Inside Change with Kaz Patwa
Why did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
Before Change.org I was working at the ONE Campaign alongside Weldon Kennedy, who joined Change.org as the first employee outside the US in early 2011. That’s when I really started to hear about Change.org’s work and was really excited about what was going on with campaigns on all kinds of issues being run all over the world. By the end of the year, Weldon had convinced Danny Moldovan to talk to me about joining the team, and within 6 months of joining at the start of 2012 I’d helped expand Change.org outside the US and into 17 new countries!
What are the skills that are most important for a position in this field?
I’ve had lots of different roles, but the skills that have stood out include creative thinking – how to solve problems on the fly and being open to new ideas – flexibility and adaptability.
How do you think your identity has impacted your professional experiences?
I have definitely become more self-aware of and confident in my identity since being at Change.org. I think our values and commitment to diversity are strong compared to the norm and have been for a long time, even as we strive to improve. I have been incredibly lucky in my career path for over 25 years, working in environments with strong community, culture, openness, and warmth, which has always allowed me to feel valued and has helped me grow.
There are lots of people who don’t have such positive experiences in any job, let alone in multiple ones, and I feel very grateful for these and so I’m committed to being an active part of a culture that allows people to feel at home and be themselves. It’s what brings out the best in us as a community and as professionals.
What is your mantra for dealing with difficult challenges?
I remember one particularly hard day years ago, I’d moved my company to a new office and we got broken into within the first week and had everyone’s computers stolen. One of the directors said, it’s not the mistakes we make or the problems we find ourselves in that define us, but the way we respond. Also I guess this takes me nicely back to thinking creatively and being flexible with finding solutions.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Well right now it would be my mum and dad, who are both in their 70s and so are self isolating. Normally not the first people I’d say but it’s funny how a crisis shifts your thinking.
How do you relax?
My wife Gabby and I tend to watch an hour of TV a day once the kids are down and we’ve had dinner – we work our way through shows rather than live TV. Although once a week (and probably more moving forward) we’ll pop a record on the turntable and actually listen to an album while we chat and have a G&T.