We have some extraordinary people working at Projects Abroad, many of which you may find yourself in contact with one day!
Our Community Manager, Caleb Joseph, is someone you'll come to know and love during your journey with us. His passion for communication and your well-being is evident the moment you meet (or e-meet in some cases). Some say it's even greater than his need for coffee - and that's saying a lot!
But it's not all work and no play. Caleb is just as enthusiastic about staying social and building communities outside of work. When he isn't watching cricket with mates, or playing the sax, he's cooking brunch for friends and family. He even treats the office to homemade brownies on staff birthdays. What a treat!
Catch him at the Projects Abroad UK office in Brighton, at one of our many events or contact him on his socials (listed below). Top tip: Don't forget to ask about his ever-growing collection of office plants and succulents - there's enough oxygen at his desk to supply a submarine.
To give you a little insight into his role and what it entails, we joined him for one of his famous coffees and asked him a few frequently asked questions. Take a look:
What does your role as a Community Manager entail?
Someone actually asked me this a few weeks ago. They thought it was someone who built parks and playgrounds to help the community. I had a good chuckle at that comment.
A Community Manager is the bridge between the organisation and the community. In my case, I get to work with and build relationships with our alumni community of 115,000 people. If you leave reviews or need feedback, then you’ll hear from me. My goal is to support you and the rest of our global community.
When I’m not talking someone’s ear off, I get to develop and manage campaigns, and implement perks for our alumni. On top of this, I get to travel to different cities to talk about volunteer opportunities. I also get to dip my toe into branding and content.
One campaign that I’m particularly passionate about, is our tree planting campaign. For every review you leave, we plant a fruit tree or mangrove in one of our destinations. These trees help feed communities and combat your carbon footprint. Exciting, right?
Why did you choose to be a Community Manager for Projects Abroad?
I’ve done many jobs in my time. Everything from a presenter and event manager to a leadership and sales trainer. However, none of them sparked that passion I was looking for. I love working with people, and as a Community Manager, I get to do that and more.
What is the best part of the job so far?
Without sounding too much like a millennial, I’d say it’s knowing I’m working towards making a difference. The best part is being able to see it too! I get sent pictures from our projects all over the world. That never gets old. Our alumni should be proud.
Another great aspect has to be the team. I’m constantly in contact with our staff from around the world. Everyone adopts the “Ask questions and don’t feel bad for interrupting me” culture. They’re always willing to help and even smile in multiple languages while they do it. I’m always surrounded by diverse cultures and backgrounds. It never gets boring. The bonus is that there’s always an international snack lying around in the break room!
To be honest, the biggest challenge is time zones. I get emails and requests from staff and alumni all over the world, each needing different things. As you can imagine, if it’s urgent, then I’m racing against time zones to organise things before they head out for the day.
Apart from that, it’s remembering the size of our 600 staff strong ship when initiating new procedures. I always need to double-check that I've briefed everyone who needs it. Sometimes, I’ll get too excited about sending an email to our country directors and forget the attachment… awkward.
Can you give an example of a story from an alumnus that inspired you?
That’s a hard one! There are so many.
On one hand, there are stories of two volunteers over 50 (who have more energy than our 20-something volunteers!) who have volunteered with us eight times. Ah-may-zing!
On the other hand, I remember two of our alumni who returned home and raised over £25,000 to send to their project. However, I have mad admiration for all our alumni. Anyone willing to give their time and skills to improve communities deserves recognition. Those who put in the work are the ones that inspire others to do the same.
Have you travelled yourself? Where did you go?
I’ve travelled to 13 countries over the years, including Australia and Singapore.
However, my stand out is Sri Lanka. It’s quite literally the pearl in the Indian Ocean, filled with everything that delights the senses. You can’t help but love the country more every time you go!
Being half Sri Lankan, I may be biased too.
If we could send you to one of our projects tomorrow, which one would you choose and why?
Any of our projects in South Africa! Apart from it being a beautiful country, there’s such a great mix of projects and areas that volunteers can help in. Who wouldn’t want to teach kids from the township to surf or build up communities on our International Development Project. There’s more to it than that, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself.
If you would describe our global alumni community in 3 words, which ones would you choose?
Authentic, diverse, expanding.
What can alumni expect from you?
My best! Whether it’s producing content for the alumni pages that you’ll enjoy or implementing rewards for your hard work. I make it my goal to be responsive and answer any questions you have. I’m always up for a chat and love keeping you updated on volunteer achievements. You’re also always the first to know about discounts and job opportunities that open up at Projects Abroad. You’d be surprised at the sheer number of alumni working here already!
Overall, I want to make sure your voice is heard throughout the organisation. You can be assured that I’ll represent you and keep your best interests at heart.
If alumni want to get in touch, how can they reach out to you best?
Smoke signals have been banned and all the messenger birds are being cared for at our Conservation Projects. So, the best way would be via our global alumni Facebook group, my LinkedIn, my email or my Twitter. Alternatively, you can contact Projects Abroad via the website, our Instagram page or Facebook page.