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Positive Interview Series #6: RAW Workshop

Throughout our lifetimes, we come across all different types of people. From those whose names we may accidentally forget, to those whose names will be ingrained in every single thing we do, along with their impact.

There’s one name in particular that we’ll definitely be remembering. That name is Rick Mower, Managing Director at RAW, a manufacturing and commercial services business making a difference. And all that’s needed to realize this is a quick look at RAW’s impact: 25.000 hours of social impact, 1.500 tonnes of recycled wood and 200.000kgs of carbon taken out of the atmosphere.

“Oh, and by the way, we also run a large project where we help young people overcome challenges and lead them towards a better future” - Rick Mower, Managing Director at RAW.

“By the way”? That doesn’t sound like a “by the way” to us. But as Rick honourably put it himself, “it’s not a numbers game, it’s a human game”.

Rick clearly brings his whole self to work, and has taken life’s curveballs and turned them into an incredibly human and planet focused business. His personal experiences with life’s darker side, and subsequent recovery, plus his unwanted success in his previous corporate career have all taught him that partnership, ripping-up accepted thinking and allyship, are all the keys to success.

Although his journey hasn’t been easy, he made the choice of unleashing the power of his experience in service of the most vulnerable: “I got unwell, all kinds of negative stuff was taking over my life. I left that life, worked hard to recover and then decided to start working for a homeless charity. What struck me pretty quickly is that a charity isn’t always the best way to help people”. Rick is clearly leading by example, and his story of change is one that will continue to inspire many in making a positive impact.

RAW is a reflection of this, truly setting an example for other businesses to start showing up and acting up. And they are doing so in the most humble of ways.

“We’re a social enterprise by status but we never even think of ourselves as that. We think of ourselves as a business that behaves like a business should”

The Positive Compass

At a first glance, Raw Workshop makes high-quality furniture and delivers class-leading commercial services. But when you look closer you will learn that in doing so they are empowering a Regenerative Economy. It’s not just our positive relationship with the Planet which they’re contributing to, but also our relationship with People.

“We employ people that wouldn’t get past the first stages of the interviews”. They hire and change the lives of people with mental health issues, addiction, homelessness, criminal records, adverse childhoods, low self-esteem and refugee background. And the best part is, they are genuinely empowering them in the most profound and honest way possible. “I don’t really care about any of that, what I care about is creating a space for people to be great at what they do”.

He encourages people to become the best version of themselves and believes that anyone with the drive to make a change, will be able to do so.

“When somebody tells you it can’t be done, it’s more a reflection of their limitations, not yours. Fail lots, fail gloriously.”

The Future

Rick pictures a world in 10 years’ time where people are simply “not accepting a dirty beach, not accepting people flying 3 times a year on holiday. Where people think: ‘how can you do that man, it’s crazy’?”

But as he put it himself, “we can’t change the world overnight, but we can make a damn good start. When we imagine what we want the world to look like in 10 years, we need to think about what we can do today, right now. And if we want a regenerative economy to be the norm, our main job is to be the pathfinders. We need to be lighting the fires, letting those who follow us have part of that pathway to a regenerative world hacked out already”.

To do so, we need companies to start acting like RAW, in the interest of the people and the interest of the planet. We need to become those whose names are remembered by the kids of the future.

Just like Rick.

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