Skip to main content

Tim Griffiths took over at the helm of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland in March of 2021, and we recently sat down with him to have a chat about his experience with SEI to date and his advice for other aspiring leaders!

Can you tell us a little about your background, and how it lead to your work at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland?   

Prior to working with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, I worked in the world of advertising, having been Managing Director of the Irish branches, of two of the big multi-national agency groups. During this time, I had done a lot of work supporting social entrepreneurs in Ireland through both Ashoka and ChangeX. My interest in the sector has grown each year, and when the opportunity came to work in the sector full time, I grabbed it with both hands! 


What is your favourite part of being CEO at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland?  

I think it is a combination of working with great people with great purpose. I believe that Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has always had a unique and special culture, that we will continue to cherish and nurture, and it is a real privilege to be part of a group of people who value and support that. I think what binds, not only the SEI team but our broader community of entrepreneurs and supporters as well, is the belief and passion in our desire and ability to make Irish society better for everyone. That’s a very motivating force and a great environment to work in every day. 


Can you share your top three highlights from your time with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland so far?   

Our Gathering Event was a real highlight as it was, for me personally, an opportunity to stand back and look at all the great work that the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland team and the social entrepreneurs are doing and the impact that that is having. The second one for me has been selecting the social entrepreneurs that we work with, and then seeing how quickly they are evolving and progressing in their work through the supports that we are able to give them. Thirdly, it getting to meet so many people in our wider community of supporters and being equally inspired and humbled by the support that they give us. 


When building and growing a team, what’re the most important things to focus on?  

I think having a shared, passion, vision and values are things to look out for. I think being open in the growth journey we are going on is also really important so that everyone understands the growth journey that we are on and why we are doing the things that we do, that are intended to get us there. 


Do you have any recommendations for books, podcasts, documentaries, for aspiring leaders?  

I am not a great one for business books. As a sports fan, I enjoyed Legacy by James Kerr that highlights the behaviours of the New Zealand rugby union team that has kept them at the top of the world game for a long period of time; and also On Form by Mike Brearley, a former England cricket captain turned pyscohanalyst who explores the circumstances that might lead to continued exceptional performance. Whilst not a book or podcast, I have been privileged to hear at first hand the leadership approach of people like Brian Cody, the Kilkenny hurling manager, Paul McGinley, on his Ryder Cup captaincy experience and Caroline Currid, the sports psychologist on her work with Waterford, and they all highlight balancing preparation, desire and freedom to allow people to perform at their best. 


A friend bought me for Christmas, the gift of John O’Donohue’s ‘Longing and Belonging’ recordings that touch on many aspects of life including the role that work plays in our overall lives, which is very thought-provoking listening. 


Outside of work, what brings you joy? 

I enjoy being active and like to get out and about when I can, whether playing (bad golf in my case) or watching sport, going out walking, or indeed socialising with friends and family.

I enjoy my food and wine and cook a lot at home and enjoy increasing my knowledge and repertoire as I can. 


What is the best piece of advice you can give?

Treat others like you would like to be treated yourself. 


What are you most looking forward to for Social Entrepreneurs Irelandin 2022? 

2022 is an exciting year for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and will be my first full year in the role. I’m looking forward to continuing to see the progression of our social entrepreneurs and am looking forward to discovering the new social entrepreneurs who will join our community during the year. We will be doing a lot of work during the year of evolving our strategy for the years ahead which is going to be a very exciting and inclusive process.