John Craven

When I sold my business a few years back I thought that I had a perfect opportunity to re-balance the way I devoted my energies. I chose a simple thirds model – a third of my attention to family, a third to my professional work in technology and strategic consulting and a third to contributing to some of the bigger issues that face our society locally and globally. Getting on with the first two was fairly straight forward – just do it! But how to attack the third priority maximizing impact and “return on investment”. I had previously been part of Rotary International and had contributed to several other causes but in my view the key for the future was to proceed in a way that was both leveraged and sustainable.
Fortuitously, I met a long-time colleague who had recently joined an organisation that was new to Australia and that had a great international track record over 25 years – Social Venture Partners. The model was simple – contribute annually to a pool of “investment” funds to support local causes and, most importantly to me, contribute professional expertise directly to the supported organisations to build their capacity for the long haul. And as a very attractive by-product join a small band of “like minded” individuals from a variety of fields to make sure that our contributions were leveraged and enjoyable. In addition, the global reach of SVP with over 3500 “Partners” (the term we use to describe our hands on collaborative approach), mainly in cities across the United States and beginning to spread in other parts of the world including Canada and India, meant that the small local chapters could draw on a wealth of experience for both inspiration and guidance.
My decision to be part of Social Venture Partners has paid off handsomely. I have had the opportunity to work with a number of local not-for-profits each of which continues to punch above their weight in making a sustainable impact in their chosen area of need. My interest has been around the challenges associated with ensuring that neurodiverse talent has an inclusive place in society and the workforce. This segment is substantially underutilized in the workforce today and addressing this issue needs innovative action in the early years all the way through to the inclusive workplace. SVP “investees” like Kids Like Us and ICAN Network are in their own way having a real impact and it has been a privilege to be part of their journeys. I have also enjoyed working with my SVP Partners as part of the local Board and joining in activities to contribute to the developments in their areas of focus.
For anyone wanting to roll up their sleeves and contribute their expertise and experience I think that SVP is a great vehicle. And while making a difference with our “investees” you will have a chance to collaborate with a diverse and talented group of talented “Partners” locally and globally enjoying the professional challenge while having a great time together with a team of like-minded individuals.