Dr Andy Crosbie
Director, Change-maker, Pedant
Having worked as a wedding coordinator, crewed a catamaran across the Atlantic, and spent a summer cooking breakfasts in a Highland hotel, Andy decided he needed a new focus. His solution was to move to Australia to study a PhD in ethics. After four years, he resolved that he didn’t want to stay in universities, but the seeds were sown for several later career decisions.
While studying, he was given many opportunities to teach undergraduates, an activity that he quickly came to love. Despite being a natural introvert, he delighted in the challenge of speaking to and engaging 300+ students at a time. He also found that he deeply loved helping people develop, relishing in their successes more than in his own.
Andy wrote his PhD on the topic of role models – how we are influenced by key individuals in our lives, and what this means in terms of our responsibilities and theirs. This spurred in him an interest in understanding how people work in terms of their motivation and decision-making, and how this applies to groups and organisations.
He then moved into the voluntary and community sector, initially working for the Australian Red Cross, overseeing a community programme to keep elderly people safe in their own homes, before going on to help Australian organisations become more inclusive of Aboriginal people, leading advocacy campaigns to improve the lives of those affected by cancer, and founding the Sydney Volunteer Network.
In 2012, with no business plan, just one initial client, and only half a clue about what he was doing, Andy set up an Ethics Consultancy business, specialising in values, motivation, and culture. Through this work, he helped charity execs, school leaders, and students become more ethical leaders, while also promoting the importance of nurturing culture in organisations. The business doubled in size each year, with many clients hiring and re-hiring him, and some even telling them he needed to charge them more.
The approach he brought to and promoted in this work was that you have to get things right for the people. You can’t just tell people what to do, you have to create the conditions for people to feel motivated by their work. In particular, people need supportive and challenging relationships, the autonomy to make their own decisions, the opportunity to master new skills and fields, and a sense of being part of something larger than themselves.
Andy returned to the UK in 2015, led by his Australian wife who wanted to swap the Australian sun and sand for the glories of North East England. He spent a few years overseeing national operations for UK educational leadership charity and developing advocacy services for a North East charity, before falling in with the bad crowd that is Stuart and Patricia. It didn’t take long for them to recognise the mischievous glint in each other’s eye – and establish the Collective Impact Agency.