity and inclusion changemaker. Throughout my time working with PDSW, I gained a deep understanding of the organisation and its civic role, aspirations, and dedication to presenting progressive and socially engaging work.”


Natasha went on to tell us about what she finds inspiring about PDSW:

“I have been inspired by PDSW's approach to change. There is an appetite within the organisation to embrace change, whether that means exploring the redistribution of power across the organisation or adopting new ways of doing and connecting. PDSW also recognises the pivotal role an arts organisation can play in engagement, such as working more deeply with communities to form authentic relationships and co-create and produce excellent creative work for indoor and outdoor spaces.”


Turning to the challenges of her role, Natasha said:

“Personally, the challenge for me has been transitioning from an operational to a governance role where I am externally supporting the Senior Management Team. However, I am enjoying this transition as it builds upon my strategic and leadership skills and I have been fortunate to undergo some excellent training to help me progress.”


To end our conversation, Natasha offered some advice to prospective Trustees: 

“My advice to anyone considering becoming a trustee is simple: go for it! It's such a valuable skill and experience to have. I would approach the role by observing the style of board leadership, processes, and systems in place; take your time, and think about what you would like to bring to the role, even if it doesn't exist yet! I believe a diverse, dynamic board is the way forward."


Keep up to date with the work of Pavilion Dance South West on X or visit their website.



Charity Leader of the Month – Naomi Hulston, Catch22

Catch22 envisions a future society where everyone has a good place to live, a purpose and good people around them. The charity designs and delivers services that build resilience and aspiration in people of all ages and within communities across the UK, with focus areas across employment, education, criminal justice, social care and health and wellbeing. Naomi has worked in various roles across the charity, over 20 years she has held 14 different positions, progressing from a volunteer to Chief Executive Officer.


Naomi explained more about Catch22's mission:

“Catch22 is a charity and a social business. For over 200 years we’ve designed and delivered services that build resilience and aspiration in people and communities. Our vision is a strong society where everyone has good people around them, a safe place to live and a purpose to thrive. We call these our 3Ps.

We deliver over 100 services across England and Wales, working in the criminal justice sector (with ex-offenders and victims of crime), in alternative provision education, with young people, families and communities and in the employability and skills sector.”


She told us about her career journey and her current role at the charity: 

“It’s been a pretty long road, which has felt like no time at all in the grander scheme of things. After 23 years and 15 roles, I have got to where I am through hard work, continued learning, curiosity and a fair wind. In the beginning, I did not classify myself as an ambitious person but rather as someone passionate about helping people. I never thought I would be a CEO. 

My role involves being responsible for the social impact of the organisation. I lead a team of highly capable people and ensure that we not only deliver our mission but that we are also accountable via governance procedures. I act as a champion and advocate for the kind of society where people are well, healthy, resilient, engaged and reaching their potential.”


Considering the challenges experienced by emerging leaders, Naomi offered some advice:

“This is always a tricky question for me because I am a leader who has received lots of advice, and in reality, no one-size solution will fit all. I would say that leaders need different types of advice at different times depending on what they are leading and what circumstances they are operating under. 

But in terms of general advice, I would certainly say:

  • it is important to work out where your skills and strengths are and then surround yourselves via your team, board of trustees, partners, coaches and mentors with people that fill the gaps and add constructive challenge. 
  • Stay close to the front line of any services you’re delivering. The people, individuals, families and communities we work with, including young people and students, always have fresh, unbridled, energic thoughts and ideas on how the world can be a better place. 
  • It is important to work out what your limitations are – both as a leader and as a person. It’s easy for leaders to wear the burden of the role on their shoulders. But we are only one person."


Finally, Naomi explored what she would like the future to look like in her sector: 

“This is such a great question — perhaps the million-dollar question that all leaders are trying to answer. If I must whittle it down, I will say that the biggest change I would like to see is in how we all work together in all sectors, for not only greater social prosperity but also greater equity. 

I would like politics to be less adversarial and closer to the voices of all people in society, with a more open dialogue with the public on the role of politics and the role of citizens. I would like all businesses to be even more socially and environmentally conscious. Finally, I would like to see a greater focus on building skills for our whole lives, from a modern and future-thinking education system, joined-up career pathways and health and housing services, which enhance, not hinder. 

So, in reality – I want to see a society where people are first and productivity and societal prosperity rule!”


Keep in the loop with Naomi’s work at Catch22 online and on X.

More by posts by Lucy Pratt

Pick of the Month – July 2024

2nd July, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

This month we spotlight three changemakers: Leanne Pero, a breast cancer survivor who fights for Black and POC cancer patients through her foundation; Tom Allanson, who uses his social research expertise to advocate for equality with The Equality Trust; and Johannes Petersen, who founded Àban, a social enterprise providing free outdoor education for young people. Read their inspiring stories and learn more about their causes in July's Pick of the Month!

Pick of the Month – June 2024

3rd June, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

This month, we shine a light on three remarkable individuals who are using their skills and dedication to make a positive impact on the world. Each profile features insights from the individuals themselves, including their motivations, challenges, and aspirations. Find out more about Change Please, Pavilion Dance South West, and Catch22 below!

Pick of the Month – May 2024

30th April, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

Welcome back. In May's Pick of the Month, we had the pleasure of learning about work in areas including the arts; health and wellbeing; heritage and woman's empowerment. They're a diverse range of leaders, each with a unique prespective – read on to learn from their expertise and experience! 

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