Managing Director @ Leaf
1982 karmaJoined Sep 2017Working (6-15 years)St John's Hill, London SW11 2QP, UK



Jamie is Managing Director at Leaf, an independent nonprofit that supports exceptional teenagers to explore how they can best save lives, help others, or change the course of history.

Jamie previously worked as a teacher, as a researcher at the think tank Sentience Institute, and as co-founder and researcher at Animal Advocacy Careers, which helps people to maximise their positive impact for animals.

Give Jamie anonymous advice or feedback here.


Topic Contributions

I’m interested in standards that are motivated by non-monetized social welfare... [e.g.] Fair Trade

I wrote a case study of the Fair Trade movement. The focus was on the movement rather than the standards themselves, but I think it might be helpful for at least some of what you refer to in "What I’m looking for in case studies". You can easily skim through the bolded headings in the "Strategic implications" section and see if any of the points highlighted seem relevant.

If someone else ends up doing a more standards-focused case study, it could be helpful for context.

I’m interested in intense standards for high-stakes applications... [e.g.] nuclear safety standards (e.g., IAEA’s)

Relatedly, my former colleague wrote a case study on the social and regulatory context of nuclear power. The report is quite short, but there's not a single clear section I'd recommend to check for this purpose.

Glad to see this added!

I only skimmed so might have missed it but I didn't see much mention of the use of insects as feed for other factory farmed animals. If I remember correctly from some of RP's reports, this makes up a very large proportion of both current insect farming and expected growth. This seems like an important dynamic, since e.g. the efficacy of the 'ick factor' that this page highlights will presumably be much reduced in that context.

Hi David, the blog sounds cool. I don't follow any personal blogs, but check the EA Forum regularly.

You comment that "most of my readers are effective altruists, often quite engaged ones."

I expect that there are others like me.

Why not just cross-post everything on your blog to the Forum?

Hi! Any update on timeframes for this? E.g. when you'll start, if there's a deadline on expressing interest?

This seems cool and I was about to share the opportunity with a group of ~60 teenagers who went through some online programmes that I organised, but wasn't sure if it was still open?

(Apologies for only seeing this almost a month after you shared it.)


Running in-person programmes like this is time-consuming and expensive. Is it worth it? 

I have two main uncertainties:

  1. Can we get truly exceptional people ‘in the room’?
  2. Can we successfully encourage long-term engagement with the question of how we can do the most good?

We’re making good headway on the first of these. This year, applications have skyrocketed to around 700 so far (up from 174 in 2022), competing for ~50 places. Most of these applications are from people new to Leaf, but we’ll also have some of the most engaged or promising participants from our earlier online programmes attending, plus some returnees from last year. Longer-term, I hope to develop a pipeline of various (online) programmes and competitions all feeding into identifying a truly exceptional cohort for the residentials.

It’s early days to comment on engagement relative to last year, but I’m optimistic about some of the variations we’ll be trying, such as the mentorship programme. Of course, success here depends on building up a great team of staff, speakers, and mentors. Refer back to “Join our team” above!

Thanks very much!

The utilitarianism thing is interesting. I find there's a bit of a difficult balancing act between openly discussing effective altruism as a community, as it currently 'is', vs emphasising how it 'could be' or 'aims to be'. The latter options seem much broader.

E.g. if people have enquired about the connection to utilitarianism, I have sometimes commented how in principle it seems possible to me that you ask how to maximise rights observance, or develop the very best/virtuous character traits you can. But of course, there's relatively little discussion about these topics within the current effective altruism community.

Thanks a lot for doing this! A concrete question I'd be very interested in from these people: "is there anything that you found especially demotivating, difficult, stressful, or off-putting in your early days of engagement with effective altruism?"

  1. Yes? I agree with Shakeel that chatting to orgs already doing adjacent work seems good. But also, I'd encourage you to try setting up some sort of prototype website and reaching out to a small handful of foundations to see what the interest is like. You could either ask them for feedback on the website/plans, or just try to find an initial foundation or two to start work with.

I'd avoid prominent EA branding, jargon etc to minimise downside risk to the community.

  1. Yes? If you have a bit of runway/flexibility, then it might be worth doing some of the above steps first so you have some indication of whether it will work. (Although it can take weeks/months from application to having funding offered/rejected.)

  2. I probably wouldn't work full time on it myself, but would be happy to chat a bit more about it if that seems helpful.

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