Story 49 - Blog

Kate's Story

Kate joined Look Ahead on its first ever graduate scheme. She has worked across multiple areas of the organisation and currently leads our communications and fundraising activity as a director.

I came to Look Ahead, fresh from my Masters, on the organisation’s first graduate scheme. I joined in a central service role, whilst some of the other graduates started in operations, rotating across services. It struck me then, and I still believe it firmly to this day, that support work is one of the toughest jobs there is.  

We were all relatively new to London and at the start of our careers. We had a great time together in our early days working in High Street Kensington – both in and out of work. I’ve always been very lucky that I have worked with, and for, some great, truly committed people. 

I did a lot of different roles during my early years at Look Ahead. I’ve worked in policy, customer services, co-production and business development. I’ve seen the organisation through different lenses – which I think helps me a lot in my role today.  

Over time, I began to do more and more communications work for the organisation. Like so many people who work in corporate communications, I had always envisaged becoming a writer or a journalist. This has brought me pretty close. I never forget the immense privilege it is when people, both customers and staff, entrust us with their stories. 

I left Look Ahead for a while to go and do media work for a national children’s charity and then returned in 2015 when Chris Hampson became Chief Executive. Over time, the communications remit has both grown and professionalised. Fundraising also joined our team in October last year, as so much of our work is aligned. I am really enjoying building our relationships with funders and looking at how we can bring in new funding so we can offer our services and customers more. 

I’ve met many of my closest friends here at Look Ahead, and also my husband… and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s safe to say it’s been a huge part of my life. The organisation today is very different from the one I joined all those years ago, but its core and social purpose has remained constant.  

When I came to Look Ahead, I think I was relatively naïve about life. Over the years, I have become much more aware of just how many of us will have direct or close experience of the challenges we support people with. There’s no real ‘them’ and ‘us’ – the issues we work with rarely discriminate. 

It’s strange being on the other side of the camera – and case study. I joined Look Ahead, because I wanted to work for an organisation that was for purpose not profit. I’ve been fortunate enough in all my roles to see the direct impact Look Ahead can deliver for those who need it most. I’m glad to still be a part of this.