In every episode of our new podcast, Conduit co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Paul van Zyl, will be in conversation with exceptional people working to create a better future. Hear about the experiences that shaped them, the lessons they’ve learned and the practical advice they’d give to anyone looking to make a positive impact.
Ep. 1: Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO of Oxfam
Danny has dedicated his life to civil action. He was secretary general and chief executive of CIVICUS, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations, where he was the first non-British and youngest person to head this 140-year-old organisation. Danny is also the former Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society and Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. Now having taken on the Chief Executive role at Oxfam, he is setting a path of change and renewal for this historic organisation.
Ep. 2: Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales is an Internet entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Wikipedia, the not-for-profit online encyclopaedia, and Wikia, the for-profit web hosting company. Launched in 2001, Wikipedia is now one of the most-referenced, most-used repositories of knowledge on the planet, with more than 40 million articles in 293 languages, all freely available. He was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2013.
Ep. 3: Baroness Lola Young, Member of the House of Lords
After an extensive acting career, Baroness Lola Young went on to become professor of Cultural Studies at Middlesex University. Lola became Head of Culture at the Greater London Authority before being appointed an independent Crossbench member of the House of Lords in 2004. Her parliamentary work includes founding and Co-Chairing two All Party Parliamentary Groups – one on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, and one on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights. She is currently working on legislation to eliminate modern forms of slavery in supply chains.
Ep. 4: Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat and an internationally recognised leader on global climate change. As Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Her efforts culminated in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. She is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change.
Ep 5: Merlin Labron-Johnson, Executive Chef at The Conduit
Merlin Labron-Johnson is one of the UK’s most exciting and socially conscious chefs, and Executive Chef at The Conduit. Merlin opened his first London restaurant, Portland, in 2015 at just 24 years old. 9 months later, he became the youngest Michelin Star British Chef. A commitment to sustainability has underpinned his career to date. He was instrumental in launching the Chef’s Manifesto, a set of actions aligned with the UN Sustainable Development goals that address the most pressing food issues. In his spare time, he cooks for refugees and the homeless.
Ep 6: Mark Campanale, Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative
Mark has over twenty-five years’ experience in sustainable financial markets. He conceived the ‘unburnable carbon’ capital markets thesis and is a co-founder of some of the first responsible investment funds. He is the Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which won the Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Innovation in Communicating Sustainability. He also co-founded Planet Tracker, a financial think tank focused on fisheries and land use change, and founded the Fish Tracker Initiative, which focuses on limits to growth in the fisheries space.
Ep. 7: Shoshana Stewart, CEO of Turquoise Mountain
Shoshana is the CEO of Turquoise Mountain, where she has worked since 2006. She has an MBA from the London Business School, a Master’s Degree in Education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Astrophysics. Prior to Turquoise Mountain, Shoshana worked as teacher and administrator in low-income urban communities with Teach For America and Uncommon Schools in New York City, Boston and Honduras.
Ep. 8: Lachlan Mackinnon, Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation
Lachlan Mackinnon is a Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), an investment company formed to turn Oxford University’s world-beating science into world-changing companies. He also represents OSI on the boards of high-tech science companies including ONI, Spybiotech and OMass Therapeutics having made initial seed investments.
Ep. 9: Sir Ronald Cohen, International Philanthropist & Venture Capitalist
Sir Ronald Cohen is an international philanthropist, venture capitalist, private equity investor and social innovator, who has been described as the “father of social investment”. He is Chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment; Chairman and co-founder of The Portland Trust, co-founder of Social Finance UK, USA, and Israel; co-founder of Bridges Fund Management; and co-founder of Big Society Capital. Sir Ronnie’s pioneering initiatives have catalysed a number of global efforts, each focused on driving private capital to serve social and environmental good. As a global philanthropist, he tackles issues ranging from Israeli/Palestinian peacebuilding to humanities and the arts.
Ep. 10: Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International
Kumi Naidoo is Secretary General of Amnesty International. A life-long social justice campaigner, Kumi‘s first taste of activism came at 15 when he organised an anti-apartheid protest that saw him expelled from his school, the first of many mass mobilisations he organised against the apartheid regime. Kumi has held multiple leadership roles, including Executive Director of Greenpeace International and launch director of Africans Rising. It was seeing a letter that Nelson Mandela had written to Amnesty International in 1962, thanking the organisation for sending a representative to observe his trial, that inspired Kumi to apply for the role as the global head of Amnesty.