A Day in the Life of….
Posted on 28 Aug 2018
As our team expands, we would like you to meet more of our team. From Managers to Associates, Volunteers to clients. We thought it would be nice to have an occasional blog post from a member of our Book of You family so you can find out what we do and what Book of You means to each of us.
Today we hear from Sara Burgess, our new Business Development Manager based in Tavistock. Sara will be managing our brand new project in the South West of England, set up with help from Transform Ageing. Being based so far away from our Welsh head office is not without it’s problems, but it’s exciting too. This is what Sara has to say about her time with us so far. The photograph shows Sara and her trainees at Age UK Exeter following our Dementia Friends session. Sara is fourth from the right:
A cat; crunchies and coffee
“Starting a new job is always tricky. It feels like you’ve done the hard bit getting it but then comes the first day you are left wondering what on earth it is you are supposed to be doing, how you are going to do it and if you can do it!! I sat with trepidation on my first day working from home with my cat looking expectantly at me, probably for food more than inspirational work but nevertheless the pressure was on. A strong cup of coffee and a bowl of cat crunchies later (the coffee was for me) though and we were on our way to blazing a trail for Book Of You in the South West.
It feels like that is what I am doing – our USP, stories and memories in perpetuity on an infinite platform is something that is making an impression as I talk to people I know and those I don’t. My explanation was a bit halting to start with – people would ask me what Book Of You actually is and I would think “I have no idea!!” but then each time you explain it and share the idea you add a bit more and find a better way of describing it. And then of course you try to demonstrate it…
This is when you come of course to the final realisation that your iPad really does have a mind of it’s own and it doesn’t love you!! And that other people’s will be the same which is why the support and back up we give is so key to the whole package we offer. It’s not the book that is difficult, it’s the blinking tablet and actually the user (me)! So now I know what I need to give confidence to those who we train and support in getting their thoughts into the cloud. I understand the fear and uncertainty I understand the frustration and finally I understand how blooming easy it is!!! It’s a matter of time, confidence and doing it.
I’m 8 weeks in now and relishing the challenge of getting Book Of You known down here in the South West. In a short space of time I have learned so much; met new people in new contexts and caught up with some old friends and contacts. It’s all about connections at this stage. It’s a huge area to cover but I’m putting it into bite sized chunks (using bars of chocolate as a measure) I see nothing wrong with comfort eating when you’re learning! So far I’ve been working in West Devon and Exeter; started to make some connections in Torbay and I have a fabulous friend in Barnstaple who knows everyone and anyone working with older people! Amongst many other community oriented things they run a pub where once a week they put on lunch for anyone and everyone involved with the older community in the area including individuals themselves with amazing stories to tell. People come in to speak and to learn and to share. I’m going next week. The food is fabulous and the company even more so.
Two weeks in I spent two lovely days in North Wales getting to know how things work. It’s hard to imagine the routine and activity when you are 400 miles away so really great to spend some time with Kathy and Tom and with Danielle, who is an inspiration in delivering the work. I got to stay with my very good friend who now lives up there too. Problem is I feel completely inadequate because they have all been so immersed in it for a long time and it’s all second nature. I’m still learning, including doing my own book. I went to San Francisco as my birthday treat this year (it was a big one) so my own book of you is the story of that. I am learning that I am too impatient and don’t pay proper attention to what I am doing and that my ipad is very sneaky. It’s easy when you’re in the know but getting in the know is the thing! Trouble is its making me hanker after going to San Fran again – I found myself looking at booking.com – is that an unintended consequence of Book of You? Could be expensive! I wonder if I could propose a sales trip…?
I’ve done some training with the Design Council and SocialUp on system change, ageing systems and system design. It’s all a bit mind boggling trying to apply it to a social enterprise really and definitely outside my comfort zone (though not as much as learning to be a driving instructor which is the other thing I am doing in my life) Strangely, and possibly a bit spookily, by the third event I actually began to feel like I knew what I was talking about! More importantly I have met some great people many of whom I did not know. I’m loving the new connections.
There is a great response to the idea of Book of You down here and I keep thinking of the different ways we can get it into people’s thinking. I need to get a bit more organised with it though – my dining room looks like a bomb’s hit it – well a bigger bomb than normal. The cat has found space on the spare dining chair today as the sun has disappeared and she can’t top up her tan. Not helping much with blogging thoughts but nice to have the company. Working alone isn’t easy but I feel connected and I feel very optimistic about our future in the South West.
Time for coffee and munchies I think one of us needs a caffeine fix…”
Business Development Manager South West
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