Happy New Year! I can’t believe how quick 2016 went. It’s now January and it’s set to be a busy month for us here at CV-Library, given that job market activity picks up substantially in the New Year. Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a good few weeks off over the festive period, re-charging the batteries and setting up for the year ahead. But, rather than sitting at home playing board games with the family, I spent my Christmas supporting the Orphans for Orphans foundation in Sri Lanka, where I joined Gandys Flip Flops founders Rob and Paul Forkan at a ceremony in the local children’s home. You might be aware of Gandys Flip Flops – it’s a lifestyle brand for travellers of the World and was set up by Rob and Paul following the loss of their parents in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami – with the brothers donating ten per cent of their profits to helping underprivileged children that are affected by the tsunami. Rob and I go back years and he has played an important part of our journey here at CV-Library. He was actually CV-Library’s first ever employee back in 2005 and we have worked extremely closely over the years. While it’s always sad to say goodbye to great members of staff after nurturing talent, I was of course fully supportive of Rob’s decision to set off in his own business journey and I’m proud of how far he and Paul have come as they continue to travel the world and build their Gandys Flip Flops brand. I was particularly keen to join them on this trip as I know Sri Lanka will always hold a special place in their hearts and I admire Rob and Paul’s selflessness, especially at this time of year. I think it’s something we could all make note of. The Orphans for Orphans children’s home in Sri Lanka accommodates children and members of the community, encompassing a broad range of focus areas – including academic support, woodwork lessons and various sports activities. This facility supports youth development in the community, ensures that children are safely occupied in after school lessons and gives parents the chance to learn English and maths. It was fascinating to spend time with the children and speak to them about their lives over there, particularly in terms of how the community has moved forward after such a tragic event all those years ago. Giving back is something that is really important to me and I was glad to have this fulfilled over the Christmas break – both in terms of spending time at the kids’ campus, but also continuing to offer mentorship to Rob. As a business owner, it’s important to have a network of connections, across different industries and walks of life. I’m glad to have been able to work so closely with the guys over the years and look forward to following their journey in the years ahead.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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