TipStart’s journey started two years ago this month, in a world that felt very different to the one we are living in now. I was walking to the park, with my girlfriend at the time, as a part of our lawful daily exercise entitlement. I’d only seen a handful of my colleagues in the previous months and the Civil Service had just announced it wouldn’t be able to run the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) that year, as planned.
I’d decided to try and create my own version of the internship, but for a wider group than just prospective Civil Service Fast Streamers. It was unacceptable to me that a diversity intervention could be stifled simply because COVID-19 had made things hard.
Out on our walk, we were discussing what to name this ‘thing’. We weren’t making much progress, and so I looked at synonyms for ‘mentoring’. And there it was: ‘Tipster’. We rushed home and I slapped Tipster on the top of a keynote presentation I made that afternoon and sent it to everyone in my phonebook that I thought might be interested in helping me build this thing. 5 replied, and we were on our first group call together a week later. Tipster soon became TipStart, thanks to some great branding work by our CMO, Richard.
Since that day, I’ve been TipStart’s CEO. It is hard to prepare for a role like that, but like the whole team, I’ve learnt as we’ve grown.
The last two years have been immensely challenging for me, on a personal level. I moved countries and continents and back again, a family member got very ill, a long-term relationship ended. Not to mention what COVID-19 has meant for all of us more broadly. But throughout these two years, TipStart has given me a space to channel frustration, energy, hope and sadness into an end product that I believe makes the world of work fairer and more just. TipStart has also introduced me to a whole new community of brilliant people - I even joined a ‘5am club’. In this way, TipStart has come to mean more to me than I ever imagined it would. And to everyone that has been a part of it up to now, I want to say thank you.
The two years to get here have been very different. Year 1 was all about launching a programme as quickly as we could, without any real money or plan, learning as we went. It was fun and exciting and over 300 people got involved. I came to many of you for help, thank you again for that. Year 2 has been about getting serious, consolidating all that we have learnt. Hearing the good and bad feedback, so that we can build a service and platform that will last for many years to come. Year 2 has been less actively joyous, and certainly more testing. But we’ve made huge progress.
When TipStart first launched, I felt quite a significant weight on my shoulders. TipStart’s success or failure would be my success or failure. I don’t feel like that now. TipStart is the sum of many parts. Parts based all around the world. And it is because of what makes us such a great team, that we are now just two months away from launching a brand new application, within which will sit our revised and improved programme. You’re currently reading this on our new website too.
I don’t yet know where TipStart will be by the time I sit down to write ‘3 Years of TipStart’. But I know for sure that one thing won’t have changed: our motivation to affect positive social change. If you share our vision, reach out. If you think TipStart could help you, join our waiting list here. We can only do this together.