How to build a real legacy through your work 

- February 1, 2021 3 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock
We often mistake ‘doing good’ for ‘doing well’. But there’s a key difference. The former is about bringing about positive actions; the latter is about reaping the rewards from your work. Superman does good; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos does well.

But can you do both?

You may think that the options are limited, but as someone in the recruitment game, I guarantee that there are plenty of choices worth exploring.

Pursuing a career path to help people

Careers which help people come in various forms. Roles in healthcare or emergency services are a net-positive, as are careers in social work, or certain aspects of the law. But careers in science and engineering can also have massive benefits to communities at large.

A career in education also has broadly positive results, especially if your career path takes you to adult learning, educating students with disabilities or special needs, students with disadvantages, or in hospitals.

Stella Petrou Concha, co-founder and CEO of Reo Purtell

Considering a career in the charities and not-for-profit (NFP) sector can reap many rewards in terms of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Working for a charity means you can directly interact with those who the charity helps, or you could work at a grassroots level role in fundraising, marketing, or lobbying governments.

Even people who work in IT or administration within an NFP are contributing to what is the greater good, all while earning a liveable wage at the same time. While it may not seem like it, there are numerous options available, and entire jobseeker websites are devoted to the ethical job market.


Leading by example at a corporate level

Within the corporate sector, winning and success are often paramount considerations. We all want to earn a decent living; we want to succeed, we want to support our families and lead full, rich lives. But there’s more to the equation.

The desire to ‘give back’ can take several forms, from fundraising to donating to various charities. But beware of tokenistic gestures towards notable causes or to those which are temporarily high-profile or popular.

This is often seen as little more than a marketing strategy, and can actually do more harm than good to your brand. Embracing positive actions for the greater good is a win, in and of itself.

For your business to enact meaningful change in the world, you need to commit to doing the work, with that commitment being a core element of your company’s values.


Bringing change through action

As the CEO of a recruitment company, I helped create an enterprise founded on elevating human potential and bringing positive change to the lives of others. We want the people we place in roles to experience the best version of themselves, and to make a real impact on the world when they do it.

Ours is a vision to extend the broader community further than its comfort zone.

We’re committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Global Goals, the fourth of which is “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

As a recruiter, I know that having a high school education and an undergraduate degree is essential to be considered for a corporate job.

However, children in remote communities without access to a school are stripped of this opportunity.

With only 24% of children in remote communities of Australia having access to a school that only goes to Year 10, corporate Australia is – to me – duty-bound to act and help bridge this inequity gap.

At reo+purtell, each time we place a candidate, we provide 50 days’ technology education to children in remote Australian communities.

To date, we’ve placed just shy of 18,000 days of education to underprivileged children. We’re aiming for an ultimate goal of 50,000.

We have both the power to shift an entire community and the vision and passion to make an actual difference.

Doing good is good for business

Ours is an interconnected world. Modern communications technology allows people to share experiences (both good and bad) with products and services at a global level.

‘Doing good deeds’ and ‘earning a profit’ are no longer independent causes.

By giving back to the community, actively taking part in philanthropic causes, and providing positive social value, businesses have the power – and responsibility – to make a difference and build brands that make a lasting impact on their communities and the world around them.


  • Stella Petrou Concha is the co-founder and CEO of recruitment business, Reo Purtell.