One to Watch: Alan Mak of Magic Breakfast

FUTURE LEADERS AWARDS: In our search for the rising stars of sustainability, Alan Mak, the president of school breakfast club charity Magic Breakfast, wins the Corporate Ace category for his 'outstanding' work in schools.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The term 'high flyer' was surely coined to describe Alan Mak. He is president of school breakfast club charity Magic Breakfast, and is a member of the global advisory board of the sustainability and leadership summit One Young World. Oh - and he holds down a high-pressure job as a corporate lawyer at City firm Clifford Chance. The 28-year-old son of Chinese immigrants could not be a more deserving recipient of this award. 'Alan was inspirational,' says judge Carl Gilleard. Jonathon Porritt concurs: 'He was absolutely outstanding.'

Mak says his interest in being involved with Magic Breakfast came from his childhood experience of going hungry. The charity feeds 6,000 children in 210 schools across the UK every morning and is financed by donations. The charity not only delivers healthy breakfasts, it has also started to offer finance and social enterprise support to its partner schools to create economically viable breakfast clubs.

'Working with children has taught me that my generation has a great responsibility, and a great opportunity to be a good steward of our world, and to pass on a stronger society and a cleaner planet, not just a successful economy,' explains Mak. 'Putting sustainability at the heart of our decision-making, our careers and our lives is the only way to turn that into reality. It's up to us - and I am determined to lead my generation's work.'

His big break came after his state school in York was closed down and he was prompted to apply for a scholarship to the private school over the road. He eventually went on to read law at Cambridge.

Aside from volunteering for Magic Breakfast, Mak also gives some of his time to One Young World, nicknamed the 'junior Davos', which aims to find sustainable solutions to the world's biggest challenges. It is backed by the likes of Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan.

In addition, Mak has co-authored a report by generation Y business leaders called the 'Next Generation Vision for Financial Services', which sets out a 10 to 15-year plan, asking the industry to be 'a part of society not apart from society'.

Mak is also leading the planned rollout of a one-year leadership programme with the Institute of Leadership and Management and TheCityUK that would embed the sustainability ambitions of the report. It is aimed at starting with 400 young managers aged 25 to 35.

Mak knows that business has a huge role in sustainability. Of his impressive and varied workload, he says: 'I really enjoy it. I get a great sense of happiness and satisfaction. I was helped a lot and it's very important for me to give back.' Mak is definitely one to watch.

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