Hello JVNBlog readers. I hope you all had the most restful and meaningful weeks of Yom Tovim.
As we’ve rolled around to the new reading of the Torah, I realise that nearly a whole year has gone by without me introducing you to our (no longer) new Operations Manager, Joanne. Despite our best intentions, me mentioning it on several occasions and her frequently working on the blog with me, it’s never quite seemed to happen. So without further ado…..
What were you busy with before you started dedicating yourself to promoting volunteering in our community?
Prior to JVN, save for a very brief love affair with the City post-uni, I mainly worked in corporate communications. From engineering, to private equity to carbon mitigation technology: there was nary a sector it felt like I hadn’t promoted or written a brochure for!
Due to the economic downtown and a spot of redundancy, I signed up at the Job Centre and along with it, volunteer work. Through a series of fortunate events I quickly ended up working on a project in Kings Cross that worked with over 30 volunteers to promote learning in their community. From the most private sector of jobs to grassroots community development in one fell swoop. As that project drew to a close, I saw an ad to work with JVN in the Jewish Chronicle and the rest is history!
What is it about the JVN that motivated you to get involved?
Well, at that point, I’d been thoroughly hooked on all things volunteering and was really enjoying using all my skills – from marketing, to media relations and events organisations – for good, not evil, so that was a huge factor. The other was that I hadn’t actually had much to do with the Jewish community in a formal way since JSoc, despite having a strong sense of Jewish identity, and so I felt that it was a great chance to reconnect. Added to the fact that JVN quite literally worked with hundreds of great charities made me feel that I could have an impact not just on one part of the community but on all of it – so it was an obvious move to make.
What have been the highlights so far?
That’s certainly a tricky one to answer as, despite our small size, JVN does such a huge variety of all things volunteering. Among my top five are, if pushed, working strategically across Facebook, the blog and direct marketing to get volunteers for the 5th Maccabi Community Fun Run and the Yoni Jesner Award ceremony, which was a first for JVN and the biggest yet. I think the big highlight though is the launch of a new look JVN website – particularly the London 2012 Changing Places team involved with it – which has really improved the experience for our users.
Can you tell about any new initiatives or events coming up?
Starting with the soonest, we’re launching this year’s Yoni Jesner Award assemblies in new record seven Jewish secondary schools which will keep the team very busy indeed. We’ll also be working on some great student volunteering work with UJS, Es and Leonie will be travelling the country for some regional meetings and we’ll be attending the very prestigious Cabinet Office volunteering tour event. Other things include our Dine for a Difference virtual supper quiz in early December (ring the office for more info), annual Chanukah Party and Limmud. And that’s just for starters!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself
I am an incredibly keen cook, but with a complete inability to make plain old rice even though I can do technical things like making choux pastry and tempering chocolate. If anyone wants to send in their Grandma’s Utterly Foolproof Rice Cooking technique, please feel free!