Navigating the perfect storm with a monkey on my back
Posted on January 18, 2014
I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of the 2014 Clore Social Fellows and it really feels like a door has opened to the start of an incredibly special journey. Our first day together was everything I had hoped for when I sat down to my application all those months ago, feeling the energy and passion amongst this amazing group of people.
But there’s a monkey on my back – why did they select me?
I trained as a chartered accountant and followed that by years in the City, ultimately as a business manager for the equity derivatives team at Deutsche Bank. Great fun at the time; very hard work but often left me feeling like a hamster on a wheel! My epiphany moment, so to speak, came after my third child. I knew I wanted to use the business skills I had accumulated but apply them in a totally different way – it was finding out how.
My ever-supportive husband pointed out an advert for trustees for CHILDREN 1ST, one of Scotland’s leading children’s charities. I joined the Board and became Treasurer just before the financial crisis hit the world. I rolled up my sleeves, immersed myself in the finances of the charity and learnt a huge amount. And I began to realise that this is the key – we are all different and we all have different skills to bring. I may not be tackling the immense challenges the sector faces on the “frontline”, but I could harness my experience to help tackle the financial challenges the sector faces.
Then I met Mary Craig, at Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland. Mary’s belief in me reinforced the fact that I really do have skills which could benefit the sector. I thought more seriously about what I could achieve next and where.
The awful, sudden death of my much, much loved fit and healthy mum earlier this year was the final push. It made me realise life really is short, and we should grab every opportunity to do something we really believe in to make a difference.
I knew of the Clore Social Leadership Programme having met Dame Mary Marsh and some Fellows, and found the passion for the programme amongst them really resonated with me. I realised that this was the perfect way to share learning within those all too precious commodities of time, space and funding. This is an opportunity to reflect, research and undertake specific leadership training; all critical to my development.
I can’t believe how lucky I have been; I now need to forge a path through what I believe to be a perfect storm in the sector today. The needs of the most vulnerable are on the increase but the financial crisis is squeezing funding; putting even greater pressure on organisations. I am really excited to discover where, with the help of the Clore Social Leadership Programme, this journey is going to take me next. And I can already feel that monkey loosening its grip.
Stephanie Rose is a 2014 Clore Social Fellow.
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