As a newly appointed Fellowship Development Coordinator, one of the first questions I asked my colleagues from the outset was… so what is the average Fellow like? Of course, I soon discovered that amongst the 27,000, there is no such thing as an average Fellow. The Fellowship is made up of a diverse collection of people who are united by the desire to build a better society.
As I slowly heard more from my colleagues about Fellow-led projects, Catalyst fund applications and Fellow Networks I began to understand how Fellows are at the centre of achieving the RSA’s charitable objectives. In recent months we have welcomed some fantastic new Fellows who are undertaking diverse and highly innovative work in their respective fields.
Tunde Omodara FRSA is an entrepreneur who runs a food and manufacturing business both here and in Nigeria.He also founded 2ndWay.Org, a non-profit organisation that seeks to provide affordable loan finance to growing SME businesses in Africa. His interest in the RSA was initially sparked after attending one of our public lectures (did you know you can view most of our events online?) and he has joined the RSA because he is interested in sustainable enterprise and trade as a vehicle to generate social change and development, and would like to meet other likeminded Fellows.
Fellows discover the RSA through a variety of different routes. Enterprise Manager at Ogilvy and Mather Shannon Vaughan FRSA was recently nominated for Fellowship by another Fellow. As leader of the ‘Rough Diamond’ project which aims to nurture raw talent and introduce young leaders to emerging technologies, Shannon believes that 'we have a responsibility to learn from history' in order to improve career prospects for young people.
Following a successful career in the city, Rosemary Farmer FRSA decided that she wanted to make a change and focus on work that would benefit the community. Rosemary is currently the Mayor of Harpenden but previously worked with Hertfordshire Joint Commission analysing and assessing the needs of people with substance misuse problems. As she is also chair of the charity Druglink, she became interested in the RSA after learning of the Whole Person Recovery programme. Rosemary would like to engage further with the RSA in tackling the complex problems associated with substance misuse and takes ‘particular interest in the issue of stigma and how it impacts on recovery, integration and aspiration’.
Across the pond in sunny Florida, Robert Belanger FRSA has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and recently become a Fellow. As a circuit judge in the State of Florida he has long had a commitment to civic innovation and social change. Robert is particularly interested in helping both judges and scholars better understand the judicial process to generate ideas for how it might be improved. He would welcome the opportunity to share and apply these ideas with other Fellows who are committed to the RSA mission.
'Throughout the past five years or so, I have been asking myself what it is that that makes countries better off.
Some of our other Fellows based overseas are RSA connectors and part of a growing international network of FRSA that act as the first port of call for new Fellows in their country of residence.
Although on paper they seem very different, Fellows are bound by a common desire to improve society, but what truly makes Fellowship so dynamic, is the how.
How can I use my skills and knowledge to change things for the better?
Switzerland based Stephen Schuez FRSA has been considering exactly this:
'Throughought the past five years or so, I have been asking myself what it is that makes countries better off. I have come to the conclusion that in the form of entrepreneurial activities it is people themselves that forward an economy and help establish a sustainable system.'
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Each new Fellow brings with them a personal ‘how to’; the RSA provides them with a platform to expand, collaborate and test it out.
We have a network of 27,000 Fellows in 80 countries around the world. Becoming part of the Fellowship is about demonstrating a commitment to positive social change and working collobaratively to find practical solutions to today's social challenges.
If you are not a Fellow but would like to know more about Fellowship and how to become a Fellow you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or find more details here.
If you are a Fellow of the RSA and would like to nominate someone for Fellowship you can do so here, or if you would like to connect with any of the Fellows detailed in this blog post, then please do not hesistate contact us.
Alexandra Barker is a Fellowship Development Coordinator at the RSA