Tell us a little about yourself , Stephanie
I was born in St Albans,Hertfordshire a little over thirty years ago, and lived there until I was 18 when I went to the University of Nottingham to study history. I have stayed in Nottingham ever since! After finishing my degree, I spent a year volunteering with Tearfund and then worked for Nottinghamshire YMCA for four years before moving into my current job at the charity 58i.
I married the lovely Matt in May 2011 and we are part of Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham. We love being part of a great small group, working on an allotment with friends, drinking tea, eating cake, and spending time with family. I am an aspiring crafter and attempting to improve my sewing and knitting skills, with mixed results!
What is your favourite Bible passage and why?
There are lots! Psalm 139 is one of my favourites. I often go back to Hosea chapter 2, particularly the second half. It talks about Israel’s sin and idolatry, walking away from God and forgetting Him. Then there’s a beautiful picture of God restoring Israel by leading her into the desert, speaking tenderly to her, and restoring their rightful relationship. I love the message of God’s love, compassion and jealousy for his people and the reminder that when we are in a spiritual desert, that is often where we hear God speak to us in a still, small and tender voice.
What does your work involve?
I am on the management team at 58i, a Christian charity in Nottingham working with people affected by poverty. This includes a homelessness project, a Nightstop scheme for young people at risk of homelessness, a CAP debt centre and more! My role is focused on the internal workings of the charity – policies and procedures, HR, fundraising etc. Working in a small charity offers the opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of areas, and I enjoy the variety in my job.
Although not strictly part of my work, I am also a trustee for the Jericho Road Project, working with women involved in prostitution in Nottingham. I have been a volunteer there for eight years, serving first on the outreach team where we meet women working on the streets in the red light district, offering food, a hot drink and a chat. I became a trustee earlier this year when the project became a registered charity
and it is a real privilege to be involved.
What are some of the challenges in your work?
I have always found decision making tough so I think I would say that is my least favourite part of leadership! Typically this is because I lack confidence in my own opinions, but I also like to hear all the facts and opinions before moving forward on something. I like gathering information and researching an issue, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. However, I do need to learn to go with my instincts sometimes, and make the best decision I can in the circumstances, then to go along with the results of that decision.
What would you tell a young woman with leadership skills to do in order to be an effective leader?
I think that it is really important to know your own mind and not be afraid to speak up. It can be easy when you are young to feel that your experiences and opinions are not as valid as those of someone older or more experienced – but actually, saying what you think can help someone else see things from a different perspective.
Find out what you are good at and what you enjoy, and then pursue those things.
Don’t attempt to imitate someone else’s leadership style – we are all different and can bring our own unique style to what we do.
Be genuine and be yourself. It makes it easier for people to trust you when they know they can be vulnerable and open about who they are.
I am working on all of the above!
What one thing have you not achieved in your leadership so far that you would like to achieve in the future?
On a personal level, I would like to continue to become more confident in my own skills and abilities. I have often struggled to see how I have a role in things and hesitate to put myself forward. Probably like many women, I am quick to see my own limitations and slow to challenge myself to step out into something new and (potentially) scary!
In terms of my work, I have a passion for professionalism in the voluntary sector. I have sometimes come across a belief that Christian charities and organisations cannot really participate in the public sphere because it might compromise the ethos of the organisation. However, I really think that Christian organisations can be true to their foundational beliefs but also engage with the ‘secular’ world and participate in a professional environment. Charities have a significant role to play in society and I hope to stay in the voluntary sector in the medium to long term.
It was great to get to know Stephanie a little more and let’s pray for her in her work and the work of the charity, as they seek to help the most vulnerable people at this time of the year.