Janina’s Story

Look Ahead team leader Janina on the importance of trust, shared values and bringing your full self to work

Before I joined Look Ahead, I worked for another charity that specialised in helping individuals with physical disabilities. I had always wanted to help people in my career. However I quickly found that I didn’t agree with their approach to care – customers were often treated like a commodity rather than individuals. I also found the long working hours and commute very difficult, and I could feel my health deteriorating as a result.

I searched for a new opportunity and came across Look Ahead’s website. After reading the customer stories on the website, I knew that Look Ahead’s people-centred approach was the environment for me.

I began working at one of our homelessness and complex needs services in Kensington and Chelsea and was so happy to be part of a team that celebrated our customers and didn’t prioritise money over building personal relationships. However, my health was still not great and after a few months I was diagnosed with Lupus.

I was initially stressed and worried about having to tell my manager about my condition. When I shared my diagnosis with him, I was overwhelmed with the support I received. He was so caring, gave me the working adjustments I needed, and even went out of his way to learn more about Lupus so he could continue to give me support. My colleagues are also incredibly supportive, they make me feel at home here and I’m always happy to come to work.

“I have never seen a company celebrate their staff as much as Look Ahead do”

I’m a Team Leader at the service and make sure I am approachable to all staff and customers; I don’t want to manage from behind a closed door. I love building close relationships and creating a psychologically informed environment for our customers; we know it  goes a long way in helping them to get back in to the community. The trust, support and shared values in our team motivate us everyday.

I have never seen a company celebrate their staff as much as Look Ahead do. Earlier this year, I was delighted to be a part of our diversity and inclusion video and be able to share my story. All Look Ahead staff are encouraged to embrace themselves and be their true self, and I love it!