Though London is my home, The Runyon Project’s name is inspired by the hiking trail behind my ‘home away from home’ in Hollywood, CA. It was there that I gained physical and mental strength, where I hiked with friends or my headset – learning aother language, practicing a speech, listening to new music or just being mindful in nature.
I have had a long and fulfilling professional life with more yet to come, I’m sure. However, I made a wise choice in 2014 to take a break, slow down, and allow for more time to spend with my family, re-connect with friends and focus my aspirations on how I wanted to feel each day – creative, mindful, healthy, inspired, helpful, grateful, curious – and design my life around that.
How you live each day is how you live your life.
…and then an unexpected career move found me when a talented and ambitious coach posted a request on a community Facebook page seeking administrative support. Interesting. Why not? I started right away and continue to love my work. As my client list grew, I decided to freelance exclusively and started The Runyon Project.
You are what you love.
My days are still guided by how I want to feel in each moment and it comes very naturally: cycling, a creative work project, a walk in my local park, films, my family, the wonders of living in London, the refugees I volunteer with, learning, music, books, or simply a great buzz off green tea – these are easily accessible to me. And, the impact these resources have had on the effectiveness, creativity and efficiency of my work and life are astounding.
Social Impact is also important to me. Close to my heart, I have spent over 20 years working with refugees. Getting my masters in refugee studies and community development in London and working with so many fascinating and inspiring people from around the world has been amongst the highlights of my life. Of course, the reality is that these opportunities, mainly each person along the way, have given me so much more in return. Click here if you want to find out how you can get involved.
Beyond that, you’ll also often find me tweeting and getting behind campaigns that aim for a more radical and human approach to our urban landscape and safety for cyclists. And, of course, living a healthy lifestyle is paramount.
Professionally, I have over 25 years of experience and demonstrated success in fundraising, event management, membership growth, operations, executive support and working virtually with teams around the globe. It’s amazing how relevant and impactful these experiences continue to be in all aspects of my work as a virtual assistant.
Prior to setting up The Runyon Project, my skills, experiences, friendships and networks along the way have been formed at these outstanding mission and profit-driven organisations:
Avaaz – 42 million member global campaigning organisation – London/Global/Virtual (2013 – 2014)
Provided virtual and online global campaign and operations support in a fast-paced mission-driven environment dedicated to narrowing the gap between the world we live in and the world most everyone wants.
British Future – Think tank – London (2011-2013)
Alongside a small brilliant team, I helped launch this new organisation that was recently awarded think tank to watch in 2015 by Prospect; managed a hugely successful launch event to a packed house; chaired a panel discussion on migrant re-settlement at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics; and all while leading its operations, governance, HR and executive support functions.
MA, Refugees Studies and Community Development – London (2009-2011)
Full-time coursework, University East London
Took break to study, volunteer and raise my young son – LA (2007-2009)
Diploma International Psychosocial Consultation; full university course load studying International Development, Sociology and Ethnic Relations; volunteer at Refugee Transitions, International Rescue Committee and British Red Cross.
Texas Pacific Group – Private equity firm – London & San Francisco-based (1999-2006)
Worked in the demanding and fast-paced environment of private equity, providing international high level support to some truly brilliant Managing Directors in the US, UK and across Asia. Expenses, visas, international travel, presentations, board meetings, events, correspondence, email and diary management – straight up executive level support with a positive can-do attitude.
California Pacific Medical Centre – San Francisco (1997-1999)
Worked in the executive office of this major medical centre supporting the CFO, Board and Finance committee as well as the CEO and COO. In this highly charged environment I was the face and voice between the CFO and executive office to the doctors, nurses and department heads.
The Health Museum – Cleveland (1991-1997)
Trail-blazing museum focused on promoting health and well-being, I increased membership and individual donations year on year; managed the Museum’s most successful fundraising event in its 50-plus year history netting US$150,000; implemented and managed a new highly sophisticated donor database; and wrote grant proposals to fund a variety of projects and exhibits. I also managed volunteers and headed donor and member cultivation.
Indiana Arts Commission – Indianapolis (1990-1991)
Government grant-making agency to support the arts where I designed and contributed to its quarterly newsletter; advised grant applicants on funding opportunities and applications; and provided board and executive support.