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Libby McCarthy

Degree:

MBA

Location:

New Zealand

Industry:

Social Impact

Year:

2020-21

By Libby McCarthy

This is what an Oxford epiphany looks like

2020-21 Skoll Scholar, Libby McCarthy, shares how her year at Oxford’s Saïd Business School lead her on a transformational journey from ag-tech to age-tech!

When I set foot in Oxford a year ago, I was asked, “what do you hope to get out of your year?”

My response?

“I hope I end up somewhere I could have never imagined.”

This has proven to be an understatement.

I arrived a builder of agricultural technology and am leaving, (full of zest) to reimagine aged care systems.

If you’re scratching your head as you attempt to connect the dots, I don’t blame you. At first glance, micro-irrigation in Myanmar and aged care in New Zealand couldn’t seem more disconnected. But peeling a layer back, the north star remains the same – to restore dignity and self-determination to those who have been systemically excluded. The tool remains the same as well – business as a means and not an end. In Myanmar, this meant literally providing the physical tools for our customers to maximize their farm’s potential, increase their income and open up life choices. As for aged care, to me, this means building systems in which both people receiving support and those providing it, live with dignity, choice and financial security.

There was no single epiphany this year that led me to cross this chasm from agriculture to aged-care, but rather a constellation of micro-epiphanies. From mentorships, internships, classes, classmates, alum, each Oxford experience has summed up to an experience much greater than the individual parts.

When I think about my journey at Oxford from agriculture to aged care, I’m reminded of our strategy class where we learned that “strategies are both plans for the future and patterns from the past.” This year has been a true gift, giving me the space and tools to identify those patterns and mold them into something emergent and new. I am so grateful to the Skoll Centre for trusting me with this transformational experience and to the incredible Skoll family for their ongoing support.

The journey is just beginning…

This post was originally published on the Skoll Centre Blog.

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