From the time I was old enough to know what a career was, I knew I wanted to work with the human mind. The way we think, translate thought into action and into the essence of who we are has always fascinated me. I told my parents with absolute certainty that I was going to be a clinical psychologist. I remember my parents telling me to keep my options open but I knew that this was what I was born to do. I was ten, and knew absolutely nothing. My passion for all things human resulted in me applying to do psychology at the University of Cape Town. I had the next six years of my life mapped out until I would be a qualified clinician.
I went to UCT bright-eyed and bushy tailed and started my studies, while enrolled there, I took one course that would change everything for me. It was the start of my journey into clinical social work. I have seemingly fallen into my different passions over the years – a fact which I am grateful for every day. The fire that my incredible lecturers started in me led me to my work with refugees and asylum seekers with a special focus on the areas I was most passionate about – mental health and gender based violence. I ran programs for a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees implementing partner for over three years which impacted over 10 000 people.
Organizational mandates are constantly in flux and so our programs diversified to address a new need – vulnerable youth. I started interacting with young people who had the most amazing resilience and focus to create a future in a new country that would become their legacy. Thus began my passion for youth development.
Having developed my program management skills by creating and running programs, I was hungry to develop and diversify my skill sets and so I applied to work at enke: Make Your Mark heading up the Monitoring and Evaluation department. Learning about the skills that were built through the enke Programs brought together my love for emotional intelligence with an exciting opportunity to figure out how to measure something intangible to prove our impact – and I’m incredibly proud to say that I achieved that objective. enke now has a streamlined monitoring and evaluation system that allows us to track and report on the work that we do and the impact we create, from the individual to the collective. Creating this system served to reinforce my belief in the work we do, however it also made me miss programmatic work.
I never saw this opportunity coming. To be able to step into this role in the organization I love so much and am so proud to work with is an honor. monitor web page for changes . When I was asked to step into the role of Acting Chief Programs Officer, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t say no to. I was thrown into a new and exciting period which has resulted in continuous learning and thriving.
When asked if I would be applying to be the Chief Programs Officer, I followed my instinct and said yes. I knew it was going to be a rigorous process (including five rounds of recruitment! Getting a job at enke is no easy feat!), and my biggest fear was what I would do if I did not get the position. After I had my interview with the board of directors, I left the office almost certain that I had messed everything up and was not getting the job. At the end of that day, I was called into the board room and told that the job was mine and all I could do was burst into simultaneous tears and laughter. My sister has a phrase she tells me whenever I’m stressing about something uncertain – what is mine will never be taken away from me. This moment seemed like the definitive proof of her words.
This role is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It has created a space for me to continuously develop the programs I have come to love dearly. It offers me the opportunity to continue working with the most incredible, driven, ambitious and just generally superhuman team. My vision is simple, I want to ensure that we scale our programs and our impact so that thousands of young people are connected, equipped and inspired to go into their communities and create change on their terms, in their way, on the issues that they live and breathe with an indescribable passion that we too often forget as we get older.
I can’t wait to see enke grow in leaps and bounds as we continue to help young people realize their potential, passion and their ability to change the world through our programs.