What does being a CEO at DrugFAM involve, and what skills can you develop at University and beyond to create a career in this field? Let Bucks Alumni Sarah explain….
Sarah is responsible for creating, planning and leading the delivery of DrugFAM’s ambition; to ensure that every family struggling with the nightmare of addiction to drugs or alcohol gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.
The role of CEO is an exciting and challenging role which finds Sarah supporting the delivery of DrugFAM’s three strategic aims locally and nationally.
1) Support to families, friends or carers affected by someone’s addiction to drugs and alcohol
2) Support to a families, friends or carers bereaved by someone’s addiction to drugs and alcohol
3) Education and awareness-raising on the impact of someone’s addiction on communities, families, friends or carers.
Sarah is directly answerable to the DrugFAM Board of Directors and is responsible for the day to day running of the charity. Sarah is responsible for communicating and implementing DrugFAM’s vision, mission and overall direction.
She is accountable for leading a team of staff and volunteers and formulating and implementing the strategic plan and evaluating the success of DrugFAM.
Sarah promotes the charity through stakeholder engagement and provides evidence for local commissioning processes, manages the financial and physical resources for DrugFAM and recommends the yearly budget for Board approval. Sarah also identifies and plans the implementation of the fundraising strategy, completing grant applications to support the long term financial stability of the organization. Sarah oversees the marketing and promotion of the services and ensures the services are positively represented to the board, stakeholders and local community.
Sarah also dedicates her time to highlighting the devastating impact drug and alcohol addiction can have on families representing the charity at conferences, lectures and through public speaking in community settings and in prisons.
In addition to the strategic input Sarah also volunteers on the 7 day a week helpline and supports the frontline delivery of the services.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
I have been extremely fortunate to have many career highlights including several awards which have been achieved under my leadership, including: Best Team (Education, Social Care and Wellbeing Directorate) and Best Team (London Borough of Tower Hamlets).
My career history spans across the public, private and voluntary sector in the UK and internationally; including working as the Director of a Support-A-Child programme as part of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Efforts. Since working with DrugFAM my highlights have been to attend a reception at 10 Downing Street and deliver an event at the Palace of Westminster.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
Studying the MSc Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding at Bucks Uni has given me the confidence and skills I needed to progress my career in strategic leadership. The invaluable skills I developed through my studies have given me increased confidence to articulate and promote safeguarding across a range of disciplines in particular relation to substance misuse and the impact on families and children.
I have an increased ability to apply research skills and interpret data to develop strategic plans and support grant applications.
As part of my studies a fellow peer and I completed an evaluation of a Women’s Refuge on behalf of a local authority which went on to inform policy and commissioning processes. Since completing the MSc I have become a visiting lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University and have delivered seminars and workshops to a range of students studying undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
Believe in yourself. Make the most of the opportunities available to you. Don’t be afraid to take risks!
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
Manage your time effectively and don’t procrastinate!
Don’t underestimate the value of peer support; make time for supervision. Maintain healthy boundaries so you can look after yourself.
A message from Bucks New University Alumni Service:
Please do visit www.drugfam.co.uk to find out more information and to see how you can support them, or how you can gain their support if you are effected by the subjects discussed.
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