Jarryd Burns, co-founder of social enterprise Thankyou Group, will leave the business after a decade overseeing finance and operations for the social enterprise.
In a blog post titled “Hanging up my boots”, published on Thursday evening, Burns explained that he’s been on a journey of “self discovery” over the last 12 months and believes now is the right time to move on.
“The journey of self-discovery can be quite confronting, especially when all arrows begin to point in the opposite direction to the way you’re going,” he wrote.
“It can also lead to making some really tough calls, which I’ve had to do.”
Burns co-founded Thankyou Group, a social enterprise that donates 100% of its profits to poverty alleviation, alongside Daniel Flynn and Justine Flynn in 2008.
The business has risen to prominence with its range of water, baby and sanitary products, and claims to have raised over $5.8 million for people in need as of March 2018.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Thankyou co-founder and managing director Daniel Flynn said Burns’ departure will be a “big change” for the business, although his exact leaving date is yet to be decided.
“We never started out thinking we’d end up here,” he says.
“[Jarryd] and I have been talking for quite a long time … he’s got to this cool place where he’s like, ‘it’s been a decade’.
“Even for me, as much as I love everything I do, at some point … we all see this business going beyond us,” Flynn explains.
Burns hasn’t revealed what his plans for the future are, but said family commitments will be his immediate priority.
As part of Thankyou’s leadership team, Burns helped organise campaigns with some of Australia’s largest retailers, including 7-Eleven, Coles and Woolworths during his time at the business.
Flynn says reaching 10 years has been a milestone for Thankyou and the business is now preparing to take its next step, bringing in new talent from around the world to continue its growth story.
“It’s a great time to transition,” he explains.
“Jarryd is leaving Thankyou in safe hands.”
Thankyou has reached a stage where new groups of people are coming into the business, taking on roles that were once solely the responsibility of the founders, Flynn explains.
“There will be days when we’re like, ‘oh man, it’s not how we used to be’, but that’s also part of organisational growth. It’s never going to be how it used to be and that’s important,” he says.
Flynn referenced a quote that he believes is good advice for any business owner or founder moving beyond their business.
“To discover new oceans, you need the courage to lose sight of the shore,” he says.
“[Jarryd] is about to discover new oceans, but he has to lose sight of the shore,” he continues.
“There’s areas where Justine and I used to be hands on, but we’re transitioning that to others, so we’re losing sight of shores we built too.
“It’s about having the courage to do that.”
Thankyou looks to nappy recovery with Kiwi growth
Burns’ departure comes at a time of pressure for Thankyou, as it looks to double its profitability in the 2018-19 financial year after taking a hit on the launch of its nappy range, which happened in 2016.
“Our nappy business has been under a lot of pressure so that’s really hurt our growth numbers,” Flynn says.
“This year we’ll land double the profitability of last year, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The social enterprise has had its fair share of challenges over the years, having ceased production on a range of food products last year.
However, a bright spot has been Thankyou’s burgeoning operation in New Zealand, which Flynn says is bringing in comparable revenue per capita as the Australian business after just 11 weeks of trading.
“We’re pretty shocked by it,” he says.