Our director of Community Services, Training and Employment gives us an insight into her career so far and her interest beyond work.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I joined Brighter Futures 18 months ago, but I previously worked in this city a few years ago for the local authority. Because I’m familiar with the surroundings, it’s been easier to hit the ground running. Up to this point, my earlier career has largely been based around Marketing, Communications, Commercial Development and Business Growth.
Give us an overview of your career so far
I have been fortunate enough to develop a wide range of both public and private sector experience. In public, I’ve represented three different councils (Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, and Birmingham). In private, I’ve worked in the leisure industry. Most recently, I held a senior management role at the Peak District National Park before landing the role of Head of Business Growth, Communications and Marketing at Brighter Futures. In December, I moved roles internally, becoming the Director of Community Services, Training and Employment. It’s a completely different challenge than anything I’ve done before.
Describe your current role in Brighter Futures
I’m in charge of eight different operational services in the company. This ranges from mental health crisis support to helping people into employment with Brighter Futures – which includes former volunteers and customers of our services. Day to day, I work closely with the Board of Directors, the Executive Leadership Team and the Chief Executive to help lead and develop Brighter Futures growth ambitions.
How is this different to your previous role in the company?
In my previous role, I focused on income generation, which was directly linked to the development of Brighter Futures services. Now, my role is about the operation management of the services – ensuring we find innovative ways to improve the quality of our customers lives.
Describe an average day for you
Every day I arrive early, and I aim to catch up on my in-tray before the rest of the office becomes alive with people! Usually, I am a part of several meetings, where I always try and focus on positive actions rather than talking too much, and a lot of interaction with staff about operational issues. Because of the large number of staff I am responsible for overseeing, there is a lot of administrative tasks that also come with the role.
What is your favourite part about the job?
I am most enjoying the customer facing part of my role. Not only does this help me build a relationship with the people we work hard to serve, but it also gives us direct feedback to ensure our services remain suitable for the needs of our customers.
How do see yourself expanding your area of Brighter Futures – and what would you like to achieve?
I’d be extremely proud to see other services replicating our work in new geographical areas. But I’d absolutely love to ensure we continue to increase the outcomes for our customers – improving the overall quality of their lives.
On that subject, what’s your greatest achievement to date? Both at Brighter Futures and elsewhere?
At Brighter Futures, it’s been helping to mobilise a nationally recognised service for homelessness: Housing First. We lead this scheme, work closely alongside our partners at Voices, Expert Citizens and Arch to deliver it, and the overall project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. The early indicators suggest this is working well and we’ve already helped seven long-time homeless people into their own accommodation since we started in July. This is an achievement we’re all extremely proud of.
Elsewhere, I’m incredibly proud to have self-funded my MBA away from work.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I Like to walk my dog across my local field, but a big hobby of mine is cooking. I’ve done cookery courses in several cuisines across the world, and love replicating my own travel experiences through food.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where and why?
I’m not bothered which country, but I dream of living by the sea one day. A large lake ideally with a nice view!