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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Tear Fund: Day One

The warmest welcome

Let me tell you about the first time I walked into Tear Fund to start work there.

The few weeks before I started at Tear Fund was a very, very relaxed period of my life, the most relaxed I’ve had in I don’t know how long. But it meant I had a bit too long to worry about starting there. You know what it’s like, starting anywhere is always a bit nerve wracking and I’m no different.

So anyway I finally walked through the door, having had my nails done, having had my hair done, feeling quite good, and I walked in through the door – a bit early inevitably and the maintenance man looked up and said “Hello Alison, I’m Andrew welcome to Tear Fund”. I thought ‘Wow, this is amazing, how come he knows who I am?’ I was blown away and felt like a million dollars, but I just smiled politely. Then he showed me to my new home where it said: ‘Alison Hopkinson, Finance Director, Tear Fund’. Fantastic.

Maintenance warriors

The Maintenance team are very important at Tear Fund as it turns out. They are the prayer warriors! He showed me up to my office and there was a bunch of flowers on the desk. My team had bought me a bunch and one of the guys was there saying welcome. So I just felt really, really important, really loved and it was great. Then a little while later I found myself making a speech - Tune in next week for that!


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