Thank you to staff and trustees across Halifax Opportunities Trust for making me incredibly welcome in my first few weeks with the organization. I started on 21st November (the day of the torrential rains!) and ever since then I’ve had non-stop visits and meetings to get to understand the charity, to meet staff and volunteers, to visit centres, and to meet the local residents that are involved with HOTs services. What an absolutely fantastic organization HOT is and what an asset to the local community! Passion, innovation, friendliness and dedication are displayed everywhere I’ve been over the past few weeks and it is really inspiring.
Over the next few months I shall continue to meet as many staff, volunteers and local people at HOT as I can, to fully understand the organization and to plan my priorities over the short and longer term. I shall be working with staff to sustain current activity, to look for new areas of development and to build new partnerships – all of which are ultimately about making life as good as possible for local people.
And a little bit about my background, so you know who the new CEO of HOT is! I was born in North Yorkshire and grew up mainly in Carlisle. I studied fashion design at college and set up my own fashion business when I graduated. After about six years I got itchy feet so found a job in Lesotho (in Southern Africa) teaching garment design, sewing and basic business skills to women at a vocational college. Two years later I moved to South Africa, just prior to the democratic elections in 1994 where I continued to teach fashion design and where my son was born. Fast forward a few years and I was back in the UK and starting a career in the charitable sector, where I’ve worked ever since. My last role was Chief Executive of Nova in Wakefield, which is a development agency for local charities. I have known about Halifax Opportunities Trust for many years, so when the job of CEO was advertised I jumped at the chance to apply and was delighted to be offered the job!
I look forward to meeting more of you over the next few weeks and to contributing to the continued success of this truly remarkable organization.