When Anna McKeon moved to Cambodia from the UK three years ago, her connecting powers multiplied.
“I’ve always been something of a connector, and that’s especially
true in Cambodia,” the nonprofit communications consultant says.
“Working as an expat you quickly become a point of contact for new
people arriving in a country, or for visitors passing through. I enjoy
introducing like-minded people.”
Anna’s also one of those people who’s linked to a variety of groups. A
singer in her spare time, she has contacts in the music industry as
well as at hotels and restaurants. With her job, she’s always in need of
writers and designers, and stays in regular touch with different
nonprofits and social enterprises.
“I enjoy meeting new people and am always happy to take some time out
for a coffee, or send a few emails to introduce people,” she says. “I
also try and be pretty open about my experiences in Asia – I believe in
sharing mistakes I’ve made, so that other people can avoid doing the
For Anna, transparency and a collaborative mindset are two things that make the Idealist Network most appealing.
Living in Phnom Penh, Anna can’t help but want to do more with the
abundant resources around her. The city is home to a number of socially
responsible for-profit initiatives and tech start-ups led by young
Cambodians, for example.
It’s also a hub for large aid organizations as well as smaller
nonprofits. In Anna’s opinion, real change can happen here because there
are so many decision makers in one place.
The challenge? The greatest need isn’t in the city, but in the rural areas where most organizations tend to run their projects.
“This is good and bad—as it’s easier for people to make powerful
connections here, but equally Phnom Penh is not representative of the
majority of Cambodia, nor of the challenges that many people face in
their daily lives,” she says. “However, it’s a very positive, dynamic
place to be”.
With the Idealist Network, Anna hopes to make more connections happen
throughout Cambodia, and has a particular interest in helping to
facilitate responsible volunteerism.
So far she’s exchanged messages with another Team member and is
hoping that when her workload lightens she can devote more time to the
Network. But one of her work projects right now—where she’s connecting
people from faith, travel, education, and corporate communities —is
priming her for the Connector role.
“Neutrality is really about not judging others’ choices, and I think
that is always important! So I’m getting quite a lot of practice,” she