Meeting the people who make change possible: the first few days of CEO Celia

Over the last few weeks Two Ridings has been delighted to welcome new CEO, Celia McKeon, to the team, and for Celia no two days have been the same.

Although the official handover isn’t until the 22nd May, Celia has been working alongside Jan, and out and about meeting some of the different people and stakeholders that make Two Ridings such a change maker in North and East Yorkshire.

group of volunteer sitting around a table

In her first week she met up with some of the crucial volunteers who work alongside Two Ridings. Those volunteers ensure the majority of organisations who apply for a grant from Two Ridings get the opportunity to talk through their application informally with a real human. We know that many groups find filling in application forms challenging, but we also know that they can talk about their projects and the people they serve with ease. And we love that!

Celia also joined Harriet and Bec in Hull recently to meet with groups in the city who are interested in collaborating to tackle loneliness and boost volunteering. Two Ridings is delighted to have launched a £1.1 million Know Your Neighbourhood Fund to support this work, as part of a national scheme rolled out in nine regions of the country by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with UK Community Foundations. The conversations were rich and the opportunities to collaborate plentiful.

The work of a Community Foundation is made possible by the generosity and confidence of a wide range of donors and fundholders. Celia has started to meet with some of our long-standing partners, including colleagues at Bettys and Taylors, at the Harrogate district based THE LOCAL FUND, and at North Yorkshire Council.

As well as the external work, our CEO also plays a crucial role in leading and supporting our dynamic and experienced staff team.

At our first team meeting together, we had a fascinating check-in all discussing aspects of work, and home, which we tend to avoid. We also looked at psychometric testing, seeing how our skills and personalities fit with one another. The meeting was fun, if not bitter-sweet, as it was also Jan and Fran’s last one. We are looking forward to a team meal together to say our Goodbyes more informally.

Looking back on her first few days in the role, Celia reflected:

“What I love about Two Ridings is that it creates opportunities for people from many different walks of life to contribute to a shared endeavour, which is to build thriving, connected communities across this fabulous region we live in. It is energising and inspiring to connect with passionate, committed people who are putting their time and expertise at the service of our collective future. I am really looking forward to continuing and deepening these conversations in the weeks ahead.”

Keys aspects of the CEO role at Two Riding are the breadth and variety of people you meet and the fact that every day is different.

Celia is most certainly ready for the challenge.

Celia McKeon, CEO Two Ridings Community Foundation