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Beislys Leaving Kolkata

My husband Paul and I are the co-founders of The Loyal Workshop. We first came over here in 2010 to learn the language and culture of the Bengali people. Our end purpose was to investigate the possibility of starting a freedom business, that offered alternative employment to women trapped in the sex trade. In May 2014, we founded such a business and named it The Loyal Workshop.

After 10 years based overseas, we are sensing that now is a good time to hand over The Loyal Workshop to the next generation and permanently return to NZ. This is huge news and carries with it a myriad of emotions. Nonetheless, we feel a steady peace that this is a good and
healthy move.

Why are we leaving?

It feels like the right time for us as a family. When we were recently in NZ, our kids (11 and 13) put down roots for the first time. They now feel a deep connection to the land and people of Aotearoa and long to return.

My mental health has been good. However, Paul and I have an
accumulated tiredness from working in an intense and foreign
environment. All human beings have limits. And we sense that we
are reaching ours. Leaving before we hit our limits, allows us to
finish well and come home healthy.  

It also feels like the right time for the business. Covid forced us into a position that we never would have chosen, where the local team ended up running the workshop for 6 months, without any foreigners on the ground. And they nailed it! This is the direction we want to keep heading. Empowering the local team, while the foreigners become more periphery. For that to happen, we feel that we need to get out of the way. Our dream has always been local leadership and local ownership with foreign partnership alongside. Now, more than ever, it feels as though our dreams are almost touching reality.

In May we founded a succession planning team of 9 individuals (4 Indians and 5 Kiwis) who have committed to meeting quarterly for the next 3 years, to help Loyal navigate the changes ahead. Together, we've created a solid succession plan which we feel excited and hopeful about. Our 5 key goals for the next 3 years
are below.

Loyal's 3-year succession goals:

1. Transfer ownership from MPIL (NZ company) to employees.
2. New local General Manager will succeed from Paul and Sarah.  
3. Conduct assessment of systems and leadership structures.
4. Establish new Board of Directors consisting of wise local people.
5. Establish a Loyal trust to help carry out social work activities.

What comes next for Paul and I? We are not sure yet. We will work for Loyal part time for the next few years, as we support the team through this change process. Once international travel has opened up, we will continue to make trips back to check in on our beloved Loyal family.

To all the donors, customers, pray-ers and cheerleaders…It has taken a team of thousands to raise this business and we raise a glass to each and every one of you!