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Green Growth And Well-being | Irfan Lohiya

Today’s Guest Irfan Lohiya

Meet Irfan Lohiya, Founder, MD, and mastermind headhunter behind Green Recruitment Solutions. He is passionate about making the world a better place by combating climate change through his work in recruitment.

  • Irfan is deeply committed to environmental causes and is passionate about making the world a better place. He discusses his green mission, which includes combating climate change through his work in recruitment.
  • Irfan shares his journey in the recruitment industry and how he sought to challenge the status quo. He emphasizes the importance of innovating and thinking differently to bring about positive change.
  • Irfan finds inspiration and solace in nature. He talks about his habit of retreating to the forest to recharge and gain clarity. He believes in the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
  • Irfan describes his extensive CSR efforts, including building schools in Malawi, providing clean water projects, putting individuals through university in Africa, and helping communities move away from poverty towards sustainability.
  • Irfan envisions a future of growth for his business, driven by the growing need for solutions related to climate change. He remains committed to creating a positive impact through his work and philanthropic efforts.

Links for Irfan

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"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.

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Ifran: [00:00:00] when I have, you know, really important things that I need to do or important discussions that, you know, I have with my team or whatever, I need to be in a place where I'm completely surrounded by serenity and, and, and I go deep into the forest and, and you, you have complete, clear thought. You know, there's not a soul in sight, not a voice to be heard, no traffic, no anything, and when you're over there, and you're, you're just looking around, listening to stuff, ideas come, thoughts come, you get inspired, you know, because you're in this game to help nature, you know, you're fighting to protect nature, and so it makes sense for me to feed off nature's energy.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with me your host Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us [00:01:00] do just that I am chatting with my guest Irfan Lohiya from Green Recruitment Solutions about where he's had to push through, what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well as More looks like for him now the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available on the website pushtobemore.Com and whilst you're there if you haven't done so already make sure you sign up for the email as we send out to you the notes and the links from the show automatically direct your inbox and Every week.

Now, this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. Why would you want to host your own podcast? I hear you ask. Well, for me, it is the best marketing tool out there. I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding.

It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I've seen. I've built networks, made friends and had a [00:02:00] platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. And I think just about every entrepreneur should have a podcast because it's had such a huge impact on my own business. I get this all sounds great in theory, but there's things like production, and marketing, and strategy, and tech, and all that sort of stuff, which is a little bit scary.

But that's where Aurion Media comes in. They take all of that off your plate. I just get to do What I'm good at, which is talk to people. You get to do what you're good at. Just talk to people and Aurion Media does all of that other stuff. So if you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them.

Aurion That's aurion Media, A U R I O N Uh, and find out more about what they do. Now, that's the show sponsor. Let's talk about today's guest. Oh, yes, our founder, Irfan, MD and mastermind [00:03:00] hunter. He founded Recruit, Green Recruitment Solutions, let me get the name right, ten years ago with a simple passion for making the world a A better place.

Irfan, great to have you on the show, man. How are we doing? No,

Ifran: Yeah, very well. Thank you. It's good to be here. Thanks for having me on board.

Matt: no, no, it's great. It's great. Whereabouts in the world are you?

Ifran: I am in the Midlands, not within Warwickshire, so it's a very small, you know, it's a small town. Most people haven't heard of it, so I'm not even going to bother saying which one it's, um, it's, I live in the countryside, let's put it that way, and it's... Really nice.

Matt: The Midlands as well, God's own country, right?

Ifran: Yeah, well, you know, the whole world is his, I guess. He can have

Matt: That's true, I guess, I guess you're right. Yeah, there's no argument there, is there, really? No argument at all. [00:04:00] Brilliant. Well, listen, welcome to the show, man. It's great to have you. And, um, as I said, the show is sponsored by Aurion Media, right? Which, um, helps entrepreneurs, business leaders get set up and running with their own podcast.

So, if you could have your own podcast, your own showing, and you could interview anybody on the show from your past or your present that's had a big influence on your life, who would you inf? Who would you interview and why?

Ifran: anything. Okay, that one for me, hands down, would be David Attenborough.

Matt: Ah, okay.

Ifran: Yeah, because, um, even before I went into Green recruitment, I've always had this... Connection with nature and the planet and, you know, the, uh, all things green. And, uh, when David Attenborough used to do his, uh, his shows, you know, on the BBC, in the early days, I used to watch them and I used to be a fan of them because, you know, [00:05:00] it's the cheapest way to get to see the world, right?

Matt: Mmm. Yeah, totally. It still probably is, to be fair.

Ifran: Yeah, yeah, you know, so where am I going to have the time to go on? Swim around the coral reef. I'd love to do that. I don't have the time. Let's watch David.

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Ifran: You know, but jokes aside, there's, in his shows, there's always a very important message and it's always to do with, you know, our impact on the planet.

Matt: Mm hmm.

Ifran: Uh, you know, how the world has been changing over so many years. And he carries a really, really powerful message. It's just a shame. That message is falling on deaf ears because if people heard what he had to say, we would be making so much more progress

Matt: Mmm.

Ifran: towards net zero and in the race towards, you know, transitioning away from fossil fuels.

You know, this race, we wouldn't just be strolling along, which we [00:06:00] are right now. We would be racing there with some urgency. But that's the thing, you know, David Attenborough is who's going to listen to him when, um, you know, his own show recently it was gonna cause an issue on Netflix. Or Netflix where, you know, they had to pull a show, you know, because it would upset other people who wanna ignore the, um, the science behind climate change and what is happening.

You know, it's, it's, it's unfortunate. We live in a world right now. Where profit drives everything.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah.

Ifran: That's the thing. But yeah, I'd love to have him on my show. Because, you know, he's just such a cool, cool person with so many great experiences. So, you know, and a lot of, uh, you know, great knowledge that everyone can benefit from.

I think he's just fantastic.

Matt: Yeah, I would, I'm like you, I think David Attenborough would be the most remarkable podcast guest if I could get. [00:07:00] David, if you're listening. Sir David, if you're listening. Uh, let me address you correctly, um, then you, you fancy coming on to the podcast, I, please come, be my guest, uh, or if Irfan ever does a podcast, then, then go on his as well, because why not, right, um, but, um, yeah, he would be the most interesting and remarkable person, uh, I think you're right, I, he, the, the amount of stories he must have.

Ifran: Yep.

Matt: Got to be, I mean, just the places he's been, um, you know, and, and, and the struggles that he's facing. It's interesting you talk about how, um, how you don't really think we're listening to his message because, um, I, I get what you're saying. On one hand, I, I love this analogy. We're strolling in this race.

We're not, we're not charging it down to net zero and, and the, and the things that we know we should be doing. But on the other hand, every Everything that I hear [00:08:00] over on this side, they're all trying now to be sustainable and, and, and green. I don't, I, you know, there is this thing called greenwashing, isn't there, where certainly in corporate it's driven by profits.

Um, what more do you think could be done to, to sort of, I guess what would be the things which would have the biggest impact on the environment, do you think?

Ifran: Number one, be sincere about this mission. Yeah, as you rightly pointed out, everyone's talking about Green. You know, I went to buy some Timberlands the other day. And, um, you know, just looking at the way they're selling their shoes now, you know, even, you can't even buy a pair of shoes or a pair of boots without being sold the whole, you know, our shoes are so great because they're amazing for the environment.

We use recycled, you know, materials and so on and so on and so on. You know, so there's, there's, everyone wants to just make whatever it is they're selling, they want to make it green now. You know, all of a sudden being green has become trendy. You know, [00:09:00] it's become cool, so everybody wants to do it, and this is the problem, when people do it just because it's, you know, you're jumping on a green gravy bandwagon, that's the wrong reason to be in this business.

If you want to be in this business, then make sure you're doing it with sincerity and you actually want to make a difference, and you know, there's want to make a difference on one side and there's want to make a profit on the other. Everybody, or a large part, are just moving towards the want to make a profit.

At the moment, rather than want to make a difference, and there is a big, big difference between the two. And that's why you see, at the end of the news and the media, everyone's talking about sustainability, climate change and, you know, how can we reduce your, you know, carbon emissions and become more sustainable and all of this sort of stuff.

But, you know, very few people are actually putting the amount of money, uh, into the industry, you know, as much as [00:10:00] what we need to, you know, invest in. And I don't really see, you know, the investment taking place as much as it needs to, because on one hand you've got, there's a lot of talk, but the actual, on the other side, the, the, the impact on the ground or how much, um, progress we're supposed to be making, you know, that pulls apart.

Matt: Yeah.

Ifran: You know, and I was at a, um, an event hosted by LinkedIn recently, and that was to do with trends and recruitment and, you know, business and markets and all of this sort of stuff. And the interesting thing, you know, That came out of that meeting is that and we talked about the green space and sustainability and we You know we saw in that meeting as well That there's a look there's a lot of talk on one side that yeah We need to be doing this we need to be doing that and we need to be investing That's all talk, that's all talk, but the reality is, on, you know, what LinkedIn found is that [00:11:00] right now, the number of, the percentage of jobs in the world that are green at the moment is 1%, 1%

Matt: 1%.

Ifran: being advertised in the world right now are green, so you could, See the mismatch, you know, we need to do a lot more, a lot faster.

This is the thing and that comes down to sincerity. If we all get serious about this mission and we all get serious about wanting to make the world a better place, then we could, you know, we have the means, we have the smarts, we have the money, you know, there's nothing to stop us from fixing the mess that we are in.

Matt: yeah. No, it's very true. Very true. Do you, you mentioned how on one hand you've got wanting to make a difference, and on the other hand, you've got wanting to make a profit. Do you, do you think it's possible to bring those two things together?

Ifran: Yes. Yes, you can, you know. I'm working with organizations That's also doing that, you know, and I prefer to work with [00:12:00] organizations, you know, who first of all have their mission in check, you know, you have your in check, you know, there's nothing to stop you from making a profit and profit is not bad, you know, we need profit to run a business.

yes, you can do both, you can, you can do both, and we should be doing both. Because that's the only way business can be sustainable, you know, you need to make a profit, and, um, but at the same time, there's a responsibility, you know, what are you going to do with that money, you know, as well, and, and there's so much to do in the world, that, um, you know, I don't think, you know, we're really doing enough, if we really wanted to, you know, eradicate poverty, we could, we don't, because the world is built very, um, differently, you know, it's, it's, uh, and, and when there's corporate greed and, and, and, you know, it's all about profit, right?

So when profit drives your decision making, it's hard to [00:13:00] make the right decisions or ethical decisions or decisions that will actually upset shareholders for the sake of the planet. This is what we're not doing. You know, we, we are too afraid to upset shareholders. You know, and, and this is the issue, you know, and that's why you see in business, in, in, in industry, um, companies, uh, you know, have U turns in the decision making because it's upset a certain group of people, you know, and which is sad, you know, which is sad because, um, you know, the planet is suffering, and it's not just the planet suffering, future generations will suffer because of the decisions that are being made today.

Or even, let's flip that around, the lack of decisions that are being made today,

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Ifran: this is a thing.[00:14:00]

Matt: Now it's interesting listening to you, I mean obviously it's a big hot topic isn't it at the moment, um, the environment and um, I saw that the chap, I can't remember his name, the guy that owned the Patagonia Clothing Company gave all his shares to Earth was I think the Was the spin that he put on it.

So all the, all the in effect, planet earth is now the share, the shareholder of his company, which is how they've done it is remarkably clever. And, and, um, and obviously he's done some really interesting things in that whole arena, mixing business and sustainability and the environment. Um, but how does this, how does your, um, passion for the environment, you know.

Um, how have you found starting your own business with that drive, um, that what have been some of the, some of the challenges that you've had to face in that?

Ifran: The challenges I've had to face, well, the [00:15:00] issue is there's lots of recruitment organisations in the world.

Matt: Mm hmm.

Ifran: the UK alone, there's over 40, 000 recruitment organisations.

So if you imagine there's 40, 000 recruitment firms in the UK alone, and, you know, there's lot, you know, employers who need to recruit. Now, when they need to recruit, uh, or, or, you know, find a recruiter for their organization, everyone's an expert, everyone has a great website, you know, and everyone looks the same as each other, yeah?

Now, it's making it very difficult for companies to decide, you know, which is the right company, which is not the right company, and all of this, so, you know, the challenge for a business is really to be able to stand out in such a saturated market, yeah? How do you stand out in such a saturated market?

Well, for me, I don't even need to try. Because, um, you know, our business [00:16:00] itself is, is very different to any other recruitment firm in the world. And I know this because, you know, I've built it. And, you know, my own, my own background is that I've worked for some of the world's biggest recruitment powerhouses.

And, you know, some of the businesses that I've built for them and what I've done for them internationally, you know, I, I know how I'm able to add value to clients. So my job is literally very simple, you know, I just need to show clients the difference between what we do and how we work compared to the rest of the market.

And there is a very distinct difference between us and everyone else and which is why, you know, I've haven't had a single cold call for the past six years. You know, and reason why, you know, and, you know, I'll give you, um, you know, just some examples of the kind of, uh, impact that we have, you know, on our clients.

We worked with one [00:17:00] client, uh, North America's fastest growing climate change NGO. We were hired to help them scale from 450 staff to 650 staff, um, within a period of like six months. We took on that contract, we helped them scale up, and they extended the contract by another month to close off some, you know, final few roles, but we helped them do that, you know, and that's just one example.

Another one, you know, we're performing open heart surgery on an energy from waste plant, you know, we are recruiting the world's experts for one of the world's main advisors in the power generation industry that, you know, helps fix. Failing Power Plants, you know, and, and, and, what have you, and,

Matt: Wow.

Ifran: there is a builder of, um, renewable energy plants, and, uh, you know, we've got succession planning that we, we're doing.

I'm going to Manchester tomorrow for, uh, a [00:18:00] meeting with a CEO who's flying in from Denmark to meet me, and this is to discuss succession planning. Not just succession planning, but, okay, we found the successor for that, for, for the, for the, uh, MD in the UK. Hey, uh... What about the next phase of growth, yeah?

What about growing the business? So we're helping companies fix their initial problems and then helping them get set up to scale, yeah? Normal recruiters don't do this kind of stuff, they can't because, you know, the world of recruitment, of continuing recruitment especially, is that everybody, they work for free and they're throwing CVs at you.

That's what they're doing. They're throwing CVs at you. You are not going to... You know, save the planet through throwing CVs at people. And again, remember I told you earlier on in this meeting, that it comes down to your intention and your sincerity about the way you do business. We are very [00:19:00] much sincere about helping to make the world a better place.

And using this same passion and sincerity, we apply in our work, yeah, and we've got this, um, mantra in our organization, which is, you know, we have a never fail attitude, because ultimately, you know, when companies need to recruit, they need to fill a job, they need to solve a problem, which is going to provide a solution in the fight against climate change, right?

Look, for us, we cannot fail that fight, we cannot fail that trial. So, as a result of this fear of failure and this never fail attitude, we are the only one retained search firm in the world. That has a 100% retained success track record maintained since 2013. This is huge. I've looked at my competitors in the world's top 10, even they don't have that, yeah?

And we do, because again, for me, it starts with my reputation that I've spent some years building it. And now I've built it, [00:20:00] you know, we've got this, you know, uh, green mission that we are on. We are not failing, we are not letting anyone down, and we are serious about our business. And which is why we charge a retainer.

You know, you want to work with us, you want to be serious about filling your roles, you want to are serious about, uh, recruiting the very best talent. And, you know, you're serious about your business, but if you're serious about all of these things, then you are going to have no issue. Retaining an elite expert like myself and my team, it's a, it's a different way of thinking, you know, and, you know, so for me to be different in this, in this world of recruiters who are in a race to send CVs first before anyone else, I'm not into racing, I walked away from the race a long time ago, you know, I'm not into racing, you know, for [00:21:00] me it's all about solving problems, Adding value and making sure that the client is happy and making sure that we've delivered a solution and, you know, we've contributed.

In the fight against climate change, so if all that happens, we're happy, clients happy, everyone's happy.

Matt: So how did you, um, when you set out in the, in the world of business, were you always with this green mindset? Was this something that you bought later on? Where did this come from? I'm curious.

Ifran: Well, this goes back to my childhood and where I live and where I come from. I'm surrounded by greenery, you know, I love greenery. You know, I love nature, I love the outdoors, I love the mountains, I love, you know, the forests, I love the water, all of that sort of stuff. And obviously, as I was growing up...

Growing up, you know, you see the world changing right before your eyes as you're growing up. Oh, you know, this city just popped out of nowhere. Oh, look at [00:22:00] Dubai. You know, I've seen... The development of Dubai in, you know, in the way things just unfold, because I used to live in Abu Dhabi and I used to see construction projects just, you know, just grow and it's so amazing to see how a part of the world could go from nothing to what they are now in, say, just over 50 years,

Matt: Yeah.

Ifran: you know, so it's, it's, it's really amazing.

Now, my transition came when, apart from having all of this, Um, you know, this interest or this DNA, um, aside from having that in the world of recruitment, I've been doing a lot of infrastructure for recruitment. So recruiting for, you know, large, um, you know, waste recycling facilities or water desalination plants and, you know, getting these bits of infrastructure built.

So, you know, I've recruited the people who are going to build them, I've recruited the people who are going to commission them, you know, I've [00:23:00] recruited the people who are going to run them, you know, so I've been working with different parties and stakeholders from different sides of the table, whether they're engineering consultants, or UPC contractors, or you know, there could be another company who's the end client, or whoever it is, or

Matt: Mmm.

Ifran: the, the investor, you know, whoever it is, so the main thing is, what is that project that needs delivering, and what is the talent that you need to deliver that project, and you know, when there's anything people related, that's where we come in, and we add in the value, but www.

You know, through this recruiting for the infrastructure industry, you know, and I just enjoy the technical, the engineering, the, the, the fascination of all this technology and advancements and it just interests me. You know, the thing is, if you're going to recruit, you might as well do it in, in something that is of interest to you and that you're passionate about.

Otherwise, you know, if you're in a job, any job, doesn't have to [00:24:00] be a recruitment, any job, if you're doing a job. In an industry that you have no interest in, what's going to happen, you're going to get bored, you're going to leave, you're not going to like it, you know, so for me, it's very important to enjoy the work that I do, and so when I came to a crossroads in, um, in my career, around about 2009, I had, uh, I was into energy, you know, I liked energy, uh, recruitment, I was doing, uh, you know, the renewables, uh, and, uh, also still part of infrastructure, and, um, I was in power generation, um.

And I started getting offers from different recruiters when I was, you know, looking for a position. And I had seven offers, of which five, five of them were oil and gas industry related.

Matt: Mmm.

Ifran: Imagine that. Five of them were oil and gas industry related because that's where the money was. I was, I was being thrown money, you know, and, and in, you know, oil and gas, there's a lot of money.

Matt: Yeah.

Ifran: But, um, there's that thing inside me [00:25:00] called a conscience that just... You know, I j I, because what is, I have, um, a lot of power when it comes to recruitment. I've been doing it for fif, you know, 15 years. You know, when the cycle of recruiter, the cycle of recruiter is that 80% of new recruiters either get fired or get failed within the first six months.

Matt: Oh wow,

Ifran: Large part. Another large part, the remainder, they last for the first 12 months, and then it, it, if you are any good, you last a little bit longer.

And, um, but before the average lifespan of a recruiter in the industry is around about three and a half years. Yeah. Three and a half years before you burn out or you take a job in internal recruitment because external recruitment is really hard. You know, there's, there's pressure, there's, there's performance metrics and there's revenue that you need to deliver and this is why most recruiters, [00:26:00] you know, burn out or get fired or something.

But me. Thank you. I've been at the sharp end for about 15 years, either I'm a sucker for punishment or I'm very good at what I do,

Matt: or maybe both.

Ifran: I don't want to be close, you know. So for me, it wasn't really a hard decision to make because I saw that the power that we have literally, you know, we, when you, when you have the capability to change the fate of a company, that is a lot of power.

Yeah. That is a lot of power, sir. I don't really want to give that to oil and gas companies or industries that are just going to ruin the planet even more. I would much rather utilize this power for the betterment of our planet, yeah, and this is what it is, you know. In the words of the famous wise Spider Man, with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Matt: well I think it was his uncle that said it, but sure, yeah, [00:27:00] yeah, yeah,

Ifran: You know what I

Matt: I do, yeah, yeah, no totally, I'm just being pedantic. It's um, it's interesting isn't it, that you're, you're talking about how um, starting this business and working it, becoming good at something, becoming passionate about something. Um, being around for the long run in an, in whatever industry you're in, you can still make a difference, right?

Both for your clients and for, for the court, for your noble cause, which for you is environmentalism. Um, it's a really, it's a wonderful story to be able to tell 15 years later, isn't it? It's, it's, it's nice to be able to sit there and say, well, actually, no, this is, this has worked out for the long haul, you know?


Ifran: And the other thing is, I wanted to change things in the recruitment industry. This is the thing, when you, when you're part of an industry and you look at that industry and you go, What, people have been doing the same thing for this long? Is this the best they can do? No, there must be a better way. [00:28:00] And then you start playing with things, you start innovating, you start pioneering, which is what I've done.

I've raised the bar, I've reinvented recruitment, clients who speak to us, they get to find out, you know, why and what it is and, and how we do it, you know, all of that sort of stuff. But, um, the, you know, I think it's very, very crucial in any industry, whatever you do, to challenge the status quo. And, think differently, because otherwise, if you don't do that, you're just, you know, you're just another, you know, you just blend in to what is already a saturation,

Matt: Especially something like recruitment, because like you say, I mean, it is massively competitive recruitment. It's, um, there's a lot going on there, and to stand out in that market, I think, is no mean feat. Um, so what are some of the things that you do to recharge your batteries, to sort of stay sharp in all of this?

Because there's a lot going on, right?

Ifran: [00:29:00] There is, there is, you know, I was actually tempted to record today's podcast from my war room. Now, where is my war room? My war room is in a forest.

Matt: Okay. Yeah.

Ifran: when I, when I have, you know, really important things that I need to do or important discussions that, you know, I have with my team or whatever, I need to be in a place where I'm completely surrounded by serenity and, and, and I go deep into the forest and, and you, you have complete, clear thought. You know, there's not a soul in sight, not a voice to be heard, no traffic, no anything, and when you're over there, and you're, you're just looking around, listening to stuff, ideas come, thoughts come, you get inspired, you know, because you're in this game to help nature, you know, you're fighting to protect nature, and so it makes sense for me to feed off nature's energy.

Matt: mmm,

Ifran: Yeah, so [00:30:00] I, uh, I do, you know, I spend a lot of time going out, connecting with nature and, uh, enjoying nature, you know, exploring nature, because, um, at the rate we're going, God knows how long we're going to have nature for, you know?

Matt: Well anyway, I mean this weekend I was down at my brother in law's. Um, he, uh, he has this wonderful cottage, uh, down near Bradford on Avon and it overlooks some rolling hills and it was a beautiful weekend, the sun was shining. And, um, and we just spent most of the weekend walking in the countryside. Now I live in a city, so actually just getting out into the countryside.

was so restorative, uh, and so, um, I love that word you use, serenity. It's not a word I hear much these days. Um, but the serenity, the sereneness, the, just the stillness, um, and the ability just to walk and, um, just be with family and just chat about [00:31:00] everything and nothing all at the same time and you kind of think, and it's just, it was a wonderful thing to do.

And I, you always come away from something like that going. I should do this more often, and then you never do, you know.

Ifran: Yes, yes, yes, you know, and there comes a point where you start doing it too much and, uh, you come home from work and then your wife says, how come you look like, every time you go to work, you come back with a tan.

Matt: Yeah, to be fair, that's never going to be a problem for me. I always come back looking sunburned, so I have to wear more sun cream than a company can manufacture, if I'm honest with you, so I never come back, I never come back tanned. So you get out, you go for a walk, you love the... Um, you love the forest, uh, you appreciate the environment which you're, which you're trying to protect.

Is this why you're in the countryside? Is this why you're in a village which no one knows the name of? Um, you prefer the country to a city.

Ifran: I've [00:32:00] travelled internationally, I've lived everywhere, you know, I've enjoyed the city, you know, for me that's just a concrete jungle. It's a concrete jungle where I'll go to play and do my work, yeah, but the real jungle, you know, the green jungle is where I like to spend my time, um, you know, repairing myself and like you said, you found it restorative.

You know, because if you're not... Monday to Friday, there's a lot of stress. There's business, there's issues, there's all kinds of stuff that you need to deal with. And, you know, then when you finish work and, you know, if you've got kids, you know, it's a busy house, busy household, lots of chaos over there as well.

So really, speaking, there's no real peace anywhere, you know. And even today, you know, even in today's age... Even if you are in a forest, you can't really escape, because we live in a world of notifications and updates and things like [00:33:00] that, so you can't really escape. For me, I just stick my phone on silent, so that really helps.

But, um, it's... I don't know what else to say on the matter. Um, you know, going out, connecting with nature is very important,

Matt: Mm.

Yeah. Super important.

Ifran: yeah, because if you imagine, we are trying to make the world a better place and we are all talking about sustainability and climate change and our planet, but most people live in cities and concrete jungles, you know, so for them to appreciate nature, it's very difficult for them.

For them to be motivated to save nature. It's also very difficult for them because they're already living in a concrete jungle. What else is, what's there to say? Everything's already been paved over. You know, everything has already been developed. And, you know, population increasing only, you know, that's going to increase.

So, you know, if you really want to get [00:34:00] behind nature, connect with nature, get personal with nature, you know, experience it. You know, just change your air. When I go to London, I can change, I can taste the difference. Um, you know, I can feel the difference in my lungs and when you go out somewhere, um, you know, somewhere nice and clean, again, you know, you can feel the difference.

So, you know, I think well being is very important to be, you know, recharged and get more out of you. You know, well being is super duper important. Having a discipline, having a regime is also super duper important, um, because then, you know, if you, if you have structure to your day, have structure, then, you know, you make progress as well.

So, you know, you can. You can play and work both at the same time and still make progress, you know, otherwise without no structure, you're just wasting your time, you know, you end of the week and go, Oh, what did I achieve this week? And then you realize you achieved very little, you know, so for me, it's, it's, it's super duper important, [00:35:00] you know, to have structure and look after yourself both physically and mentally, you know, so go out, you know, work out and things like that.

But the other thing is. Recruitment, you know, is one of those industries that is notorious for being very capitalistic. Yeah. So, and I, and I've seen the worst of it as well, and I've seen the worst of it. So, you know, there's a lot of money in recruitment and the lifestyle, you know, is not too dissimilar to what an investment banker, you know, and, and I have a lot of investment banker friends, you know, and I have a lot of recruitment.

Industry friends. These are, these are successful recruiters we're talking about. I'm not talking about the other ones. So, when we, where am I going with this? I had a point. It's just skipped my, uh, [00:36:00] I'll come back to this. I'll come back to this. I was going somewhere with this. I'll

Matt: No,

Ifran: question.


Matt: no. Fair enough.

Ifran: model. So,

Matt: enough. Yeah. No, fair enough. It's um, I agree with you that, um, the, the, the magic of the outdoors and well being, there's something connected and quite. Uh, quite, quite lovely about that. But I'm curious for you, you know, you've got this, you've got this mission, you've got this real passion, um, for the environment, for everything outdoors.

What does the future look like? What, what's growth look like, um, for you guys over the next few years?

Ifran: Growth

Matt: for

Ifran: us is

Matt: very exciting because I've changed my business model

Ifran: so there was a lot of uncertainty and risk before, but I've walked away from that market. And I'm just not into that, so now, the way we work now is very different, and so for us, the future is very much [00:37:00] all about growth, because our markets are growing. The world is, is, you know, in a transition at the moment, and for us to achieve that transition, there's a lot of work to do.

So, we have a lot of work to do, you know, and, and so, when there's growth on the horizon, you know, your markets are growing, uh, your clients are growing, you know, there's growth there. It makes sense then for us to also seek to grow, you know. There's a fine balance. Do you, do, do you grow the business just because you can, uh, or do you have, uh, Your core team, which you enjoy working with, and you know, you're quite happy and you don't want to rock the boat, and you know, you do so well, and it's...

It's the comfort level, you know, do you break out of your comfort level and go for it or do you remain within, [00:38:00] you know, your comfort level? So for me, I've always been a risk taker. I've enjoyed, you know, I've made profit and I've made loss, you know, but everything, you know, we've made, um, we know we're self funded.

We have no, um, you know, let's just put it this way. We don't need to rely on anyone. Everything that we do do is, you know, if we make mistakes, it's our fault. If we're successful, then also, you know, it's our success. I think that's very important because I like to sleep at night. I don't want to know, you know, um, people who I owe money to and all of that sort of stuff.

So, you know, I'm into that. So, having a business... Which works for me and I'm happy with is, is a very, very important thing. And right now with growth on the, on the horizon, you know, the opportunity, you know, for, for doing so much more with things out there is [00:39:00] huge and very important for us to be able to capitalize on some of that growth.

Because remember I told you earlier about the recruitment industry is very notorious. For being very capitalist. And that's something that I wanted to change. And this is when I forgot my trail of thought earlier on. And so what I did in this organization is to really change our business. So we've become completely unique.

So if you look at our C S R now, now recruiters and I watched the recruiters of the big, big companies, you know there in terms of CSR. Okay, we've done a. Uh, somebody's done a fun run, a marathon run or whatever, which is all lovely, and they raised like 200 for some charity or whatnot, or even if it's like some 2, 500 or whatever, it's, you know, you're a big organisation, you're a 29 billion organisation, and this is what you're doing for CSR.

You know, how do you sleep at night? Me, I'm a nothing and a [00:40:00] nobody, yeah, but what have I done in this decade, you know, I've built a school in Malawi offering free education to people, you know, because I look at problems and poverty, you know, and I look at the power of recruitment and that we can make money, so I spend most of my, most of my cash actually give away, but not many people know that, you know, and yes, it's easy to become a billionaire and then when you're just about to, um, you know, you've got not much.

time on the clock left, then it's easy to donate all your cash to good causes at that point in your life. For

Matt: yeah.

Ifran: me, I'd rather do that as I'm, you know, as, as I'm still living, you know, you know, I'm still got, you know, lots, because I see there's so much work that needs to be done. You know, we've built, we've given Clean Water Projects, we've installed Clean Water Projects.

Internationally, wherever there's poverty and people carrying their children in the blazing heat of the sun, you know, for five miles every day [00:41:00] and, and, you know, you're breastfeeding and all of this sort of thing, it's not easy, you know, so as a recruiter, I think recruiters have a lot of responsibility and, you know, we can make a huge difference.

So me, I'm setting an example for the big board, you know, look at you and look at what we are doing. You should be doing a lot more than what we are doing, you know, you are much more bigger than we are, you know, with, um, uh, this, this whole diversity issue as well, people need to start thinking about that differently as well, so, um, uh, what we have been doing is that we've been putting people through university as well in Africa, giving opportunities to people that they would not actually otherwise get.

from anywhere else. So now, these people are going to be doctors, they're going to be environmental scientists, because when climate change hits, you know, the world, Africa's going to get hit, you know, one of the first places. So we need doctors, we need people who can fight in climate change, we need all of this, so um, [00:42:00] you know, again, it's all part of our CSR, you know, we've, uh, uh, you know, we've been, we do a lot of stuff to give away, basically, and,

Matt: explain, um, just explain what CSR is for those outside of the UK that might not know what you mean when you say that.

Ifran: Corporate Social Responsibility. So what are you doing as a business in, you know, in the world? Are you just there to make money and make yourself rich? Or are you giving back to society in any way? And what are you doing?

Matt: mmm,

Ifran: So, you know, we were running a soup kitchen as well since 2015, you know, serving up food to the homeless every week in my, you know, in my hometown, um, that, that lasted to just, uh, after the, you know, run about the pandemic time, unfortunately.

Um, but, uh, you know, there's these sorts of initiatives that we do, you know, what do we do to help people in the world, whether, you know, we build houses for [00:43:00] refugees, you know, we've done loads of water projects. Um, you know, I want to, and as, as we make more money, my plans and ambitions for all of these kind of projects, you know, grow.

So we've also, check this out, we've also, um, run a pilot project in Africa for, for three years where we worked with a community, a village, on helping them move away from a hundred percent, uh, poverty, uh, food aid. To 100% living sustainably, yeah, so what we do for those three years, we work with them, help them understand their land, give them an education, put experts on the ground to work with these people, irrigate their land, work their land, you know, gain the skills to be able to grow stuff.

And, you know, grow stuff, harvest it, and all of that, and do a few cycles of this for about three years. So they have been trained, they now know how to grow food, [00:44:00] and they also have the commercial skills to be able to sell food as well. So now, you know, we've eliminated poverty. Yeah, and one thing I'm going to do next is I'm going to start adding free renewable energy and power as well to that,

Matt: right.

Ifran: uh, and, uh, cause that's, we've been piloting different things in different places and, uh, you know, I'm going to be scaling this up because if you could, if you could close out poverty.

That's a pretty cool thing, don't you think?

Matt: Oh, it's a hell of a mission, bud, and it's really great listening to all the things that you're, um, that you're doing outside of work, you know. You're, um, I love this that you're not just. Um, preaching a green agenda, you're actually, you're taking the whole thing quite seriously aren't you? And you're, you're working with projects, um, building schools and, and all that sort of stuff.

And I. And I do, like you, I do despair sometimes at how much the large companies don't [00:45:00] give. Um, and it, it seems immoral, but then on the other hand, I, I think I can be quick to judge them. Um, and it's sometimes easier to take the speck of dust out my... Neighbor's eye than the plank out of my own eye. You know, that sort of old, old, that old saying, isn't it in there? And it's very true. And I, I think I, I love what you've done. 'cause yes, we can blame the sort of the bigger companies and the corporations, but what you've done is you've gone, yeah, but what can I do? You know, I can sit here and moan about them, but I, and I can also do something. And what you're doing is great. Um, man, listen, I, I feel like we're just getting into the conversation, but, um, it's that point where I have to say to you, how do people reach you? How do they connect with you? If they want to do that, if they want to find out more about green recruitment, if they just want to pick your brains a little bit more about some of the work you're doing abroad or whatever it's going to be, uh, how do people reach you?

Ifran: Sure, people can reach me either via LinkedIn or you can send me an email or you can, you know, call me. [00:46:00] Excuse me. You can call me. I'm very, um, easy to get hold of. But, um, my time is an issue. This is the thing. So, if the mission is serious, I will make time.

Matt: Fantastic, fantastic. We will of course link to your LinkedIn profile and your email in the show notes as well. Um, but yeah, which you can get for free by the way at pushtobemore. com. You can find those on the website. Um, or if you sign up to the newsletter, they will be winging their way into your inbox.

But, um, if I'm just, what a legend. I appreciate what you're doing, man. And I, I love the fact you're. You're not just talking a good game but you're out there making a difference and I, I really appreciate that and um, thank you, thank you for what you're doing. It's been a real pleasure to talk to you today.

Ifran: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure to be here. And, um, yeah, I really enjoyed our discussion.

Matt: Fantastic. [00:47:00] Fantastic. Thank you. And also a big shout out to today's show sponsor, of course, Aurion Media. If you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, and I think it probably is, do connect with them at aurionmedia. com. That's A U R I O N media. com. Come and see what they've got to do.

Now, be sure to follow the push to be more podcast wherever you get your podcasts from, because we've got yet more great conversations lined up. And in case no one has told you yet today, dear listener, you are awesome. Yes, you are. Created awesome. It's just a burden. You have to bear. I've got to bear it, Irfan's got to bear it, you've got to bear it as well.

Now, Push To Be More is produced by aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favourite podcast app. The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson. As I mentioned, the show notes and transcript are available [00:48:00] for free on our website, pushtobemore.

com. So that's it from me. That's it from Irfan. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.