Director of Income Generation
Having spent nearly 20 years travelling up and down the country, living out of a suitcase, joining Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice has felt a bit like coming home.
As Sales and Operations Manager for Ryman Stationery, I was on the road all the time, managing up to 35 shops at any one time. I also managed new store openings, store development and led projects to improve operational efficiencies. Prior to that, I worked for Blacks Leisure Group, working my way up from Christmas temp to shop manager and then to area manager. This role also demanded a great deal of travel, even a trip to Antarctica – although that expedition was for charity!
In fact, outside work, I’ve been involved with many charities over the years in lots of different ways, including being a trustee and sitting on management committees. I also volunteer with the Scouts and have been a Scout Leader for many years.
Children, charity and retail – the perfect combo
I finally reached the end of my tether with all the travelling. My son, who’s three, was growing up fast and I was missing out on it. I wanted to be in one place.
Turns out that place was Forget Me Not. When the role of Head of Trading came up, it seemed like the perfect job, combining all my interests and expertise: working for a charity that supports children and families while utilising all my retail know-how. And when I met the trustees, I was blown over by the plans, the ambition and the potential.
When a bad day’s not a bad day
What’s great about being here is that you see the impact of your work, every day. In my former life, when I was having a bad day, it felt like I was generating income for the shareholders and not seeing the benefits. Here, if you’re feeling a bit rubbish, all you need do is go to Russell House and see a child enjoying the toys in the playroom or a mum chilling out with other parents over coffee and you’re reminded exactly how vital your role is.
Building for the future
It’s an exciting time to be at Forget Me Not. The charity wants to support many more children and families across West Yorkshire and North Manchester. To do that, we need to build the retail estate so that it generates the extra, sustainable income that the charity needs in the future. That’s quite a challenge but one I’m fully up for!
Up a mountain
When I’m not at work, you’ll probably need a compass to find me: I’ll be having an adventure in the great outdoors! I might be up a mountain or out on my bike. Or crossing the Himalayas with a bunch of Scouts. So I guess being on the move is pretty well ingrained!