IWD 2021 – Kara Brown, Tiny Changes

Tiny Changes was founded in memory of much loved and respected  musician and artist Scott Hutchison. Best known as vocalist with Frightened Rabbit, and involved in numerous other projects, Scott inspired many people with his music, words and illustrations; the charity takes its name from his lyric in the song Heads Roll Off, “While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to Earth”. His family launched the charity to support initiatives that improve the mental health of children and young people. For our final feature this for International Women’s Day, it’s been a pleasure to speak to the newly appointed CEO of Tiny Changes, Kara Brown…

How are you, where have you been spending lockdown?

I’m ok, but this past month has been tough and sure I’m not the only one feeling like that. I’m based in Edinburgh, Scotland and I feel very grateful to have the sea, hills, forests and rivers on my doorstep. Being outside has made life in a pandemic easier.

Tiny Changes is such an important project, how did you get involved?

I’ve been involved in Tiny Changes for over a year now. I worked with Bon Iver as a charity partner on the Scottish leg of their 2017 tour, met Jaye Hutchison at one of the gigs, and we stayed in touch. She’s great at spotting people’s potential and supporting other women, which is how I first got involved in Tiny Changes. I’m one of so many inspired by Scott Hutchison, his art and music, and his family’s vision to help young minds feel better.

Can you tell us a little about your role as CEO?

As we’re a small team, I do a little bit of everything – from writing our annual budget to chatting with our funded charities about their work. We’re building a community of tiny change makers and trying to raise half a million pounds for young people’s mental health over the next couple of years.

What have been the most satisfying achievements so far for you at Tiny Changes?

The online music festival we ran in lockdown was my 2020 highlight. Tiny Gigs was a huge amount of work and it was also one of the most fun, moving things I’ve ever been part of. We raised over £20,000 for young people’s mental health. It was important to us to have a diverse line up; so many music festivals don’t. We worked with artists from around the world, different ages, genders and music genres and over 70,000 people watched Frank Turner’s closing gig. Tiny Gigs was a rare time of ‘togetherness’ in a difficult and disconnected year.

And what’s the hardest part of your role?

I’d like to show that it’s possible to be just as productive and creative, if not more, in less than five days a week. Being a CEO in four days is hard; I’m challenging the status quo, there’s always more work that can be done, and social media is bubbling away 24/7.

You’re also a part of the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, what does that involve?

I’m one of 17 women appointed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to form an independent Advisory Council to help drive forward action to tackle gender inequality in Scotland. We’ve met a few times a year since 2017, listened to over 1,200 people and organisations, and published three sets of recommendations for the FM. One example of how we’ve influenced change is the Scottish Government’s new Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights Directorate and appointment of Madhu Malhotra as the first ever Director.

Who would you shout out as strong female influences in your life?

The closest strong woman to me is my Mum. I’ve learned so much from her knowledge in art psychotherapy and just the way she is too. My early feminist mentors were Ranjana Kumari, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda and Fatou Baldeh – key figures in the women’s movements in India, Africa and on a global stage. I owe so much to them and they continue to light the way for younger women. They’re worth a Google!

Top: With Fatou | Bottom: With Nyaradzayi

And lastly, what’s the best advice you could give to young girls with business ambitions?

Take your own advice. What would you tell your friends and people you love? The answers you’re looking for are already within you and you know yourself better than anyone.


You can find more about Tiny Changes on their website and follow their socials here: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

The rest of our IWD 2021 series can be viewed here

12th March 2021