Find Time to Give

Minister_and_martin_and_me

I’m proud to serve my local theatre group in Derry as a voluntary non-exec director.  I find it satisfying to convert some of my free time to serving the local community that Learning Pool is based in and I live in.  It’s also a lot of fun.  The photo above is of me with the Millennium Forum & Derry Theatre Trust’s wonderful and inspiring Chairman, Martin Bradley, & Ed Vaizey (Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries) – it was taken at the party thrown by the theatre the day after Derry’s success in bidding for UK City of Culture 2013 was announced. 

I only wish I had enough free time to serve as a councillor but my working life is just too demanding right now – maybe later…

So what made me apply in the first place?  My first three years living in Northern Ireland were spent working in one of Belfast’s busy high tech start-ups.  Our customers were based predominantly in the Bay Area & Japan which led to a very long working day – start early to catch Japan before it went offline and stay late to welcome the Californians to their new working day.  By the time the company was sold, I was close to burnout and wanted to be involved in a project that was enjoyable but also included an element of “putting something back”.  I decided to join the theatre board because they were seeking someone with a commercial financial background.  Seven years later I’m still on the board and the benefits I have enjoyed during that time have been many fold:

·         I’ve met lots of interesting new people

·         I’ve been able to satisfy some creative leanings in some small way

·         I’ve helped the theatre flourish by working with the rest of the Board and the executive team to improve governance and financial management – the theatre’s creative direction didn’t need any help as the executive team have always had that side well covered

·         I’ve been able to re-use some specialist experience and that was satisfying

·         I’m proud that Derry is going to be the first UK City of Culture 2013 and glad that our theatre will be a key player in that.

My day job didn’t get any quieter.  Indeed quite the opposite…it got busier.  But I have no regrets about volunteering and figure I must have got better at managing my time.

If you don’t currently put something back, I urge you to have a rethink and consider what you could do for your community, however small.  I promise you it will be fun.

 

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