It is with absolute joy that I announce I am stepping down as CEO of Flashpoint Labs. It’s been an epic four years starting the organisation with Leanne Townsend and turning it into a sustainable social enterprise.
What a ride it has been. From developing the concept in our heads in 2011, to testing it with social innovators at Gathering 11’, to getting accepted into the School for Social Entrepreneurs and being supported by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.
We ran our first workshops about 6 months after we developed the concept for Flashpoint Labs. These were with a youth organisation in Redfern. Then we teamed up with Football United and ran a suite of programs with four schools from the Western Suburbs, as part of their Digital Connections project. After that we ran our own programs reaching out to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Sydney and partnering with the likes of the Australian Centre for Photography, Head On Photo Festival, Arthere, Mobile Photo Group, Vibewire, Powerhouse Museum, and of course, the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.
In 2013, we began operating the Photography Agency and we have seen revenue and shooting and learning opportunities for our apprentices grow and grow. Due in large part to the incredible work of our Lead Photographer Tomasz Machnik. We have shot over 60 jobs for our amazing clients which include Westpac, ING Direct, QBE, Mental Health Commission, School for Social Entrepreneurs, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Jawun, Career Trackers and many others. We have generated well over $100,000 and we have distributed over $10,000 to our apprentice photographers. Today, we generate enough money to employ a paid CEO and we will be running a bunch of workshops and programs in 2015.
I couldn’t be more excited to have Saskia Wilson taking over as the new CEO. Saskia is an extremely talented photographer and a passionate social entrepreneur. She has been with FPL since the early days, volunteering as a mentor to young photographers in our programs at South Granville and in Redfern. I have no doubt she will take Flashpoint Labs to the next level and extend and deepen our impact.
I will remain on the board of directors and work closely with Saskia to ensure she has all she needs to succeed.
With all my spare time, I’m going to start all over again. I have moved to Europe to be close to my daughter. This has given me the opportunity to think about how the Flashpoint Labs model might work over here. I’m teaming up with a couple of close friends of mine, who are film directors, and we are going to start a film production company and film school with young people from diverse backgrounds in London. Similar to Flashpoint Labs, we will run filmmaking programs that feed apprentices into the film production company. Stay tuned for updates about our launch.
Onwards and upwards for Flashpoint Labs, we will only get better and we will continue to engage, empower, and employ young people from diverse backgrounds and try to foster in them the skills and confidence they need to succeed as creative professionals