This is a new feature where we spend time getting to know some of the team that make Sue Lambert Trust who we are. In our first getting to know… we interviewed Sarah O’Donnell Business Operations Manager.

Working life

1. What lead you to your role working at Sue Lambert Trust?

A mixture of reasons really; I’m a mum to two young boys (1 and 3 years old) and after my second son, realised I needed to have a better work/life balance.  This led me to start looking for a more flexible, part time role.  I was also keen for a new challenge as I felt a little stagnant, so this just felt like the right time to take the plunge and explore my options.

What drew me to Sue Lambert Trust was learning about all the amazing work they do; I knew I wanted to work somewhere that I would get job satisfaction; where my job would have real purpose and I would be part of something special.

2.  How would you summarise your role at SLT?

Very busy, varied, and a huge change! I spent the last 13 years working as a Test Manager for a large print outsourcing company, so my role with SLT is very different.  It is also extremely different working for a charity, but very rewarding.

I am responsible for all the Operational side of things including HR, GDPR, IT, Maintenance, Recruitment, Training, Procurement, Facilities…to name a few!  As such, I am often juggling many different things and wearing different hats; no two days are ever the same and it keeps me on my toes for sure.  It has been a huge learning curve for me and a big adjustment in many ways, but I have learnt a lot in my time here so far and am really enjoying it.

3. What are your plans within SLT for 2023?

There are many exciting things I am focusing on for 2023; one of my biggest projects is to implement an office redesign for our Norwich office.  I am currently in a planning/quotation stage for this project, but it is all looking very promising and will help give the building a much-needed revamp.

There are several building maintenance/facilities type activities that I have planned for this year too – this is the year we give the building some love ?

As part of a focus of Learning & Development, I’m keen to improve the training we can offer both our staff and volunteers.  As such, I’m currently exploring options for a new LMS (learning management system) which would allow us to provide a variety of training options, accessible through an online portal.  This is still very much in its infancy at this stage though.

After a successful first run in 2022, I will be looking to organise more staff wellbeing days during 2023.   The charity really recognises how important self-care is and that’s why we feel it’s important that we have some designated ‘wellbeing’ days planned throughout the year.

4. What do you like most about working for Sue Lambert Trust?

I know it’s a cliché response, but I’d have to say the people, they’re an amazing bunch! Both staff and volunteers, are all lovely and have made me feel very welcome since I joined.  It’s a fantastic charity that provides such a worthwhile service to its clients.

I really like working for a charity, knowing that the work I do, albeit not directly client facing, is contributing to the service we provide for our clients.

I also really enjoy the variety that my role offers and the experience/knowledge I am gaining in my time here.  Whilst I have worked as a team manager previously, I have not been involved in as many of the operational aspects as I am now, so there’s always lots to learn and lots to keep me busy.

I also feel very lucky that my job offers me the flexibility to have a better work/life balance; I can have a good career and still be a mum, which is so important to me.

Home life

1. What do you like doing in your spare time, what are your hobbies or interests outside of work?

In all honesty I have very little ‘spare’ time at the moment as if I’m not at work, I’m at home on mummy duties.  But I love just spending quality time with my family when I’m not at work, particularly if it’s a UK break somewhere with a hot tub! When I do have time to myself, I love to treat myself to beauty/spa treatments (massages are my favourite!) or go for a spa day with my sister.  I’m a qualified holistic massage therapist myself, which is something I have put on hold since having my children but hopefully one day soon I’ll resume practising again.

I’m also weirdly really interested in true crime documentaries – I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa and indulging in a few hours of crime binging (I’m not weird I promise!).

2. What’s your favourite food or meal?

That’s such a tough one as I like most food and it totally depends on my mood! But I think if I had to pick one, I’d say Italian food is always a go to for me; pizza, pasta and wine, perfect!

3. What’s your favourite place to visit in Norfolk?

I think I’d have to say Holkham beach – it’s such a beautiful beach and so tranquil.  I love to be at the sea; the water and the sounds just bring such a calming energy to me and allow me to really forget the stresses and worries of everyday life and just be.

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would absolutely love to go to Africa on safari, it’s one of my main bucket list items.  I love all animals and I would be in my element on a little jeep, in the sunshine, watching the elephants and giraffes roaming around freely!