It’s 6:30 in the morning as I look out of the window in my makeshift office. It’s the same room I sat in day after day during the start of the 2020 pandemic, working hard alongside colleagues in Westminster, trying to make sense of the Everyone In directive and ensure people had a place to stay safe. My time at Westminster is well documented, it had highs, it had lows, it had mundane parts too, but I learnt a lot and made some life long friends along the way.
Fast forward to now and I’m approaching two years in the job that changed my perspective on everything, not just professionally but how I interact with the world as a whole. So it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to say goodbye. My family and I have made the decision to move to Australia, the Land Down Under, to start a new life in the busy City of Sydney. My Partner is from Adelaide and when we met nearly eleven years ago she was about to return home, so I’ve been on borrowed time for quite a while now and for a variety of reasons, now felt like the right time.
There are lots of things I am going to miss, too many to list here (and probably not that interesting for you to read…) but leaving my role at Mayday was one of the toughest parts of the decision. I don’t underestimate how lucky I am that the role was developed with me in mind: Director of Change, changing the landscape, changing attitudes, changing systems. An incredibly exciting opportunity to have a real impact in how people going through the toughest of times interact with the services that should be there to walk alongside, listening, responding and focusing on what people can do, not what they can’t. It’s been a challenging couple of years, with lots of change. Mayday’s visionary Chief Executive decided it was time to move on, our inspiring, funny and incredibly supportive Director followed soon after, both of them leaving behind a phenomenal legacy of ideas, change and ambition for how we create a world where systems work for people. We saw almost all of our coaching team change, individuals who never fail to amaze every day, their perspective on life, the way they are able to hold a relationship that can be so fragile and support people to see the best in themselves, whilst vehemently challenging the injustices they see around them, it never ceases to inspire me and keep us all laser focused on our Mission and Vision. In this role I have been able to learn so much about how a charity functions, the highs, the lows, the impact that we should all be having in this sector. No longer were conversations always about what we need to get done, they were so often about what we wanted to achieve, what we believe in and how we will get there. I have been lucky enough to learn alongside some great people, a whole team of dedicated individuals who make finance work, who keep the whole ‘back office’ functioning, those responsible for culture and creativity and those that continually highlight Impact, striving for new ways to show this stuff works. Those that support our messaging and get the word out there. Not to mention a board of trustees that, on an entirely voluntary basis, dedicate days and weeks of their time to make this small charity work. They’ve all been hugely supportive of me and I know it will be the same for whoever takes on this role next.
Mayday Trust is in an incredibly exciting place to work right now, led by a new Chief Executive, a man with so much knowledge and understanding of how charities can and should function it blows me away, he has been extremely supportive of this difficult move and has taught me more than I ever expected in the six months we have worked together. I will be forever grateful for it, but watch this space, it may not be the end – Mayday Australia anyone?
If you’re reading this and thinking, I can do that job, go for it, you won’t regret it. You’ll join an Executive Leadership Team alongside an amazing Director of PTS who has taught me all there is to know about approaching situations with a kind and compassionate outlook and a Finance Director who makes me understand numbers (an achievement not to be overlooked!) Apart from working in the chip shop with my best friend when I was 16 – this is hands down the best job in the world, I’m not crying, you are.
Until next time.
Robert White, Director of Change at Mayday Trust