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CEO Roundup: Time for Swimming, Not Sinking

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, looks back on an incredibly challenging week that includes important discussions with the board. 


Monday 18th May

I must admit this is the first Monday I’ve woken up and truly struggled with the reality of working in lockdown. I’ve managed to compartmentalise as much as possible and just got on with the task in hand propelling myself forward fuelled either by what the team at the Home need or the support and attention that my daughter and family need. A power talk with my husband on finding a way through is what I need, and I get myself sorted with some fresh air in the garden and a cuppa.

The meetings I go into help me get my mojo back and I’m soon winging my way through the next few weeks (in my head of course) and what’s going to come next for myself and the team. It was a week ago today that I had to have a difficult team meeting where I wanted to be honest and transparent about the financial crisis that the Home is facing. I know it creates uncertainty where my wonderful team already have worries but I want to stick to being the leader I’ve always been and that’s being true to me. Everything I do involves thinking about our animals, our team and what the Home needs to get through these difficult months but I realise I can’t offer them the stability they are all desperately craving.


Tuesday 19th May

A ‘normal’ day with my daughter is what I need and I have vowed to avoid technology where I can and not be part mummy part phone which is the usual terminator set up of the rest of the week. We have some relaxing time together making up stories and discovering the movie Moana. With some bopping along to the sound track I’ve switched over to forgetting about the worries that hang around my laptop and phone and just be silly.

We spend the afternoon converting our bed into a trampoline/mini assault course which involves a work-out for me also. Listening to her chuckle her wee lungs out and build up to become what I would call a ‘sweaty betty’ from all the jumping it’s been a good day of just being one part of my life. Tomorrow however is another day!


Wednesday 20th May

I’m finding as I settle into my role as CEO things don’t become calmer but more demanding and I suppose I need to take that as a sign that I’m generating the workload and energy that my job demands. However, juggling endless meetings with a toddler is never far from my mind and so I run from meeting to meeting today trying to give my daughter quality moments of my time. She’s good as gold today and doesn’t break into any meetings too often! My day rotates from trustee conversation and engagement to talking with the team. I’m also on a webinar prep call as a co host for the Association for Dog and Cat Homes (ADCH) on the topic of preparing for recovery and building resilience. Its lovely to see the ADCH team and get ourselves set up and ready for the presentation tomorrow. Much of the content harks back to my days in disaster response but this crisis is a whole other level of difference for me personally as this is happening to me and on my very doorstep.


Thursday 21st May

So, after getting my daughter ready for the day, which is not quite as warm and sunny as yesterday, I’m flying through emails and getting myself ready to co host this webinar. There’s good attendance and great questions and clearly a need for us to work on some more practical support and guidance for animal welfare center’s out there being ravaged by this crisis. All part of the plan for our follow up webinar.

After the usual eating at the speed of light and a little bit of play with my daughter in her magically creative make believe world I’m onto a virtual meeting for our volunteers providing them with information on how the organisation is doing and talking through ways they can continue to support us. So many have been so encouraging and supportive of the Home. Going straight from that into an SMT meeting doing last preparations with the team on the board meeting tomorrow.

This feels like the longest and shortest of weeks with how much ground I have covered but also how much energy it has taken to sustain this level of technology. Pre crisis Lindsay would never have believed me!


Friday 22nd May

Its board day today and so much work has gone into preparing for this with papers and reports that I’m keen to get in there and hear their views. While I’ve spoken with them all we have a new trustee joining today and so I spend some time on the phone with him trying to shed light on the most critical challenges facing the Home.

It’s hard to believe that this is all happening in my first 100 days of being a CEO and nonetheless it’s the situation I’m in and there’s only time to swim and not sink! I’ve had to resort to extreme measures to avoid being interrupted by my daughter during such an important meeting so I’ve set myself up in the car….yes you read that right. I create a comfy nook for myself with iPad for zoom, laptop for agenda and papers and of course the trusty cup holders contain the caffeine and water required for such a meeting. I’m set to go and I’m off!

It’s blowing a gale today and I’m trying to work out creatively how am I going to burn the energy off that my daughter has if she doesn’t want to face the wind (I don’t blame her). So, I’m finishing up bits and pieces for the week and perhaps the building of a secret fort is in order. A weekend of therapeutic gardening lies ahead and of course the natural thought of what next week holds. Tune in next week to find out what our plans are for planning partial opening and how we continue to support the animals and team affected by this crisis.

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine


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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