So, Itad is thirty this year, the same year in which I celebrate my twentieth year at Itad. As I reflect on Itad’s story I also inevitably reflect on my own experiences here.
When I finished my first degree I knew I wanted to get into development but didn’t know in what role. As a graduate agricultural economist I had quite a broad range of options, but it was my VSO placement as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer in Malawi in the late eighties that set me off on the M&E path, thereby setting up the potential for a connection to Itad as one of the only companies specialising in M&E as their core business.
So how did I find Itad – or did they find me?
I can’t quite remember but I think it was written in the runes anyway. Back in the early nineties, there was a strong emphasis at Itad on agricultural economics, connections to Wye College, work experience in Malawi…and beards. Itad’s founding directors, Derek and Mike, ticked all of those boxes. I was a recently graduated agricultural economist, I’d just come back from Malawi, I’d grown up in Wye…and I had a beard at university even if I had started shaving again by this time.
So why did I choose Itad – and why did they choose me?
When I returned in 1993 from what had become three successive jobs in southern Africa I wanted to cast my jobs net wide. I ended up with three firm job offers, with Itad, with another small consultancy firm that did M&E but not as a core specialism, and with one of the bigger players in the market at the time for whom M&E was just one small part of a much broader range of services. It was a tricky decision to make, so I asked an old family friend who’d been in the development consulting business for some years. He simply asked me where I saw the most freedom to pursue my professional interests and have an influence on company direction. The answer was obvious – Itad. And I sincerely believe that remains true for new staff joining Itad to this day.
So well done Itad for providing 30 years’ worth of opportunities for individuals to develop their own skills and interests, and to be instrumental in the growth and development of the company. Thank you Derek and Mike for embedding such a strong ethos in the company and long may this continue.
As for why Itad chose me, well you’ll have to ask Derek and Mike about that…
As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we will running a number blog articles over the next few months, in which we’ll be looking at some highlights from our back catalogue, exploring what Itad has achieved over the last 30 years, and looking ahead to what is to come.