From chief cheerleader to chief executive

From chief cheerleader to chief executive

March 31, 2020

I have been a long-standing advocate and supporter of causes that make a tangible difference to the lives of the most marginalised. I have worked with organisations that enable people to overcome barriers and realise their potential. I’ve named and shamed employers for failing to pay interns; led an industry-wide commission on workplace diversity; argued for a living wage and against zero hours contracts; and mentored young people from under-represented backgrounds.

Through this work, I have interacted with some terrific charities and passionate champions. UpRising is one such organisation that over the last twelve years has transformed the lives of young people. I met UpRisers at our 10th anniversary celebrations in 2018 and presented to the Bedfordshire leadership programme in 2019. I was struck by their hunger and ingenuity. So I was immensely privileged to transition from being chief cheerleader to chief executive twelve months ago.

We know that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, and I have been totally inspired by the young people we work with. 

Every time I was at a Dragon's Den, graduation, or delivery session, I met people who wouldn't have the opportunity if it wasn't for UpRising. I've bumped into UpRisers on trains and in coffee shops, and only last week was contacted by someone who started on our first programme and is now at the top of their game. We are making a lasting impact!

My time as CEO is drawing to a close, but I take a lot away from these twelve months.

I will never forget the UpRiser at our London graduation who said, "I had always thought leadership was what you did for yourself. It's not. Through UpRising I have learned that leadership is about what we can do together and for each other." When I think of the challenges we face as communities and as a country, I am confident that our young people will ensure we come out stronger.

I pay tribute to the team and our volunteers for their commitment, energy and dedication. We are letting nothing get in the way of our determination. We are rising to the challenge set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we will be judged by our “capacity for compassion… and the individual acts of kindness we show one another”. We recognise that UpRising and our young people have a significant part to play now, as well as in rebuilding communities in the future.

We always need financial support, so please donate to our work online at https://uprising.charitycheckout.co.uk/#!/ or by sending a cheque made payable to UpRising Leadership to UpRising, Unit 2.E.03, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA, or by BACS transfer to UpRising Leadership (08-92-99 / 65610532).

I was invested in UpRising before I joined the team, and will continue to watch the organisation thrive in the months and years ahead. While things feel uncertain in these unprecedented times, I know there has never been a greater need to see young people playing their part in transforming the world around them.