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My story: moving to social value

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by Swati Patel

Discover Swati’s inspiring story, exploring the skills that bridge roles and how one professional's passion is making a positive impact on society.

The transition from bids to social value

My journey from bid management to becoming a social value lead wasn't a hasty decision. Frankly, I never envisioned myself in a role centered around social value before. I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a bid manager, where my main responsibility was crafting compelling responses that told a compelling story. However, during my tenure as a bid manager, the concept of social value seemed distant and disconnected from the rest of the bidding process. At first, I struggled to grasp its true purpose, largely because I lacked a deep understanding of social value and its framework models.

An unexpected fascination

I've always relished a challenge, so I embarked on my own quest for knowledge to gain a better understanding of social value. By participating in events hosted by social value network groups, I found myself engaged in conversations about the profound impact we can make on society. That's when it hit me – social value in the context of tendering is about going beyond the ordinary, about making a positive and lasting impact on local communities and groups.

This newfound perspective led me down a path I never anticipated. My passion for supporting the younger generation, whether through building their confidence, developing their employability skills, or offering invaluable professional guidance, aligned beautifully with my role as Social Value Lead. It became a passion project that resonated deeply with my life goals and purpose.

New skills and personal growth

During this transitional period, I enrolled as a mentee in the FemMentored program, where I had the privilege of learning from an incredible mentor. She encouraged me to identify the transferable skills necessary for a successful transition. 

Here are the skills I recognised as essential:

  • a genuine commitment to adding value to communities
  • exceptional project management abilities
  • a solid understanding of competitive public-sector tendering and the ability to craft winning bid responses
  • experience in implementing best practices in social value
  • strong communication, writing, and presentation skills
  • the knack for influencing and building relationships
  • the ability to collaborate with a diverse range of stakeholders
  • a self-starter mentality with a knack for creative thinking

One aspect of my new role that I've truly embraced is working with data to compile reports that narrate compelling stories about social value.

A year in and beyond

The past year has marked the most significant move in my career. Since joining the team, we've engaged with numerous clients to make a tangible impact on society, creating meaningful outcomes. 

Admittedly, there's still a long road ahead, with many grey areas in procurement that need to be addressed – for instance, clients holding suppliers accountable for delivering on their social value commitments. However, I have complete confidence in the public sector, the collaborating bodies, and in myself to elevate this role even further.

My aspirations

My true passion lies in empowering the younger generation. Every time I visit India, I'm reminded of the countless children who lack access to education. I aspire to bridge that gap by providing free education and affording the younger generation the opportunity to succeed in life. It's an ambitious endeavour, but I firmly believe that every child deserves a bright future and the chance to explore the endless possibilities that await them.

Exciting times ahead

My hope for the future is to become a leading expert in this field and witness social value taking center stage. I take immense pride in being the company's first social value practitioner, which means I can help shape the role and voice my opinions. It's both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, as there's ample room for trial and error. However, it's through these challenges that growth occurs. I relish the autonomy and freedom to take this role to the next level, pondering how TPXimpact can emerge as a leader in this space.

Over the next few years, I aim to lead the social value strategy for TPXimpact, setting an example for those who follow and demonstrating that with patience and perseverance, a career change is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding.

If you're contemplating a change or looking to do things differently, my advice is simple: just go for it. Most of the time, you'll have to figure it out along the way. Embrace growth, accept challenges, and watch yourself evolve into the best version of yourself.

Swati Patel's avatar

Swati Patel

Social Value Lead

Contact Swati

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