It was about 3 years ago when I sat down with SHA’s fellow co-founder Chris
Owen and Michael Thomas to discuss our values, mission and vision. It took quite some
time to do that and we each worked on it individually on their own word file. Then we
merged all 3 docs into 1 and that became our Northern Star.
Since then there have been so many changes in our organisation including my
two co-founders “leaving” the organisation, new people coming in bringing their passion
and aspirations for what SHA is and what it should be.
Our initial mission was “Our mission is to educate, integrate and find employment
for people who belong to vulnerable groups (refugees, Greek and EU Nationals
long-term unemployed and people with disabilities)”. Our values were honesty,
transparency, respect, work-ethic and frugality.
Since then we got a lot of feedback from our beneficiaries, our team and our
advisors that we had to adjust our goals.

  1. We couldn’t offer our classes to people who were disabled for many reasons
    including that our office space wasn’t accessible, partnering with NPOs that
    focuses on disability was harder than anticipated and worst of all, serving people
    with disabilities isn’t “sexy” enough for us to raise money for that specific class
  2. Refugees are living a very complicated life which doesn’t make it easy for them
    to focus on studying.
  3. Long-term unemployed is a very hard vulnerable group to work with but thanks to
    our advisors and NPO peers we managed to “understand” them better and cater
    to their unique needs.
  4. Our values although seemed like a great idea at the beginning and we really tried
    to live by them it wasn’t always possible to do that. For example, frugality was
    super hard as we had to pay for so many little things that we didn’t anticipate.
    Our value that served us less though was “work-ethic” which essentially meant
    worked till you die. This mindset cause me and some members of the team to
    work for very long hours which had an impact in our personal lives which caused
    our burnouts.
    After almost 3 years of working in the trenches by running 11 cohorts in Athens,
    1 cohort in Heraklion, Crete and supporting fellow NPOs in Barcelona, Zagreb and
    Santiago we took many lessons that will prove valuable in the days coming ahead of us.
    In these challenging times where pandemics and AI are changing work as we know it
    we must also adapt and serve our beneficiaries in the best way possible.

In SHA we are not afraid of change and we’re currently in the midst of a major
pivot our organisation is doing…but more for that in our next blog post. To achieve our
new goals we need to also adjust our “Northern Star” which is our mission, vision and
values. It’s worth mentioning that our vision hasn’t changed a bit as we’re still en route
to “Create a world where solidarity prevails, a world where everyone enjoys equal
opportunities, by having access to quality education and the labour market.
Our “new” mission statement is “to support vulnerable groups, incl.
refugees/migrants/unemployed, in getting access to quality tech education that leads to
employment and a future-proof career”. We have seen first hand the difference a future-proof
career can bring to a beneficiary and his direct family. One major change is that most of our
education programs will be accessible but not necessarily free for our beneficiaries… but more
on that in our next blog post.
Our values have significantly changed while more people have joined our organisation
and brought their own ideas and perspectives although I think they align with our previous ones.
Our new values are:
● Inclusion – We create an environment where everybody is welcomed
● Boldness – We take bold action and calculated risks
● Commitment – We are committed and impact driven
● Community – We put people first
● Efficiency – We do our best to not waste resources
Only thing that’s constant in life is change, which is something that we live by in
Social Hackers Academy. Looking forward to hear your opinions in our social 🙂