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From designing jewellery to Save the Children: Lauren Drewett’s journey from creative arts to the NFP sector

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of blog posts that go behind the scenes to meet some of the people and organisations finding each other through EthicalJobs.com.au.

Today’s story is from Lauren Drewett, who found her job as the Senior Manager – Supporter Care at Save the Children Australia on EthicalJobs.com.au.

One of Australia’s leading aid and development agencies dedicated to helping children, Save the Children employs almost 1,000 staff around Australia in areas ranging from family services to international development and fundraising.

Hi Lauren, thanks for chatting with us! To start us off, tell us about your first ever paid job!

My first ever paid job was in a family run pub/restaurant in a small village in Yorkshire, England. I worked two-day shifts over the weekend as a waitress serving traditional home-cooked meals. I loved working Sunday shifts in winter as the open fires were lit, we would serve bread and dripping at the bar and were given a free Sunday roast for lunch!

Tell us about your education – what did you study after high school?

Growing up, my main interest was in creative studies. I was fortunate to have some truly inspiring art teachers at school, and went on to study a foundation degree in art and design at York College.

There, I developed an interest in jewellery and decided to study a BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham City University. I’m going to be honest and say although I don’t regret my choices, my studies had very little impact on my further career!

So can you tell us a bit about the rest of your career before starting at Save the Children?

After completing my BA I sold my work in a couple of exhibitions in Soho, London. That was exciting, but I felt really strongly that I needed to do something where I could use my interpersonal skills to make a positive difference in the community.

So I gained a position as a support worker in a residential home for adults with challenging behaviour and learning difficulties, and after six months I became assistant manager. This was the most rewarding thing I’d ever done and the first step in knowing I wanted to pursue a career in the NFP sector.

After working with Craegmoor Healthcare for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to move back to Leeds to be close to family and I needed a job, fast! I wanted a break from support work but also wanted to do something rewarding – a friend suggested a fundraising role as I could start immediately.

I was in fundraising for five years in various roles across England, and then in Melbourne, working in roles that included campaign manager and recruitment manager. This gave me the opportunity to travel a lot, meet the most interesting people, and learn about leadership whilst raising funds for truly worthwhile causes.

So for those who don’t know, what does Save the Children do? And what first attracted you to them when you saw the ad on EthicalJobs.com.au?

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. We work hand-in-hand with our supporters to create a world in which every child has a healthy, happy and safe childhood, and we believe every child should have the opportunity to learn and have a voice to speak for themselves.

We do this by managing and implementing programs designed to save and improve the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Locally, we have offices and staff in each state and territory – while globally, we work in over 120 countries, touching the lives of over 80 million children each year.

I wanted to be a part of Save the Children because they are an organisation that is capable of creating lasting change on a global scale. I’d read about their founder Eglantyne Jebb – a fierce advocate for children’s rights – whose words led to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1959.

And what does your role at Save the Children involve?

I lead the Supporter Care team, who handle all inbound supporter communications – they’re super passionate about engaging our supporters with the work of Save the Children.

I’m responsible for, among other things, developing and executing the customer service plan, managing budget and risk requirements; developing customer service strategies to optimise supporter satisfaction and lifetime value; and improving processes and procedure to create efficiencies and reduce risks.

It’s the perfect role for me as I have the opportunity to engage with all areas of Save the Children, as well as being able to build relationships with our supporters – who are the heart of everything we do!

Many people who work for community organisations are well aware that they could earn a more lucrative salary in the public or private sector. What has motivated you to work in the not-for-profit sector?

For me money isn’t everything – I just want to go home at night knowing I’m part of an organisation that’s making the world a better place!

And it’s the people you work with as well – like-minded, caring, empathetic people – that makes it a happy place to work.

And just finally, what advice would you give to the many ethical jobseekers who dream of a landing a job like yours?

Working in support services is a great way to enter the not-for-profit world. When I’m recruiting I look for people who are passionate about making a difference, have excellent interpersonal skills with an empathetic nature, and can work in a fast-paced and changing environment.

Because of the nature of the role, you have the opportunity to engage with all areas of the organisation, which really helps you to identify where your passion lies. Volunteering is also a great place to start. Currently, three of the permanent members of my team started as volunteers or unpaid interns, so it’s definitely a great starting place.

Also, check EthicalJobs.com.au regularly!

Thanks, Lauren!

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