Do you ever get the feeling that you wished you could do something else, something completely different? Well that’s exactly what I felt about a year ago. It was all brought to a head by the death of my mum and a feeling that there was more to life than being the Head of Communications in a bank. But to be honest I wasn’t in a position to really articulate what I wanted. And then before I knew it I had to think about it very hard.
That’s where Anne Dargan came in, a woman I met through Women in Business. She became my coach and a good friend. For the first time in many years I actually had the space and time to think about me, my development, what motivated me, what inspired me.
After spending time with Anne I was able to say I want to work for a cause I believe in, somewhere with real values (not just those laminated on a sheet), a job that gives me the chance to experience other cultures and ways of life, something that will totally challenge me and be outside my comfort zone.
Fastforward to the end of October and I’ve just completed my second month as the CEO of Christian Aid Ireland. Let me tell you there are days when my comfort zone is as elusive as work life balance. But you know what, I have never felt so alive or so motivated. So much so that I felt I had to start this blog or I would just burst. I am oozing with new facts and bits of information. Most of my conversations with family and friends now start with ‘Did you know that…..?’
But before I get too carried away with it all, I have to tell you that Christian Aid has the most wonderful supporters. Their dedication, passion and hard work completely overwhelms me. They fundraise, they volunteer in our offices in Belfast and Dublin, they answer phones, do admin, do deliveries, make phone calls, bake and make cups of tea, honestly the list is endless. They do all they can to help and support my team and I in everything we do and we are blessed to have them. I feel that they are very much part of the whole Christian Aid family.
I could go on for hours but I’ll finish by saying that every company I have worked for and consulted for has tried very hard to get all staff to understand and buy in to their corporate vision – all with varying degrees of success. It’s noticeably different working with a charity. At Christian Aid every person is very clear about our vision of eradicating poverty and what’s even more powerful is that every supporter is too. There’s no cynicism or scepticism just a strong, passionate belief that what we are doing is right and that we will make a difference.
After only eight weeks I can confidently say we are making a difference. It’s not easy and some of the things I’ve heard and learnt about are horrendous but I’ve also heard how we’ve helped in these situations and that we are changing things for the better. In less than 2 weeks I head to India with Dean John Mann and his wife Helen and I’ll get to see first hand the work we are doing with our partners there. In the meantime there’s still another Rabies shot to go.