Changing sector: From furlough life and Furlonteer to a new job in the charity sector
This week we speak to Stella Norris who, after being furloughed and becoming a Furlonteer, realised her true calling was in the charity sector; here she explains how volunteering helped her switch industries.
I had been working in the arts and culture sector since I graduated in 2011. 9 years later and I, along with millions of others, was furloughed due to the Covid-19 pandemic impacting my industry. I knew I could share my skills remotely and my digital marketing skills are so transferable that supporting charities was a very natural transition. That’s where Furlonteer came in.
I joined Furlonteer after seeing a post on LinkedIn. It was only when co-founder Sam got in touch and was not only asking if I could be their first match but also lead Digital at Furlonteer HQ, that I realised this tiny team of 5 really had a lot of work to do! So I jumped on board, volunteering as the Head of Digital for Furlonteer HQ, and also helping the charity Children of Rwanda with their digital marketing.
Moving from the arts and culture sector to the third sector was pretty seamless for me thanks to Furlonteer. Writing the Furlonteer report and analysing the impact of Covid-19 on the charity sector was fascinating, but it only confirmed that charities need more help than ever and not just this year; the impact of Covid-19 will be prevalent for a long time.
Furlonteer also gave me the opportunity to talk to a career coach, which was so helpful and I'd recommend anyone who is at a transition or change in their career to go for it.
When I saw the role as Digital Content & Engagement Manager available at Ovarian Cancer Action, I read the job description and was so excited. I was literally shouting across the room to my fiancé "oh my gosh, this is it", his response was "well, apply already!".
So I did, and I went through a mixture of interviews including a phone interview, some video calls and I met some of the team in a socially distanced meeting. At every stage, I was so excited (and nervous) because it all just felt like a natural fit and I knew it was where I wanted to be. I will be very honest, when I was offered the role I jumped around my living room for a fair while; my phone even tracked 1km of movement!
I can't believe that one month ago I started my new role at Ovarian Cancer Action. The team are incredible and it feels like I've known them for much longer than a month, they are a family. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good stat, but I was shocked to learn that 90% of women don't know the 4 main symptoms of ovarian cancer. This is just one of the things I'm learning, and my new role is helping to get this information out there.
Sometimes the right things happen at the right time, and it isn't always easy to get there but it's really worth the wait. I needed the right place for me, as much as a company needs the right person for them; everyone I work with will get the best of me and vice versa. Leading Furlonteer as their Head of Digital this year and supporting charities made me realise that this is the sector I belong in.
If you're looking to switch industries and learn new skills, volunteering can really help you stand out from the crowd; sign up today and take the steps to smash your new career.