NAME: Emma Galloway
BACKGROUND: University Degree
POSITION: Chief Executive
ORGANIZATION: Grassmarket Community Project
My Background and Career
The Grassmarket Community Project is a unique blend of support, nurturing and enterprise working with people who feel disengaged or marginalised. It offers a range of activities, educational sessions and social enterprises to enable people to progress towards healthier and more sustainable futures.
I graduated from University top of my class with a First-Class Honours degree in Mathematics.
I decided I wanted to change the world (or at least my part of it), my tutor helpfully suggested I become a code-breaker, I decided instead to take a gap year with a homeless charity. 14 years later I was still working for them having done a variety of jobs from managing their furniture collection service, which collected from 10,000 homes annually. My last role with them was founding Caring Christmas Trees, an award winning social enterprise that sells Christmas Trees online to generate income to pay for a homeless shelter. When I handed it over, Caring Christmas Trees was the largest charity and online retailer of Christmas Trees. After this I project managed the People’s Bible, a community engagement project which has included contributions from 25,000 people across the UK, involving over 1,000 volunteers.
Economic: I grew up in a single-parent household, money was always tight and I obtained a full-bursary to attend university, without this I wouldn’t have been able to attend.
Family:I lost my mother at an early age, as a result of this I developed resilience which has enabled me better to cope when things don’t go to plan.
Social: Whilst in theory maternity rights are protected in the uk, discrimination against women still exists. Whilst it shouldn’t happen it does.
Opportunities and threats which had a strong influence on your career.
In the voluntary sector if you are prepared to go the extra mile you can create your own opportunities. For example when I founded Caring Christmas Trees I worked on it in addition to my “paid” role for 6 months, before I was released to work on it.
I have also had to take calculated risks – the People’s Bible was a short-term temporary contract and despite the economic circumstances I took a risk to do it and gave up a permanent post.
The competition for senior management roles in the voluntary sector is high, whilst its a very rewarding sector to work in, the challenges it brings require energy, drive and persistence.