Working with passionate people definitely makes you passionate!

Working with passionate people definitely makes you passionate!
Like many of us I have always been deeply touched by the tragic disaster events which the media readily present to us.  Upon reflection I rarely thought about the crushing poverty that so many endure in between these major events.
From working at Tearfund I have been faced with the brutal fact that poverty isn't just about these disasters, but sadly is a daily reality for millions of people. People who you never hear about in the news headlines. This, largely, isn't due to a lower death toll but purely because it is a daily reality with no immediate shock factor. Because the poverty of these people is so constant, it is so easy to be lulled into an attitude of inaction. 

Global poverty awareness week is coming up ( I didn't even know that this existed... did you?) and I have decided to join my Tearfund colleagues in a "rice and beans" challenge. It involves eating small portions of rice and beans and drinking only tap water for 5 days. 

Well... that sounds like fun.

I'll let you all know how it goes! :)

I would love for you to sponsor me. Any amount that you can give would be so appreciated.


The Big Hearted FD’s

Since blogging about my mates at the FD Centre last week I’ve been thinking a little more about how important it is to keep the relationships alive, the friendships and to keep dipping into the amazing talent pool that lies there.

One way of keeping current with people is through this blog of course. People can see why I moved on from the FD Centre, how it’s going with my new job at Tear Fund and begin to see beyond ‘the corporate me’ to ‘the other side of me’.

The seeds are sown

So I hope the seeds have been sown, professionally and relationally and I hope and pray those seeds will one day grow into something amazing. A lot of the FD’s I worked with did quite a bit of Pro-bono work, plenty who aren’t Christians like me but who share a desire to use their talent to help others in their circumstances. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for people like that to partner with Tear Fund and I have to say that I can’t wait to see that starting to happen. I think they’d welcome the chance to float some ideas around doing a few hours with Tear Fund. I know they are busy people, but I also know what they are like – big hearted and hugely talented!


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Missing my FD Centre Mates

I so miss my FD Centre team. I loved building the team and I wondered what would happen when I told them that I was going to leave. Usually you tell people you’re leaving and you’re told ‘Oh, that’s interesting, sorry you are off – bye!”

But when I told the team, the response I got really blew me away. I got so many lovely messages, lots of lovely gifts, kind text messages from people I wouldn’t have expected, some people even saying that they’d love to be doing what I was going on to do.

Those things really mean a lot. I had a fantastic leaving do where everybody came from all over the place - it was unbelievable the number of people who came to my leaving do and said such lovely things and gave me two beautiful Swartz crystal champagne glasses, which I just thought was just beautiful.

Bridges I'll never burn

I was so sad to leave them but I just know that I am in the right place now at Tear Fund. I just know it. But I have a hope that I can find a new connection with all those great people. I don’t know how yet, but I know that I want to strengthen the bridge between my new life and my old colleagues. There’s still business to be done.


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How I came to tear Fund

As I was saying in last week's post...

“Ten minutes later I got an email from a Christian friend of mine asking if I knew of anyone who would be interested in being the Finance Director at Tear Fund.”

Something life changing

So I felt that the Lord was listening. But it was a very different salary grade, based in London, working for a charity: none of which ticked my boxes. Except one. The one that read: ‘I want to do be doing something useful – something that’s life changing for me and others'. So I thought I really can’t ignore this but I don’t really want to do it. I thought I was probably being nudged in that direction but I really wasn’t switched on to it. So I pretty much kept it to myself. I didn’t ask any of my friends their view and I didn’t ask any of my friends for prayer.

Be yourself

But then I spoke a little to a friend just before my initial interview and he came up with the wisest words I have ever heard. I’d said to him that I wasn’t suitable for it; too extrovert, too commercial, too sceptical of charities and that it didn’t suit my personality. He just said “Be yourself. Whatever you do at the interview just be true to yourself. If you are right for the role you’ll get it and they will know what they are getting. If you’re not right that’s fine.

Blown away

So I went along for an open chat the executive team and was totally blown away. It was just amazing - the most transformational half hour of my life. One of the team said to me “I want to change the face of charities and I think you’re the person to do that with me”. Wow!

I finally got the phone call one evening officially offering me the post and asking if I wanted a few days to consider it. Consider it? No – I accepted right then and there! How life can change.


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On a Mission

Radical change

So the other day a friend asks me: ‘Are you a missionary now then?” I nearly died. But I get the point. Being part of Tear Fund is radically different to anything I have done before in the professional field. Quite a few friends and colleagues are asking me why I made such a life change and I do want people to understand why I took the leap.

Why Tear Fund?

I joined Tear Fund because they have fantastic values and I just have to be part of that vision. No I’m not a missionary but yes, I am on a mission. A mission to transform Tear Fund Finance, I.T and Craft to a point where we are best in class. I want us to be the best because I know there’s room for people to be even more fulfilled than they ever have been are and more motivated than ever before.

Long term hunger

Long term I have a hunger to see the corporate world to become more involved in Third World issues. To that end I see myself as being a link between Tear Fund and the corporate sector. I’m not sure yet how I am going to do it but that’s my mission. Watch this space.#

Next week

But before I go here’s a preview of next week’s blog about ‘How I came to Tear Fund’:

“I was working for the FD Centre for 7 years and absolutely loving it but feeling that, for some reason I was working very hard for someone else’s agenda. It came to a point where I had to decide if I wanted to become a shareholder in a purely corporate vision or share in a humanitarian vision. Then, when we were on holiday I prayed with Pete, my husband, about my career because I was just thinking that it might be time for something new. Ten minutes later I got an email from a Christian friend of mine asking if I knew of anyone who would be interested in being the Finance Director at Tear Fund. I thought you have got to be joking!”


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Faith Versus Religion

Freedom of expression

Yes okay, I did blog on about my faith a bit over the last week or two, so I thought I’d kick off this week by assuring you that I’m not religious – at all!

Even back at the FD Centre, where I had such a great time with such great people, I was always pretty open about the fact I have a faith. So they know I’m the same old Alison, it’s just that I can express myself more openly in Tear Fund because of its own Christian ethos.

I’m not sure that everybody knows I have got a faith, I’m not frightened to hide it and I’m not ashamed of it, so I am quite happy to talk as much as I want about it. I was quite surprised when two people I had interviewed and taken on board at the FD Centre, subsequently mentioned that they also had a faith. I couldn’t understand why that hadn’t told me at the interview stage, what’s there to be ashamed of? But I appreciate that mixing work and faith can be difficult for some, especially some employers.

Am I a religious nutcase? Nutcase - Yes. Religious – No, and if you want to talk about the difference between being religious and being faithful – post me!


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People Value

Who we are and what we do

I’m not sure I’ve worked in an organisation where ‘who you are as a person’ seems pretty much as important as ‘what you do as an employee’. But just a few hours into my first day with Tear Fund I found myself embracing that culture by explaining who I was, not just once but three times, to my three teams.

I called each team together and basically said who I am, what my style is, why I’m at Tear Fund, what my faith is and what’s important to me. So I showed them a photograph of Peter and told them I have been happily married to him for 27 years. Then I talked about my great kids before letting on that I’m from the North of England, so I tend to be a bit blunt, noisy, spend a lot of my day laughing. I even told them that I have been a Christian for 18 years, that my God is a God of love and so my philosophy also is love powered.

Tear Fund Finance Team

Then I talked about how much I want the Tear Fund Finance Team to be seen first internally as the best finance department that exists, and that then I want us to be recognised externally as the best finance department that exists in the Charity sector.

Everyone spoke a bit about who they were and we learned so much about what makes us tick as people. I even prayed at the end of it, which I had never done before. For me that’s just wonderful.


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