For January’s story, we focus on one of our hubbers who has evolved and expanded her network since working here with us at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, Charlotte Muckensturm. A fantastic insight into how the Hub can benefit people who want to make a positive impact through their work.
After six years working at a web marketing agency in Paris, Charlotte realised she wanted to make more of a positive impact through her work. Leaving her office life behind, she packed her bags and travelled to Cambodia, falling in love with the country and deciding to settle in the bustling centre of Phnom Penh.
“I had to find a way to become more useful…whether it be by volunteering, helping children… I had so many ideas. I just wanted to be helping to create a positive change”.
Following her move last January , she began her quest to put her skills to good use. Working in Communications for an agency to keep herself going, she eagerly sought out new, meaningful projects she could get her teeth into. And by July, she’d found Impact Hub Phnom Penh. And a good thing too, as by attending our workshop on how to get involved in Plastic Free July, an initiative that encourages giving up disposable plastic (straws, cups, bags) for one month, Charlotte met Sarah, the leader of Plastic Free July Cambodia.
“I fell in love with this idea- to stop using disposable plastic like straws, cups, bags- and the strategy that by giving those things up you realise how little you need them, and form a habit to stop using them”.
And so her first impact began: to volunteer with the Plastic Free July Cambodia initiative, spreading the cause far and wide and helping to communicate their amazing work, something she still does today. But her networking through Impact Hub didn’t stop there. Realising the Hub’s true potential for meeting likeminded people, Charlotte quit her job at a local communications agency and become a freelance writer, joining as an official member of Impact Hub Phnom Penh.
“I came to an event at Impact Hub six months ago and thought it was amazing, I knew I had to come back. So in November, I joined for two reasons: to improve my network for my volunteering work with Plastic Free July Cambodia, and to improve my own personal network and create new contacts for future work”.
And it paid off, for not long after that she made a new contact: Remi, working for Uberis Capital, an impact venture firm. Hearing about the work Charlotte was passionate about, he put her in touch with Robert Esposito. Robert is the Founder of CoCo Khmer, a Cambodian social enterprise specialising in high quality coconut based products whilst providing training and support for the former Boeung Kak Lake community. Two months on, and Charlotte is working as a freelance Communications and Marketing Consultant for CoCo Khmer at Impact Hub, and seems delighted with her networking successes. And they continue every day:
“Even just now, I spoke to Rith, who runs Edemy, a social enterprise with the aim to make English education accessible to everyone in Cambodia, about working with him to create a lesson about plastic pollution. He was delighted, and I’m filming the online lecture this afternoon”.
2015 was also a big year for Impact Hub Phnom Penh, founded only in March, around the time that Charlotte first arrived in Cambodia- and since then has already expanded so much that our Hub had to move to a bigger space. So we’re interested to know how it’s developed and grown in her eyes, as a Hubber.
“It’s so clear it’s growing- when I speak to people, a few months ago they had no idea what Impact Hub was. But now everyone I mention it to knows it. You can see it’s building a reputation for itself in Phnom Penh.”
And does Charlotte enjoy working at Impact Hub?
“I love it. I get the feeling here that we’re all going in the same direction, we’re all linked in a way. I used to work in an office for six years, I’m used to sharing a working space with colleagues. But it’s different here. We’re all working on different businesses, we all have different challenges and objectives- but it still feels like we share the same goals. We’re co-workers in a different way”.
So, it’s been an exciting year for both Charlotte and Impact Hub. We’re so proud to be a part of Charlotte’s fantastic success and growth since moving here- making connections, expanding horizons and reaching goals. We hope that 2016 has many more exciting things ahead!