Social Change Champion: Samantha Heron
Samantha Heron is a passionate storyteller, and the person at the heart of Heart & Soul Story, a social enterprise connecting young teens with elders living in Aged Care. As an experienced strategist and qualitative researcher with an honours degree in Psychology and a Post Graduate degree in Social Impact, Samantha’s passion and area of expertise lies specifically in intergenerational programs, life story facilitation, and Third Sector Social Impact research and strategy. We had the absolute pleasure of talking to Samantha about her social enterprise and we promise you won’t want to skim over this one.
What is your social enterprise elevator pitch?
What are your biggest personal and/or professional challenges as a social entrepreneur in Australia?
1.The feeling of isolation working as a social entrepreneur; it’s hard for anyone to understand the long hours that go on behind the scenes to make what you do happen.
2. Figuring out what to prioritise when you are an early stage social enterprise startup (ie YOU), coordinating all relationships to run your program and then running it feels like a full time job, let alone needing to keep up with marketing, social media, funding proposals, website upgrades etc.
3. Finding the time to apply for funding; getting the right social impact measurement in place to prove the efficacy of the program without adequate staffing/ funding.
4. Avoiding burnout! The constant battle of being so passionate about your vision and mission, seeing the proof in the pudding when you are witness to the amazing connection and benefits of your social endeavour, that you go at it hammer and tong, often neglecting the vital self-care and self-compassion necessary to maintain your own mental & physical health !
What’s the best piece of advice you have received so far since starting your own social enterprise?
Hugh Mackay has been a ‘cafe mentor’ for me since the end of 2017. I had a number of different ideas all around story sharing and intergenerational connection, but Hugh wisely urged me to concentrate on what he saw as my most significant initiative so far, STEP. As with any other business, our tendency can be to try to do too many things ( like my hope to offer programs across the whole community). This reminder to be as single-minded and focused as possible has been an important hand brake on the urge to say yes when other opportunities arise.
If you were to start over, is there anything you would do differently?
Out of necessity of needing to get things done, I have found I have had to let go of the tendency to try to get my idea, my words, my work ‘perfect’ before putting them out to the world… perfectionism is exhausting and unrelenting …and the enemy of social enterprise, as it tries to keep you small by skirting outside the arena as opposed to keeping you in there with your face marred by dust and sweat and blood. I’d dump perfectionism at the door, and be willing to ask for help way more along the way.