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Pay it forward

6 Jul 2021

What do we mean when we talk about paying it forward?  

Pay it forward is an expression for when the recipient of an act of kindness does something kind for someone else rather than simply accepting or repaying the original good deed.

I love this idea, its kindness at its best, and is one sure way of doing good and feeling good.  There are several people in my network who practice this every day, and for today, I am going to pay it forward and shout about them!   You should be following them on LinkedIn for motivation and inspiration, and if you like what they do, please get involved. 



Thor Holt is a career coach and investor based in Aberdeenshire.  His Insta account is filled with gorgeous Aberdeenshire countryside, his wife, and their lovely Spaniels.  Connect with him @thor_holt.

I met Thor several years ago now and have enjoyed watching his journey. He has a great presence on social media and a brilliant knack for storytelling. 

I asked him to share one of his ‘pay it forward’ story…

“My long-suffering wife Kat was my friend before we got married.  She has got an incredible mind for music, she was a DJ for kid’s hospital radio at one point, she plays the drums and now, she runs a community interest company (Movement Evolution Scotland) as a parkour and ski instructor... and yes, she is starting a revolution in resilience, one child at a time.

 There is nothing quite like a glass of whisky or coffee and brainstorm round the fire pit with Kat. Why? She is great at co-generating creative and caring ideas that make an impact.  One of our favourite cofire pit ideas was to allow two families to stay in two of our properties rent free. We also covered their living costs. They were affected by COVID and needed a helping hand to get back on their feet. We also threw in my career coaching to help them gain employment if that was their situation.   This has been even more successful than we anticipated, being able to offer security and help people re-find a confidence to move forward means this is something we are going to continue to do.

And the accidental bonus, for us, and for you, if you pay it forward with Kat-kindness ideas like this, is a massive positive feeling, reciprocal action, and expansion of your network.  Oh, and when you are asked about yourself in interview, a Kat-kindest type example goes down well”.



Emma is the founder of Radical Recruit, an innovative social recruitment consultancy. She created the business to employ a values-led approach to sourcing talent and represent those who are underrepresented in the labour market, working exclusively with candidates who face disadvantage and who come from marginalised communities. 

I first connected with Emma after reading a post on LinkedIn and reached out to become a volunteer.  I asked Emma to share her story…

“I am also a person who was born into incredible privilege. I come from a two-parent home. Whilst we did not really have a great deal of money when I was a kid, I do not recall a time where I ever wanted for anything. My father had been to university and enjoyed all the luxuries that come with a tertiary education. He was never out of work and the jobs that he did paid enough to enable my mum to stay at home and care for me and my brother. My only priority as a child was to act my age; to play and to grow. When I was school age, my only other priority was to get a good education. In fact, I recall feeling angry with my father when I turned 16 and he refused to allow me to get a job after school! My parents loved and supported each other even when shit got hard. My home was a safe place that nourished me in all the way a child needs nourishing. I was encouraged by my parents to always be my genuine, authentic, and imperfect self. I honestly do not recall a time where I doubted my potential. When I reflect on my life, I cannot remember a time when I did not feel like I belonged. Not everyone is born with this privilege which means not everyone enjoys the same opportunities in life.

Radical was inspired by Chanel, a young black woman whose upbringing was the polar opposite to mine. She was born into incredibly tumultuous circumstances: one of 15 children born into generational poverty. Her father was a prolific criminal, and her mother was an alcoholic who beat and starved her and her siblings. When she was finally taken into the ‘care’ of the state, she was bounced around from foster placement to foster placement until she committed her first offence which would lead to a string of other offences which landed her in prison.  I met Chanel two weeks before she was due to be released homeless and without a job. I was tasked with writing her a CV and finding an employer that would check their unconscious bias, look beyond the ‘ex-offender’ label, and see what I saw – a young woman with huge potential who needed an opportunity to turn her life around. Thankfully, one employer took a chance on her and gave her a job in a kitchen. In the years that followed, she trained and qualified as a Chef. Last month, I placed her again, this time into a corporate fundraiser role with a mental health charity. She has not reoffended since she started work and she is now a valued and contributing member of society.

I began Radical because the time to challenge the status quo boldly and unapologetically is long overdue. Our work does exactly that. By partnering with employers who have an authentic commitment to diversity, we redress the imbalance of opportunity to gain meaningful employment afforded to those labelled; ‘care leaver’, ‘disabled’, ‘gang member’, ‘black’, ‘uneducated’, ‘inexperienced’, ‘homeless’, ‘criminal’, or generally, just ‘not ‘good enough’ just like Chanel. We also exist to call out businesses who talk a big game when it comes to their commitment to inclusion, equality, and diversity but whose policies fail to translate into practice. We do this by providing diversity recruitment services, training, facilitation, corporate volunteering, and consultancy services.

Since launching Radical, we have placed over 200 people into work in a range of sectors and disciplines. Salaries for these placements range from Living Wage to £90k. The businesses we have worked with range from small tech start-ups to global management consultancies representing the world’s elite in sport to the biggest and leading entertainment company. Collectively, these businesses are the single most powerful entity to elicit positive change that has the potential to permeate society. Radical acts as a critical friend, ally and co-pilot to business partners that want to take action that is anti-biased, is good for humanity and which also drives their business success”.



My pay it forward is this, if you need career coaching, or simply a trusted adviser, reach out to Thor, if you want to support and get involved with Radical Recruit reach out to Emma.  They are wonderful people who have put others before themselves, playing their part in making the world a better place!

I hope this article has inspired you to think about how you can pay it forward. Remember it does not have to be big, even the smallest of things can make a real difference to someone!  A smile and a quick ‘hello’ to a stranger, buy a coffee for someone on the street, reach out to a friend you have not spoken to in a while, or simply give someone a compliment.

You are doing great, and please do not forget, we are here to help.

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