Big news from enke CEO, Pip Wheaton

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Dear enke family,

It is with many mixed emotions that I write this letter. I want to let you know that I have put in my resignation as CEO of enke: Make Your Mark.  My last day will be July 31st 2015. I wanted to let you know why I’ve made this decision and what an incredible opportunity it represents for you and for enke.

enke’s come a long way since those first days.  We started in a garage in Durban  – no internet, the occasional snake coming to visit the “office”, just volunteers with a big dream – and, in those first years, had more than one instance of wondering if we were crazy for even trying to make this happen.  But we did it.  And now we’re on track to have our biggest year this year: there are more young people entering the programs than ever before; expanding to Bloemfontein; a bigger, stronger team; more, impactful, youth-led projects are launching and we’re receiving real recognition for the work that we are doing.  We also have big plans for the next phase of our growth.

This is EXACTLY why it’s time for me to leave.  I started enke five and a half years ago (with my two amazing co-founders, Tom and Kat) and I always hoped that there would come a day when enke would be able to survive on its own. In January this year I mapped out our next 3 years and realised that there is a window next year when the organisation has both consolidated its model and is on the cusp of further expansion, which allows for a full handover.  I watched the team and the organisation for 6 months and I realised that they were stronger than they’ve ever been – and that actually, I’m not needed anymore, not in this capacity anyway.  It was an incredibly humbling, difficult, exciting thing to realise.  It’s simultaneously a blow to my pride (perhaps we all secretly want to believe that we’re indispensable), a source of massive joy (the team is so strong they can do this on their own!) and an unleashing of possibility (both for me to go and explore what’s next and for the organisation to have someone with fresh perspective enter this leadership role).

In short, I’m leaving because enke is stronger than it’s ever been and I am so grateful and excited for that.

So, what’s next for enke? We’re going to be looking for a new CEO to lead the organisation. The position description will be posted in September / October and we’ll be asking you to spread the word! We’ll search for as long as it takes to find the right person.  From there, I’ll hand over all of the information, relationships and responsibility to a new person and phase myself out over the remaining period.

The new CEO might be someone you’ve met before (an existing team member, a former volunteer or board member, one of our speakers or panelists), or it might be someone totally new – that decision will be up to our board of directors (with a whole lot of input from the team).  I’ll introduce you to them as soon as I can and if you know of anyone who you would love to suggest, please forward them the application when the time comes.

As I’ve gone through this process, I’ve had a quote from Ruth Reichl that I keep coming back to: “It’s the things that scare you the most that you have to do”.  I’ve been really scared to leave enke – not because I thought the organisation wouldn’t survive without me, but because I didn’t want to let go. And now, over the past 6 months, it’s with true excitement that I have made this decision.

What’s next for me?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Depending on who I’ve been talking to I’ve said maybe I’ll do my MBA somewhere fun, maybe I’ll become a yoga teacher, maybe I’ll move to Melbourne / Madrid / Montreal / Montague.  Or maybe I’ll just stay in Jozi, the city I’ve come to love so much.  Maybe I’ll do all of the above.  I really don’t know and that’s just the point: the closing of this chapter so that a new one can start. What I do know is that enke will always be a part of me and that I hope to be involved in other capacities (in whatever form is needed). For now, the next 12 months is dedicated to finding, installing and supporting the next CEO.

Thank you for your ongoing support to myself, the team, the alumni and enke as an organisation.I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter looks like – for enke, for me, for each of you.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, I am here for another whole year after all!

– Pip


We Did It! | 2014 enke: Crowdfunding Campaigin

we did it

During the early ours of the morning of Saturday 10 May 2014, enke: Make Your Mark  reached its goal amount of $20,000, with just under 60 minutes to spare. Our first ever crowdfunding campaign officially closed sitting on an impressive $20, 321 raised– 102% of our goal amount!

Crowdfunding Final

When we first started all prep work for this crowdfunding  journey, some 2 months prior to the campaign ending, we knew we’d be wading through uncharted waters and would experience some exhilarating moments. We read up countless articles regarding what constituted best practice, consulted individuals who had run a campaign before, as well as studied many successful campaigns to glean any insights as to what made them succeed.

What we know, without a doubt is that the success of the enke crowdfunding campaign would not have been possible without the support of each and every one of our supporters. Their belief in our work – inspiring and supporting young South Africans to take action on the most urgent social issues – was apparent at the number of contributions made and promotion of the campaign performed by our cheerleaders, ambassadors and members of the enke family.

We thank every single person who took this journey with us and ensured we crossed the finish line with style!

Check out our enke: Hall of Fame to see a complete list of the rockstars who contributed to our campaign:

Much love,

– the enke team

“Leading & Learning” | First Rand Foundation Research on enke: Make Your Mark


enke; Make Your Mark was funded as part of the FirstRand Foundation’s Leadership Programme in 2013 as part of the youth leadership stream. The grant was for a research project to explore the effectiveness of enke’s model of youth leadership development: of using youth action to develop critical skills for young people’s success.

FirstRand Foundation Research Report: Leading and Learning – enke Make Your Mark Report

How To Measure Whether You’re Making Your Mark

This article was originally posted on the Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS) “Leading Change” website, here:

Measure success

A long time ago I read somewhere that for $1 you could provide oral rehydration salts that would save a child’s life.  Or maybe it was $5; it’s so long ago now that I don’t remember.*  No matter how faulty my memory is, this statistic has stuck with me the whole way through the journey of setting up enke: Make Your Mark in 2009 to now.  At times it’s been totally paralysing (what if we just stop and give all the money to oral rehydration salt organisations?) but most of the time it’s been my compass, a confronting reminder to hold ourselves accountable to the impact we’re trying to create.

Measuring impact is always hard.  Really hard.  When you’re looking at youth development, as opposed to malaria infections, maths marks or mortality rates, it’s incredibly hard.  One of the biggest challenges at enke was the most fundamental step: determining the number one change we want to create in the lives of the young people we work with.  We don’t simply want to reduce youth unemployment (although it’s an issue we work around and care about deeply, and measure against).  We aren’t actively aiming to increase Matric results (although it’s something we recognise as important for young people we work with).  Our intention isn’t to actively get more young people into and through universities (although, yes, we do consider this when measuring our impact).  So what do we care about?  We care most about young people developing a sense of social responsibility that allows them to contribute positively to society.  We care most about young people being successful by their own definition (whatever that definition may be).  Those things are slippery things to measure.

And so for a while we measured the number of young people trained, like everyone else does.  We measured how many projects were run by the young people we trained, what the impact of these projects was as measured by the number of people they worked with.  We’ve got some pretty impressive stats: over 1000 young people trained in under 5 years; from the 176 we trained in 2012, they started 118 projects that impacted 6490 people in 8 of South Africa’s 9 provinces.  They’re fun numbers to put down on paper,but we wanted to dig deeper.

In January this year, with support from the First Rand Foundation, we completed a 9 month research project that looked at 185 of our alumni (35% of all participants who had completed our high school program, the enke: Trailblazer Program).  You can read the full report here (upload and link).  We were looking at three main things:

  1. Was there a link between starting a project and developing critical attributes such as grit, social awareness, mindset or agency?  Was that link stronger if you completed your project?
  2. What types of support made the most difference for young people trying to set up and run their own projects?
  3. Where were our enke alumni now? Who was in university, employment, training?

Of all of them, the thing that I was most interested in was question #1.  As the self-confessed psychology nerd that I am, I get really excited by the theories behind each of the behavioral traits we looked at (I promise there will be another post JUST on those).  But more importantly, that’s the basis of the change we want to create the most on our programs.  Research suggests that these critical attributes are linked to being successful in your life, in being socially responsible.

We found that there was a link between running a project and stronger grit and mindset scores.  Interestingly, it didn’t get much stronger in participants that had finished projects.  Confusingly, we didn’t see the link we expected for agency or social awareness.

We still need to do a lot more digging to fully understand what these findings mean.  But it’s a fascinating start.  And we’re still going to keep measuring the number of projects started, the percentage of those that get completed, the ripple effect they create.  This is not just an inspiration for other young people but for all of us at enke HQ to know we’re on the right track.

We need to keep looking for the deeper meaning that is way below the surface.  That’s the only way that we can get the full picture of whether what we’re doing is worth the time, effort and money we have invested into it.  That’s the only way we can improve our programs.  In the interim, we take a lot of pride in making this journey with integrity and in the fact that the hundreds of young people we work with each year think it’s worth continuing.

You can help enke reach more young people by donating at their IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign here: before May 9th.

* Regardless of the amount, GiveWell, one of the leaders in measuring effectiveness of any aid or development projects, cautions that most organisations dramatically under-state their cost-effectiveness in their own promo material.  However, this doesn’t change the idea that measuring impact is an important one.

Article written by: Pip Wheaton, CEO of enke: Make Your Mark


2013 enke: Make Your Mark

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87 De Korte Street
Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg


Phone: +27 (0)11 403 1241/3

Fax: +27 (0)86 563 2544


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