2020: A Formative Year
2020 has been formative. For me personally, for Digital Changemakers and let's face it for pretty much everyone, right? We're about to go into Tier 4 here in the North East, despite a vaccine or two on their way. The dramatically reduced impact of Brexit will finally hit the UK following a trade deal being reached in the dying days of a madcap twelve months. I think it would be a thankless task to try and find anyone who has not had major struggles, pain or suffering at some point in 2020 and the first thing I would like to do is offer courage, condolences and strength to all those for whom the challenges have been significant.
I started Digital Changemakers in July this year after making the very difficult decision to leave my decade+ position at Consult and Design following more than two years of leadership challenges that had become increasingly untenable. I learned a lot, importantly, as I would never want to go through those two years again. Now I have the knowledge and experience to avoid anything like that happening in the future.
The career and life-changing shift of leaving Consult and Design enabled me to (briefly) take stock. To reflect on everything I had achieved, as well as the failures, and think about where I would go next. I kept coming back to what I ultimately loved doing - helping people adopt technology, particularly when it involves making social change and improving lives. It felt that this was never more needed than in 2020. Digital Changemakers was the initial spark that came from that, but in truth it was and is a very early iteration. There is a long way to go, and so many ideas that I hope to bring to fruition over the coming months and years.
In mid-September, with new business energy in full flow, a job opportunity was brought to my attention that, much like the curveballs delivered throughout this turbulent year, turned me in another direction. At the time of job application, it was very prevalent in my mind that, "I'm not going to get it anyway". However as one treasured former colleague tweeted following the announcement of me being appointed to the role:
Inside that was exactly how I felt, and it was an absolute privilege to accept the job offer from Sunderland Software City as Head of Digital Adoption. This role includes working with a range of cross-sector partnerships and fits perfectly with my mission to provide organisations and businesses in the North East with the support they need to adopt technology.
I remain committed to Digital Changemakers and have already been lucky enough to have worked with some amazing individuals and organisations in the UK and overseas over the last 6 months. It is now with reduced capacity, and where possible around my full-time position at Software City. I will still be working on some exciting projects with people and organisations making a difference in their communities.
I think it is realistic to suggest that 2021 is likely to start where 2020 left off given the latest announcements. That said, there are signs of hope around the corner assuming we all stay safe and support each other.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of the first few months of Digital Changemakers, there are too many to list here. It was not the easiest time to start a new business during a pandemic, and having just had our second child, but it has already given me so much. I remain positive about the potential of 2021, and if you are struggling with digital, with life, or just want a chat over a virtual coffee - please get in touch.
I wish a very Happy New Year to you, your families and colleagues and I hope we all see positive change as we navigate the new challenges 2021 will bring, together.
All the best,
Founder and CEO