Member Spotlight: Jason Wallis
In this month’s edition of our Member Spotlight, we were able to have a catch-up with Jason Wallis. We spoke to him about his career as well as living and working in Malta.
Grand Central: What do you do for a living?
Jason: I am a co-founder of Namene Solar.We develop solar solutions, focusing on the energy access and productive use sectors in Africa.
Grand Central: On a super busy day, what would you say is your go-to productivity trick?
Jason: Going to the office rooftop. I try to take my calls there rather than at my desk so when I’m at my computer, I’m much more productive. Going to the rooftop helps to break things up a bit.
Grand Central: Great, and what’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
Jason: I was able to go and revisit a family in off-grid Kenya that I had given a solar light to three months prior. The father hugged me and told me how it transformed his family’s life and his daughter’s health.
Grand Central: Amazing.
Jason: One thing I like is knowing the social impact that my job makes.
Grand Central: Nice. And how did you find yourself living and working in Malta?
Jason: So, our company is headquartered in Malta, but I was actually living in Germany before. I just found myself growing bored of the European “big city” life and wanted to move somewhere to improve my work-life balance and to enjoy a nicer climate
Grand Central: Great, and what’s your favourite thing about the island? What do you like to do in your spare time?
Jason: Gozo is one of my favourite places! Everything is greener, the sea, beaches, weather, etc. It’s just the vibe. Like, if Malta is Central London, then Gozo is the suburbs. You feel like you’re on holiday there even though you’re essentially in the same country and less than one hour away!
Grand Central: How did your company end up at Grand Central?
Jason: As a company, we do not have a large team in Malta, and I wanted a flexible co working space in order to have some social interaction, and to have a proper desk as opposed to coffee shop working in a coffee shop. I tried out a couple of the offices before Grand Central, but they didn’t offer the same vibe and flexibility – plus I enjoy being in Valletta as opposed to the other office locations.
Grand Central just seemed like a really good fit, plus it was the rooftop that sold it for me!
Grand Central: I was going to ask what your favourite thing was about the space, but I guess it’s the roof top!
Jason: Definitely, you don’t move to freelance in Malta just to sit inside a room the whole time. It’s so nice being outside with solid WiFi.
Grand Central: Do you have a favourite memory from being Grand Central?
Jason: Nothing immediately springs to mind, I guess barbecues and Ollie (the office dog) trying to catch lizards!
Grand Central: What would you say are the top two reasons you’d recommend Grand Central?
Jason: It’s the feeling of having work colleagues when you don’t actually have work colleagues. It’s the way they’ve re-created an office environment. I think the other reason is the flexibility of Iain. He really is just looking to find a solution to your needs rather than make as much money as possible from you. For example, I quite often forget to check-out of the building and he just does it for me rather than actually charge me for the extra time.
When I’ve had a monthly subscription and he knows that I’m not going to be there, he’ll just cancel the subscription for me, he won’t charge me.
He’s such an ethical businessman, a good human being and a great host. Iain has done such a great job of creating a nice environment and not just thinking of short-term gains. He’s built a really great community.
Grand Central: If there was anything you could change or add to the place, what would it be?
Jason: A hot tub on the rooftop, maybe a jacuzzi or infinity pool!
Grand Central: I like that suggestion. What are your words of advice for anyone wanting to relocate or maybe start their own business?
Jason: Don’t be scared and do it. If you’re going to start a business, be flexible and find a way of living that suits you so that you’re not in the same position, but just in a different country. Don’t leave working 24/7 in the city to do the same thing in Malta. Be flexible.
Grand Central: That’s a really good piece of advice. Thank you for your time!