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CEO Roundup: Celebrations and Difficult Conversations

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, updates us on the challenges faced this week, but also shares the joy of being able to have a virtual celebration with the team.

 

Monday 27th April

It’s the last week of April and we’ve been in lockdown now for more than a month, I can hardly believe either fact to be true. I’m amazed at the ability of so many I know both at work and in my personal life who have adapted to this new strange reality. However, while I know we are all making do with what we can I can see that grind at times taking its toll. Its hard for it not to when so many things are uncertain and so much seems out of our control.

Stories of hope and inspiration are how I plug those moments of worry and concern, looking for how someone showed a small moment of human kindness. To remember that the world that we want back still exists just in a more confined and separate way for the time being.

I spend my days talking with people, trying to bolster those struggling and celebrating with those who have had breakthrough moments. But so much time in between is me as a new CEO trying to plan and think ahead to ensure that I don’t lose sight of the horizon that the Home must keep moving towards.

 

Tuesday 28th April

So, while I feel my daughter has been remarkable throughout this lockdown, I have begun to see the effect of this on her these past few days. It’s heartbreaking knowing I am having to make choices not to spend time with her when she so desperately needs and wants that. I think it’s the compromise and guilt that any parent working during lockdown must be facing and so today I dedicate the day to entirely what she would like to do so that she knows it’s not going to be windows of time that she gets from me.

On the other hand, the only members of this family who seem perfectly contented with us all being cramped at home is our two rescue cats. While they’re not pleased to be in such close proximity to such a small person who delights in wanting to cuddle them, they are pleased to get extra cuddle time with my husband and I. Something positive for them is at least coming from all this being at home time.

 

Wednesday 29th April

A day of zoom calls, a statement I’m sure many working during lockdown will be familiar with. A combination of uplifting calls about what the team are busy working on and reminiscing on their positive highlights from the week before. This brings out quite a few laughs amongst the team and I have to say it was needed. You can see that having that moment to chuckle helps people lighten the burden we’re all carrying to make sure the Home gets through this.

My proceeding calls are on more challenging topics with some of the trustees, focused on our financial concerns and how we can keep the Home going both through the immediate months ahead and beyond. Our community of supporters have been so generous, but the financial situation is unsettling and it’s a conversation we’re having on a daily basis in the Home’s SMT. This is not a unique CEO challenge for the Home, and I know so many others share my concerns in other organisations the length and breadth of the UK.

 

Thursday 30th April

A morning spent with my fantastic SMT and these directors embody female power at its finest. Lots of hard work, tenacity and a little humility thrown in there for good measure. We’re not discussing light topics again-namely the outcomes from financial meetings with trustees and reviewing the organisations risk register again. This kind of strategic conversations always pushes you to think outside of your comfort zone but that’s where I need to be to keep light on my feet and keep that long-term survival goal being pushed forward.

The afternoon turns to lighter things including a radio interview with Capital Radio on their drive time show talking about our fantastic virtual dog and cat competition. It’s a relief and pleasure to be talking about such lovely things on behalf of the Home, celebrating the hard work and creativity of the team who have worked so hard to pull this together.

Tonight, is our living wage virtual 1st birthday party because we can’t hold the planned one as we intended to in person. We’ll make up for it later in the year when we can. With an ice cream in hand I settle down for a laugh and a pub quiz which I fail at miserably! Its so lovely just to chat and connect with those on the team who can be there. An evening well spent.

 

Friday 1st May

Well we’ve reached May and ending lockdown doesn’t feel too close based on the First Ministers briefing. But I’m not letting that slow me down this morning as I churn out board papers while pretending to apply imaginary plasters to ‘baby’ who has fallen over. My daughter’s ‘they have a boo-boo’ phase is keeping me entertained as it’s so beautiful to watch her genuine raw compassion come through for ‘baby’ who she dropped in the first place!

This afternoon is spent on webinar’s and special video projects we’ve all been tasked with…I couldn’t possibly share and ruin the surprise, so you’ll just have to watch out on our social channels for the fun to come.

Bringing that balance of joy, laughter and serious sobering thinking is the only way to retain some semblance of balance while leading a charity in crisis because of a crisis. The burning passion to do more for our animals and our team propels me to get out of bed and face the day-lockdown and two-year-old tantrums and all. Tune in next week to find out more about the inner workings of a CEO and parenting lockdown journey.

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine

CEO

Lindsay is CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, having previously held the role of Director of Operations and Deputy to the CEO. She has extensive past experience in the humanitarian and animal welfare sectors, working across security, international disaster management and operations.

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