Oliver Camp (Class of 2011) Senior Associate (Innovation) GAIN

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?

Starting with the obvious, I suppose there were the superhuman efforts of many, many teachers over the years taking on the Sisyphean task of trying to fill my porous brain with useful knowledge! Beyond that, both the Careers Department and also teachers & form tutors went to great lengths to show us all of the possibilities that were open to us. I think that by being aware of & inspired by the enormous range of professional opportunities we could pursue, we were able to go into the world of work feeling excited and confident about what we could achieve.

What was your first job?

As a linguist, I was lucky enough to enjoy a few very obscure roles with some international figures of mystery. I remember briefly teaching English to some Russian administrative staff working in the office of the Crown Prince of Norway while I was living in St Petersburg. Not long after, I seemed to become the de facto translator for the press releases of the Madagascan President. Unfortunately, our relationship had to come to an end when I took a role in a strategic communications & brand strategy consultancy.

Your biggest professional achievement?

Did I mention the Madagascan President already? OK, well second to that: back in 2017, I was working with Nestlé on a hugely exciting project to promote agripreneurship – basically inspiring young people in low- and middle-income countries to go into farming as a profession, and enabling them to adopt sustainable and profitable farming practices. More by luck than good judgement, I ended up with more responsibility than I might have expected – ultimately running a side-event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2017 where we brought together various investors, NGOs, innovators and corporations to partner on this global project. At about the same time, we launched another innovation project in Central Africa, designed to educate low-income consumers about nutritious diets & healthy (but affordable) foods. Those were exciting times, and ultimately led me to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, where I’m proud to work today.

Your most challenging professional moment?

Leaving that first (serious) job. I knew I had been stupendously lucky to have the level of responsibility I’d had, and to be involved in the projects we had run over those three years. There is never a good moment to say goodbye and you always sense that there’s some unfinished business, but sometimes you just have to keep moving forward so you can stay on the front foot in your career and (hopefully) keep going onwards and upwards!

What inspires and motivates you at work?

100%, without any doubt, the fact that we can sit at a desk in London (in my home office, no less) and work with partners all around the world to achieve impact at the largest possible scale. Our careers give us the chance to work with everyone from multinational corporations, tech companies, governments, NGOs, consultancies, academia, SMEs, start-ups and innovators – and by doing so, we can effect positive change at a global level.

One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession?

Step one: Find something you care about. Step two: think hard about how you can apply your knowledge, skills & capabilities to it. Step three: Go at it all guns blazing. That’s it. That’s the advice.

 

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