Executive Director & Two-Wheeled Explorer
What have you been involved in outside of project work? Probably the most exciting thing I’ve done was my four-month sabbatical: I raised over £9,000 for the Hands Up Foundation (who support work in and around Syria) by cycling 3,000km in 30 days through Patagonia. During that time, I also did ice hiking up Huanya Potosi – a 6,088m high mountain in Bolivia, which is higher than Everest basecamp. Going to a surf camp in Chile and Uruguay was also great fun!
More recently, I have seconded to the US, where I am based in San Francisco, and have worked with clients in New York, Boston, Chicago and Toronto. This has been a fantastic opportunity to work abroad while Alpha continues to grow its presence across the continent!
How has Alpha supported you in these initiatives? My sabbatical was fully supported internally; the director team and HR were incredibly understanding and helpful in making it happen. Meanwhile, the wider Alpha team helped contribute to the total amount raised for charity by sponsoring my cycling trip.
The US secondment is part of an incentivised scheme proposed and managed by the Alpha director team. They are very aware of the challenges to move abroad, and try to make the initial transition as smooth as possible. Beyond that, my US colleagues and peers have been tremendously supportive over the course of my secondment, helping me to quickly become part of the team.
Is there anything else you’d love to do during your time at Alpha? Since joining the US team, I’ve helped formalise our CSR business management area. As a result of this, we’ve planned pro-bono projects for some US charities, which can be an incredibly rewarding experience. We’ve had record numbers of US employees volunteer their time to support these initiatives, despite their other client and work commitments, and it had been great to see such levels of engagement across the team.
How would you describe the culture at Alpha? Alpha has an incredibly positive environment – there are many ways to contribute to our growth, and new ideas are always welcomed by the director team. Anyone at any level in Alpha can find an ear to discuss a potential new initiative, which could relate to social activities, to charity work, to our marketing, or to our infrastructure, the list goes on…
There is also a great understanding that people have interests outside of their everyday work, and these are actively encouraged, as shown by our prolific social calendar!
The policy of ‘keeping good people’ resonates in every decision here, which is why there is a great number of employee benefits, including a laptop, phone, and corporate health insurance, as well as the flexibility to cater for employee sabbaticals. The resulting high employee retention rate speaks for itself!