CEO Roundup: Twilight Zone
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, reflects on her first full week as CEO and updates us on what’s been happening at the Home.
Monday 13th April
This would normally be a Monday that I take to be with my family and so seeking a little normality during this crisis that’s exactly what I’ve chosen to do today. However normal would have involved a day out somewhere but sadly not this year. Easter represents a time in my family of spring, hope, re-birth and joy. It’s painful not being with my wider family but being able to do some fun Easter activities with our daughter keeps my husband and I appeased. The Easter bunny visit yesterday has captured the imagination of my daughter and so everything is about bunnies, eggs and another hunt around the garden. To see such pure and basic joy in her reminds me to slow down, smile into the sunshine that’s begun to appear this weekend and be grateful that we have what we have during this crisis. The reality is I’m constantly worried about the Home but knowing our team are doing such an amazing job of keeping our dogs and cats safe and well is something to hold onto. That and the last of the spring evening sunshine on my face.
Tuesday 14th April
It’s a week later from when I found out that I’m now the Home’s CEO but today it hits me that this is my first full week-its an exciting thought but I’m ever aware of the challenge that lies ahead. In my early years in the Home I spent much time hunting down stories, history and memories about the Home and the challenges it has overcome. Thinking back to it surviving through war time rations, a move of site, recessions and legislations that change the running of rehoming centers the Home has overcoming battles and challenges woven into its DNA. This is a new challenge and a new threat and one that perhaps the leaders before me wouldn’t have anticipated in the Home’s future. But here I am the CEO in the Home’s fight of its life and I’m ready to do as many rounds as it takes to keep the Home at the heart of the community, where it should be.
Wednesday 15th April
A few days off and I’m catapulted into a frenetic week of planning and forecasting ahead of where we are and into the future. But first off, it’s the weekly team catch up and technology isn’t our friend this week. While we’ve all become a dab hand at this new virtual working it has its downsides-namely the technology deciding to play games on you. Eventually the ghost in the machine aka the echo of my voice was fixed, and we got back to catching up on all the hard work happening behind the scenes to keep the Home running. I was pleased to be able to update the team that our fantastic vet partners Braids and Abercorn have been able to still take some of our dogs and cats in for priority treatment which has allowed us to keep things flowing behind the scenes. Equally our very own vet Bridget has been working hard to still run our weekly vet clinics, just with some social distancing measures introduced. I know we continue, even during a crisis, to go above and beyond for our dogs and cats. A fact that during this crisis makes me incredibly proud.
Thursday 16th April
I’m one person but I’m made up of component parts-I’m a CEO, I’m a working mum and I’m a person caught up in a crisis that has changed how society operates and interacts. It’s hard in this situation to pick up one part and then move to the next when they are all intertwined to make up who I am. Working from home, leading this amazing organisation, while trying to support my family through this crisis is a tall ask at times especially when there is no understanding from a two year old why I would be at home on the phone and not able to play pirates or pretend to be a T-Rex at any moment of the day. The act of juggling phone calls, organisational decisions and a little person’s snack time creates a sense of twilight zone for me. After a slither of patience shown by my daughter to finish off my phone calls, we’re off for our one allocated walk of the day, to run off that energy and explore the neighborhood (again). My world suddenly feels very small but we’re doing our bit knowing we’re working towards a new normal. Something I look forward to.
Friday 17th April
And like that its suddenly Friday and the week is over in a flash of phone calls, planning documents, balance spreadsheets and colouring books. I’m so proud of the Senior Management Team that I have, they have more than risen to this challenge and have shown such passion, poise and grace in the face of this crisis I’m blown away. It’s nothing more than a CEO could ask for. Today is a virtual organisational team catch up and after some updates and news I get onto the important business of telling them about the virtual living wage 1st birthday party that we are planning for them. This should have been held on site, but plans are afoot for a virtual version and that gets everyone chatting about outfits, quiz’s and the best day of the week for it to be held. That’s the sort of buzz on a Friday you want to create with how hard they are all working. Thankfully there’s no need to throw any extra support or love at our animals since the dogs and cats in our care are reaping the benefit of all the peace, quiet and staff time they are getting. Some are even getting trips home with the team for sleepovers to help with their training, a fun weekend ahead for some I’m sure! I finish this week feeling very determined and boosted by the work that continues. Tune in next week to see what else we’re doing as part of fighting the good fight!