Steve Hawe is a leader in the voluntary sector with years of senior-level fundraising, marketing, comms and development experience. He is a former client who over the years has become a valued friend and contact of Louise’s.
All change, even before lockdown
Louise: We most recently worked together a couple of years ago when you were at Beanstalk, the children’s reading charity. Since then, Beanstalk has become a part of the Coram group (and is now Coram Beanstalk) and earlier this year your role (as Director of Sales, Marketing and Impact) was made redundant. You left just before lockdown began. At the time did that feel like a blessing or a curse?
Steve: Everything escalated so quickly I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. Obviously finishing up without a role to go to just as a global pandemic and economic downturn starts is not the ideal time to leave an organisation! However, I had been at Coram Beanstalk for a long time in a number of different roles and had achieved a lot so it seemed like the right time to move onto new opportunities – I needed a change. So, all in all I still feel really positive about leaving when I did. I really admire people who’ve had to work through the crisis though, I can only imagine how stressful that must have been.
What has life been like for you since then? I imagine, after almost nine years in various senior roles at Beanstalk, it must have been nice to chill and have some proper time out? Or perhaps not, since we were all confined to our houses?!
I definitely needed some time out. I had been due to go to Sri Lanka a few days after leaving my job for a much-needed holiday but that obviously fell through. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise though as sadly my stepmother died a week later just as lockdown happened. I was relieved that I was around to be with her and to look after my father afterwards rather than being on the other side of the world as originally planned. With all that going on, I decided I just needed to rest up for a bit and look after my dad and myself, so I spent a couple of months doing just that. As well as applying for jobs when I saw any that were suitable, I had lots of Zooms with friends, watched lots of great boxsets, did online exercise classes as often as I could (thank you Central YMCA!) and generally tried not to worry too much. Easier said than done but the break definitely did me good. I realise I was in a fortunate position to be able to do this though, not everyone would have that luxury. It’s heart-breaking seeing how many people are out of work and struggling at the moment.
I know you’ve been doing lots of online courses and events recently. Any recommendations?
After my bit of a break I wanted to reconnect with the world of work and make sure I was keeping up to date while I continued searching for a new role.
“Luckily, there is a lot of great content available, so it’s been easy to keep busy.”
LinkedIn Learning has some interesting courses (I did one on diversity and inclusion and am planning a few digital marketing ones next), as well as Google Digital Garage. Webinar-wise, Ashby Jenkins Recruitment has been running lots of great webinars about the fundraising landscape and NCVO have had some really interesting ones on the impact on the charity sector and leading organisational change. I’m always keeping an eye out for things that might be interesting!