InspiRED Newsletter – an interview with Donna McKnight April 2019

The Red Thread Fellowship Programme TM

Fellow in the spotlight!

Donna McKnight (Centre Manager for Jennings Oxford) has just completed her Fellowship journey with us and we wanted her to share a little bit about her experience as a fellow.  She has managed to jointly raise £2,590 for her chosen charity and has given a tremendous amount of time and energy during her year with us… we’re incredibly proud!

Tell us a little bit about your role and the company you work for…

I am currently Centre Manager at Jennings and have worked for this lovely company for 10 years. Jennings own and manage business parks in South Oxfordshire, with our main site being Monument Park based in Chalgrove. We love helping people to find the right home for their business.

Why did you choose to take part in the Fellowship programme?…

Jennings is constantly encouraging the team to develop and grow and asking ‘what’s next for you?’ The initial thought of going on a leadership course was a little scary if I’m honest, however the Fellowship programme is very ‘value based’ so felt completely the right course for me to go on. I was also keen to work with a local charity, so it was a win win!

What have you got out of the programme?…

Firstly I’ve got to meet a lovely new group of people where we could all share work issues and learn from each other. Every workshop had a different topic and each time I came away with new ideas on how to deal with different situations. I kept a list of ‘golden nuggets’ which I then took back to share with my team. Working with a local charity gave me the chance to experience something completely new which came with new challenges, so I was learning all the time. I was lucky to have worked with Maggie’s Oxford, who support those affected by cancer.

What has surprised you, in terms of what the experience has actually been like vs your initial expectations?…

I always get a little anxious joining new groups and was surprised how comfortable I felt right from the beginning. I felt confident sharing stories, views and opinions within the group and learnt some valuable leadership techniques to use in the workplace. The charity I supported are very grateful for all our help, so the feel good factor is amazing.

What would you say to anyone considering taking part?

To sign up! Yes it’s free and there’s no catch, honest! It’s good to take time out from your normal work day to develop yourself. I’ve enjoyed each workshop and came away feeling more confident each time. What’s so lovely is that you not only learn new skills from the fellowship course but from listening to everyone else’s experiences in the group. Sharing is a great way to become better leaders!

Working with the fellows has been an absolute joy! They took their committment very seriously and we feel very blessed to have been involved. We hope that more people to continue to benefit from this fantastic opportunity!

Pip Dingle – Maggies Charity Oxford

Now recruiting for charities and participants in Oxford and Cambridge!!