Family Passions – Jeremy Jacobs

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Jeremy Jacobs is the co-founder and managing director of Raise Bakery in the United Kingdom. Jeremy worked in a digital media company until 2009 after which, his family started a bakery. Starting off as a business to customer (B2C) company and then growing to business to business (B2B) through working with Virgin Atlantic, Raise Bakery has been adapting to scenarios of the world for a lot of it’s time.

Quick Summary

What is the importance of sustainability in businesses

Jeremy is very passionate about sustainability and protecting our environment. We explored the topics of Covid-19 and how that has proven that as a community, we are able to change and adapt quickly; why not do the same with sustainability in big businesses. Jeremy believes that everyone has the responsibility to take care of the planet. Big companies have an even bigger responsibility due to their resources and access to make changes happen.

How to come up with a unique selling point and use that to differentiate yourself.

It is easy to say “have a unique selling point” but Jeremy believes that it is important to come up with something truly meaningful. A unique selling point of raise bakery is that it is a family business with a unique story. There is a way they operate, that other businesses can’t copy. It is also important to look at opportunities and make sure that you take onboard whatever you can without hesitation, especially as a small business.

What are some tips on time management?

Jeremy was doing his MBA in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a stressful time for many people. It was especially tough mentally. Jeremy suggested that recognising how difficult it is to be going through online learning, is already a good step. Practically, you need to be strict with yourself and your time management in order to keep sane in such a tough time.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

You have one life, choose it and choose your path.

Every business on this planet has a duty and a responsibility to serve it’s community and the people around it.”

Jeremy Jacobs

Future Cities – Sarah Ichioka

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Sarah Ichioka is an urbanist who is currently head of Desire Lines in Singapore. This company consulates different initiatives in terms of socio-economic and environment decisions. She is originally from the United States and completed her Bachelors degree there before moving to the UK for her Masters and staying there for a while to continue her professional journey.

Quick Summary

Having worked in different countries from the US to the UK to Singapore, how have you found the different approaches to work?

Sarah shared the difference in values from different places. Older nations such as the United Kingdom tend to want to make everything about preservation of the old. In Sarah’s opinion, sometimes it stops some towns from developing to their fullest potential. Younger nations such as Singapore tend to want to create new things and do not care much for preservation which in Sarah’s opinion can sometimes be a little harsh on historic value of buildings.

What are some of the projects you worked on that were most successful?

Sarah said that she believes that it’s not the projects that are most successful that stand out but rather those that taught her a great lesson. She believes that in her early stages of her career, it was very beneficial to work with people in their older stages of their careers because they navigated her and kept her grounded. She learned that everything takes time and that every professional experience, no matter how painful, has the potential to be a learning opportunity.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Let go of perfectionism. 

“Lesson for a happy life: be able to understand what you are good at and when you should get out of people’s way when they are good at it.”

Sarah Ichioka

Preparing for the Uncertain – Julien Leyre

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Julien Leyre is a writer, educator and mentor. He started up numerous initiatives over his lifetime. He is a founder and is currently working at the Founders of Governors Agency (FoGA).

Quick Summary

What inspired you to want to go into tackling societal issues? Was it always on your mind or did you ‘fall’ into the industry? Could you maybe tell us about FoGA? 

Born in France and interested in language and culture, moving to Australia and finding out more about Asia was the turning point in Julien’s life. Seeing the possibility to combine the traditions of Asia and Europe in Australia, Julien decided to learn Chinese. He founded a project called Marco Polo which brought together the voices of intellectuals through collaborative translations. 

In 2016, he got a call from Sweden where there was a new foundation that looked at catastrophic disasters that could severely damage the world and how we can plan and prepare for that. There was a competition in 2018 to propose how to change the agencies we have in place today, such as the UN. The drive behind FoGA is to allow people to learn the basic building blocks of communicating issues and creating a conversation. 

With the uncertainty of the future and where the world will develop but how do we prepare the current people of today for the change?

Covid acted as a wake up call for people and all of our plans were ruined. But the pandemic isn’t anything new but we act as if the world will be the same as yesterday, everyday. This is delusional. The most important thing we can learn is to develop an idea that risks are here and anything can happen. Also we must organize our lives in a way that is resilient and in survival mode. 

Develop a life that is more balanced. We have to have a good work life balance as during covid, those friends and small interactions are very important. It’s not always about having a global network because at times like covid, we were stuck to those who are close to us physically. Building a good relationship with yourself and with your partner or loved ones is very important.

We see these changes all over the world. Students often feel like they are a tiny speck on the global stage. What would your advice be on how students can start and be part of the change? 

Julien suggested that we should firstly develop a good idea of what is our desire and what is actually fuelling that desire to be part of the change. It is important to find people who will listen. Sometimes, less is more and it is crucial that you understand what your message and desire is before you try and persuade others of that change. The biggest thing that Julien suggests people do is think “how can you create conditions where others are likely to listen to you?” 

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

“Less effort, more presence”. You should decide on what you want to achieve and keep chipping away at that rather than trying to grasp everything at once. 

Creating conditions for a better freedom.

– Julien Leyre

From the Guest Student

Julien Lyre provided an incredibly exclusive insight into the growing capacity of technology to revolutionise how governmental systems operate. Power has evolved from traditional military might to include more ideational forms of power resources, and technological innovation in government is the key to reflecting this transition. I was fascinated by his discussion about the potential for technological mechanisms to address issues ranging from wealth redistribution to terrorism. I deeply appreciated Julien’s guidance about developing good judgment and how to effectively articulate one’s ideas through empathy. While our seniors may offer valuable perspectives, having good judgement enables us to personally make decisions in unique and dynamic situations. Furthermore, employing a softer tone of voice can often make our ideas resonate better with our audience. Overall, it was a tremendous pleasure to be a part of the interview and I look forward to reading a copy of Julien’s book!

Naylin Al, currently studying at the University of Melbourne as well as the newest member of the team.

Harnessing our Experiences – Martin Foakes

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Podcaster; Marko Stravou Insights With Experts

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Mr Foakes is an explorer, environmentalist and outdoor education coordinator. Currently acting as head of outdoor education for Tanglin Trust School, Foakes has a long history of developing and delivering outdoor and adventure experiences for students of all ages. These of which involve activities such as Rocking Climbing, Caving, Trekking and Wild Camping. Through embarking on expeditions in places such as Antarctica and Myanmar, Mr Foakes advocates what he learns along these trips to build a more informed youth community through various platforms. In this interview we will be learning about Mr Foakes’s journey as well as what the youth can take away from it. 

Quick Summary

What inspired you to pursue exploration? Was there perhaps a specific moment that set you on this path? 

Even from a relatively young age, Mr Foakes’s passion for the outdoors was always evident. An example being that fact that his mother recalls that the only way to make him happy as a baby was to push his stroller outside into the garden. Even till this day, when Mr Foakes feels stressed at work, he resorts to spending time outside. Mr Foakes then went on to talk about the absence of a ‘careful path’ when becoming a professional outdoor person. Using the analogy of a pinball, Foakes constantly looks for opportunities to channel his passion for the outdoors in numerous stages of his life. Resultantly, he found himself at a position which he is very happy to be at. 

There can often be a misconception among students that outdoor activity wouldn’t benefit them in future ambitions such as corporate jobs. What cross applicable skills do you think students can gain from engaging in outdoor activities such as exploration which apply to all walks of life?

In an age where students can very easily fall into the trap of having a ‘predictable’ CV, Foakes referred to the highlight of his CV being the fact that he has proven experience in the outdoors, something that is not easy to come across. The benefits of immersing ourselves in the outdoors is truly evident. One of the primary factors comes down to decision making. As we situate ourselves in foreign and natural environments such as those outdoors, we are forced to adapt. The more often we immerse yourself in unpredictable scenarios, the better we become at decision making in all walks of life. 

Shifting the focus specifically to your trip in Antarctica, what were some of the most significant challenges and perhaps lessons you learnt along this expedition. What can the youth take away from these lessons? 

It’s not everyday you come across someone who has spent 2 weeks on the most uninhabitable continent on the planet. While Mr Foakes refers to it as being a genuinely enjoyable journey, the more important question he likes to ask is how we place our next step after the experience. What can we take from the experience and use it to make the world a better place? In Mr Foakes case, it was advocating the sustainable aspect of the trip to international schools back in South East Asia. This message applies universally, as we immerse ourselves in experiences, we should always think about how we can harness what we have learnt to help others improve and contribute to a good cause. 

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Mr Foakes left us with a message that revolved around the importance of immersing ourselves in a variety of experiences. As opposed to regretting or pondering what the experience would have been like, we should instead simply ‘get on with it’. Whether we enjoyed the experience or not, we will nevertheless leave informed and able to move onto the next stage of our lives with a broader perspective. Either way, Mr Foakes described it as being a ‘win-win’ scenario. 

If you think you might, then you should

Martin Foakes