Friday, 21 September 2018

A decade at Missing People- Cat Cade

After a decade at Missing People, Cat Cade, HR Learning and Development Manager, will be leaving to start a new life in South Africa. Cat has written a blog about her time at Missing People and talks about some of her highlights. 

Butterflies were playing loop de loop as I walked into the Missing People office over 10 years ago. They quietened down as the interview progressed, maybe they knew before I did, that this is where I belonged.

And that is how I have felt for 10 amazing years – I belonged. And not only did I feel I belonged to an incredible organisation who supports people during some of their darkest times; I also belonged to an organisation that does their best to look after their people who are looking after others…it’s an organisation that believes in its mission and knows that the people that work and volunteer are the ones that will help achieve that mission.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

The charity has grown and changed over the years, but somehow, it seems to keep getting better. We try to take as much learning out of each situation, looking at what we do well that we should keep doing, and what could be even better. Having a workplace be open to and keen for feedback is brilliant. It does present challenges too – sometimes we have to challenge each other and ourselves, as well as admit when things don’t go so well. But isn’t that what life should be about – striving to be the best that you can be, in work, at home, with colleagues, with family…and working on it when you know you need to do better. This is one of the reasons I have stayed as long as I have. My job has never stayed the same, it’s grown and developed, just like I have. When I look back at the Cat Cade I was in 2008, I want to hug her to say thank you for applying for this job. The best decision I could have made. And also, wow, you have no idea how much you will change in ten years!                                       
      “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better, and your better is best!”

There have been so many highlights but here are a few that have stood out for me:

      Obviously achieving 18th in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For in 2016 was a massive coup! Especially as it was the first time we had entered. 
I was on holiday when the results came in, but was still waiting up at 1am to hear the results. I was buzzing after that, so didn’t get much sleep (thank goodness I was on holiday so could sleep in the next day!).

Hearing from a number of different candidates who were interviewed but didn’t get the job, that they so enjoyed the interview process and finding out more about the charity, they were impressed and would recommend us to others despite not getting the job! We have done a lot of work on the recruitment process and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. Looking at all the amazing people we have recruited, we are clearly doing a lot of the right things. I know that this will keep being reviewed, to ensure we stay up to date with ideas and new ways of doing things that fit with who we are as a charity. 

Hearing families speak at the Carol Services at St Martin-in-the-Fields has always been so moving. It keeps everyone grounded in why we do what we do. Kevin Gosden’s speech stands out especially, that where there is love, there will always be hope.

The many “cat” idioms and ‘cat’chphrases used due to my name, which often ended with me grinning like a Cheshire cat (ba-dum-ch)!

Working with colleagues across the charity to formulate the values as we have them today was a project of passion for me. Having values that really reflect who we are as an organisation and help everyone understand that easily was so exciting. Seeing the impact they make in big and small ways every day is so rewarding.

Seeing my area of work grow and taking on additional staff has been fantastic, and it’s been so great to be called part of the ‘HR team’ and it actually means more than just me! Working so closely with my colleague as well as the HR Volunteer and our Finance colleague, has been great fun with many good laughs in between all the hard work.

Taking on Learning and Development was a wonderful opportunity for me, and I’ve so enjoyed seeing some of my ideas, thoughts and work come to life.

Working with such brilliant, interesting and hard-working volunteers across the charity has been inspiring. I’ve also been so lucky to have the loveliest people donate their time to support me in my role. If you can, I would encourage everyone to volunteer somewhere, it makes such a difference to the people you volunteer for but also to you. To see the volunteer opportunities at Missing People, click here.

Having a poem I wrote read out at the Edinburgh Carol Service as well as at the Memory Tree for Together to Remember, meant so much to me. You can read it here.

The social gatherings we have had over the years are always such a blast! I loved getting creative and one year I put on a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Richmond Park – there were books hanging from the trees, we had teacups and flower shaped sandwiches – I even had a Mad Hatter’s Hat! Spending time with colleagues outside of the office and having a real laugh and lots of fun is really special.

And on that same note, everyday lunches in the Staff Room
with colleagues – I’ve often had to stop eating as I’m laughing too much; we have the most hilarious and random topics that come up.

Bringing my creative interests into the mix with baking for various functions, being arty and crafty at home to decorate
the various themed parties, practising coaching techniques, writing, taking photos…I feel like I have been able to be more than my job title, which again fits in with the values.

Wow, I really could go on as there have been so many wonderful moments in my time at Missing People. I think the one constant theme throughout, is the people. If you get that right in any organisation, you’re off to the best start. So Missing People is flying forward!
I don’t think I will ever work in another organisation that means as much to me as Missing People has. I’m honoured to have been part of the journey to where it is now, and I will be watching and supporting Missing People from across the world (I’m moving back to South Africa)!

“Because if you've found meaning in your life, you don't want to go back. You want to go forward.” ~ Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

Thank you to everyone at Missing People, old and new, for giving such meaning to my life. I feel so lucky to have made such amazing lifelong friends at the same time. I’m off to new adventures, and ready for whatever comes next with the knowledge that I have been part of something really special and that makes a real difference to so many people.

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