Interview conducted by Joe Cassidy

Ever asked yourself the questions 'What's it like to work at GAP?' or 'How do I start my career in behaviour change?'. As part of our Alumni series, we'll be sitting down with some of our previous employees to find out what working for GAP was like, see where they are today and most importantly, how they use what they learned here in their current roles. We start the series with Ellie, currently a Programme Manager at Leader’s Quest. Read more below to see some of Ellie's insights.    

  1. What were you doing before you came to GAP?

I was doing my masters in Social Sciences at UCL, specialising in environmental governance and sustainable development.

  1. What brought you to GAP?

I wanted to work in the sustainability and environment sector, particularly in the third sector or charities. I felt that when you look at a whole system, business is a big player and there's alot of opportunity for making an impact. The work GAP was doing seemed to be really innovative in that area. It also seemed like a great team, where I was lucky enough to already know a GAP member of staff whilst temping, which led me to talking to several staff members at GAP and starting out in an intern position.

  1. What was your favourite thing about working here?

The high exposure to really interesting opportunities that you get with a lot of responsibility quite quickly. There is a lot of client-facing experience and two of my highlights were working with Unilever and O2.

  1. What is the most surprising thing you learned about yourself at GAP?

I really enjoyed doing the personality profiling exercises and how that impacts on teams and ways of working. I learned a lot about my personal preferences and how to get the most out of myself and those around me. In particular, I learned about being more mindful of how my actions affect others.

  1. How has what you learned at GAP helped you in your new role?

In lots of ways. Specifically, the behaviour change techniques GAP use, the experience facilitating workshops with lots of different audiences, the face-to-face engagement, lots of workshop design and the use of different methodologies. Additionally it's all the varying activities you learn to engage with people.

  1. Can you describe what elements (if any) of behaviour change you use in your new role?

I would say in my current job, I do the step before GAP's role would start. Once managers have got buy-in to engage employees, they could bring GAP in. My work is the inspirational piece, it's one step back, where I'm looking into what’s possible in culture change as a whole, so GAP's business change framework is really useful to refer to.

I’m still involved in culture change in large organisations which is what GAP does. However, the changes I work on are slightly wider, e.g. organisational vision and strategy, rather than individual actions, but the process of drawing them out is quite similar.

  1. What are your career goals for the future?

Next year I’m working on pretty exciting organisational culture change programmes, but also looking more at grass roots community leadership – we have a foundation that works in India where we work with marginalised men and women, we empower them to lead in change projects in their local communities, like access to sanitation, domestic abuse and women’s rights. This is expanding into areas of Africa and also the UK so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that.

  1. Any advice for people looking to work in charities or behaviour change organisations?

Networking is key, attend as many interesting (and sometimes even the not so interesting) conferences in events, particularly as many are free to attend.

There are a lot of smaller, less obvious events you can find through LinkedIn and jobsites that are really worthwhile attending.

Stay curious, if you have a passion for a subject area, keep reading, keep learning and keep talking, maybe write blogs about what you find out. After a while you will be known as a good source on the issue and will become an expert!