5 Things We Learned at Last Night’s Event

Thanks to everyone who emailed me with feedback about last night’s event – glad it was inspiring! As I’ve mentioned, we’re moving into a new phase of events with Escape the City, and we’re very open to ideas and feedback on what you’d like to see (adele@escapethecity.org). For those who couldn’t make it, I’m still editing the videos from last night, but as soon as they’re done, you’ll know about it either through our Facebook page or this blog. 

One of my favourite moments was when one of you asked the speakers about the moment they snapped, and just had to escape? Mathew Powell shared this moment, when he was driving along and heard a Christmas song on the radio:

The speakers last night:

  • Matthew Powell spent 8 years as a corporate lawyer before escaping to work at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
  • Ted Truscott was an equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch before escaping to work for Qubit, a tech startup.
  • Natasha Malpani worked for a hedge fund before escaping to work at Big Society Capital.
  • Martin Underwood was a criminal barrister who then completed On Purpose (a social enterprise leadership training program) and is now working in education and technology.

What we learned:

1. The best way to transition into a new industry is to build up experience and contacts in that industry, while you’re still in your current job.

2. Start with a blog and Twitter profile, knowing that people are going to look you up online – if you can demonstrate that you’re passionate about the subject through having writing online and intelligent opinions on in the industry, you’re more likely to engage people in meaningful conversations.

3. There is no timeframe on how long it takes to find what you’re interested in. It can take weeks, months, or years. So balancing it financially sometimes means taking on a part-time job, or reducing expenses as much as possible, while you’re finding your escape. Be patient.

4. If transitioning from corporate to charity, be prepared to argue your case as to why you’re voluntarily taking a pay cut and why you’re going to stick at the role. (If transitioning into social investment or other impact investment jobs, you won’t necessarily have to take a pay cut.)

5. Follow people who have made a similar leap to you and ask them how they did it – through Linkedin, Escape the City, or through personal networks.

Social investment links from Natasha:







Also one of the first places I would direct people interested in the social investment/enterprise space is these think tanks that do great reports/newsletters:

Young Foundation

Need a place to work?

This event was kindly hosted by Adam Street Club, who would like to invite all Esc members to check out both their full and evening membership options at the club. Adam Street is hidden in 18th century vaults under the Strand and is a private members’ club aimed at both entrepreneurs and freelancers as a central base for work and play, members can relax, work, hangout, entertain, hide, impress, eat great food and drink excellent wine and cocktails, surrounded by like-minded souls. If you would like to know more about membership, please email Ellie, the Membership Manager, at ellie@adamstreet.co.uk.

Escape the City resources:



  • Sandbox
  • General Assembly – campus for technology, business, and design. Our long-form courses allow for a more comprehensive understanding of a topic, from web development and product design to marketing and business development.
  • Silicon Drinkabout – a regular after work drinks for startups every Friday ’round the Silicon Roundabout
  • Impact Generation


  • http://www.designedbyjoseph.com Joe

    I just wanted to express how excellent last night’s event was. My partner and took a lot from the evening in general and the speakers were very honest, knowledgeable and it was brilliant being in a room with everyone feeling the same.
    A number of points struck a chord with me, in particular looking out the window in my current role thinking “there must be more to life than this” which I do daily/hourly and the feeling of dread on a Sunday knowing that I’m returning to another soul-less week in a job that I couldn’t care less about with people that I despise.
    I still don’t know what I really want to do, but last night has given my partner and I the drive/courage to realise that the higher we climb the corporate ladder the more we hate it and to start to talk frankly about what we want to do and the sacrifices we are going to have to make to our lifestyles to facilitate this transition.

    • Adele

      Joe, thanks so much for this. As I mentioned last night, we’re in the middle of re-evaluating how we run events, so it means a lot to know that this week’s gathering was helpful. I promise that we’re working on ways to make events even more useful, so that you and your partner don’t just get the inspiration, but also a map for action, away from the “there must be more to life than this” feeling! Any ideas you guys have, just email me on adele @ escapethecity.org. See you at future events.

  • Paul Pizzala

    Hello All,

    Last night’s event generated a great buzz, and was just really very positive to be with like-minded people; it’s good to be “in with the in-crowd” making dreams a reality ….. especially when there’s living proof. Lots of really good tips about building a profile and showing not only passion, but hands on experience before taking the leap.

    Personally, I am looking for a career “swerve” from investment management into sustainable investment management. I’ve enjoyed my career to date, plenty of ups and downs and see the combination as being a real force for change.

    Any ideas, help, contacts & suggestions welcome!

    Good Luck!


    • Adele

      Hey Paul, yes, PLENTY of living proof! Have you heard about Impact Generation? I mentioned them last night – http://www.impact-generation.com/ — another network to check out is Net Impact – london.netimpact.org.uk — and also see Volans – http://www.volans.com/

      Hope that helps and to see you at future Esc events.