This week marks Philippa’s second year working for Findacure – and what a time it has been! She looks back on her time at Findacure and looks forward to what she is planning for her third year with us.
Can you sum up your time at Findacure for us?
I think my two years at Findacure can be best summed up by one word, both for myself and for the charity: growth.
That might sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true!
We have grown from a team of 4 when I started in November 2019, to a team of seven with opportunities for more team members always around the corner. The charity has changed so much since then too. We have welcomed new projects such as our Rarechats and Resources Hub and new ways of working too; taking everything online after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This time of change for both the world and Findacure has also marked a period of significant personal growth. I have gone from assisting on our projects to being responsible for managing some from webinars and workshops to the Student Voice Prize and our new podcast project (keep an eye out for this very soon!)
When I first started here I had no idea that this would be how things would shape up for myself and the role. I am so grateful for the level of responsibility I have been given and the support I have received in getting to where I am.
What’s something new you learned this year?
I think this year has been one of huge learnings for everyone in work and life and one of the biggest things I have learned is that I am capable of quite a lot of adaptability and that an ability to ‘go with the flow’ and adapt quickly and adeptly is actually a good strength to have. I have taken on some new responsibilities in the projects I work on this year and have learnt that a lot of the things that I previously would have said I couldn’t do or ‘weren’t for me’ I actually enjoy and can do if I put my mind to them.
The new ways of working that the pandemic has brought on, have reiterated to me the importance of collaborative working in this community to bring everyone’s ideas together and create innovative projects. I have learnt some of the associated challenges of collaboration, such as how difficult it can sometimes be to maintain good communication and just how important emotional intelligence is in the workplace and professional environments to maintain these positive relationships.
What are some highlights from your second year at Findacure?
I absolutely loved being part of our virtual rare disease showcase back in November 2020. It honestly felt great to be part of something that felt very new and dynamic and that really brought everyone back together and had such a strong sense of community. It really encapsulated all the reasons why I love this job and working within the rare space. I also love being able to chat to new people and hear new stories and the showcase was a great place for that.
I have also really enjoyed slowly going back into a more office based working environment, it has been so nice to feel some sense of normality and be back with the Findacure team in the flesh again. Our team day back in the summer was great fun and working with such a brilliant group of people is one of the daily highlights of this role.
Of course I can’t not mention winning our mini moo, Jeffrey Sirmoo as that was definitely a highlight of my second year too!
What are three things you are looking forward to in your third year?
As the past two years have taught us, it is impossible to know what the future might bring! But of course there are some things I am looking forward to that I hope will be a part of my third year at Findacure.
Firstly I am looking forward to seeing the charity grow even more into its role as a key player in the rare space.
I feel like real progress is being made in making sure rare disease advocacy groups are key decision makers when it comes to their own development and the development of research and treatments into their conditions, and Findacure can play an important role in accelerating that. I look forward to meeting and engaging with new people across the rare community and involving them in the work that we do.
Secondly, I am excited to keep working on beloved Findacure projects, old and new! I have enjoyed delivering our online workshops on a range of topics this year and seeing the Student Voice Prize essay competition grow and I am also looking forward to seeing what new projects the future will bring to help out the rare community.
Third, and finally, I really hope that my third year brings some more opportunities for face to face events and interactions so that we can all connect in the same room again! (I even tentatively hope that we might be able to travel abroad to some events in the near future, fingers crossed!)
Here’s to seeing what year 3 will bring!