Publish Date: 02/04/2013
Each week we'll be introducing you to a member of The LGF team. Today, meet Sian Payne, Director of Organisational Development. Below, she tells us more about her role, the challenges and who inspires her.
Describe your role in one sentence
I have responsibility for the people and services of the LGF
What attracted you to The LGF?
Initially, the original role I applied for, which was Research and Policy Co-ordinator. I had a background in research but because I had previously worked as a consultant I never got to see anything through. I would parachute into organisations or projects, do the research, write the report and recommendations and leave again, without any ability to see whether or not any action was taken as a result. I felt the role at the LGF would provide the opportunity to see some real difference come of the research I did.
What is your proudest achievement?
I received an email from someone who had seen me providing evidence at the Public Committee meeting for Equal Marriage, and she said that the LGB&T community were lucky to have someone like me represent them. That made me very proud
What is the best part of your job?
The people I work with and for. It is amazing when people let us know the difference that we make to their lives, and it is even more amazing for me in my role when I see the sense of pride and achievement that this creates in the staff and volunteers I work with. They are such a dedicated group of people, I am really very lucky to work with them.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Leaving at the end of the day! It can get really busy, and we aren’t a charity that likes to say no, so it can be really hard to actually get out of the building because there is always something else to do.
Currently, what is your biggest challenge?
Working out how we continue to deliver at the level and quality that we currently achieve within the ever decreasing funding available. Many people come to us because we are LGB specific. When statutory services close, people come to us because they have nowhere else to go. So it is even more vital that we are here for people if they need us. And that is a challenge. But it is one that we are absolutely up for.
What or who inspires you?
I’m afraid I don’t really work like that. People inspire me in some way every day, but I don’t have certain people or groups or things that consistently are the thing that lifts me up.
What keeps you awake at night?
My partner reading with the light on. I’m normally shattered, so things don’t keep me up. They might wake me up early in the morning, though…
The best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Have confidence in yourself.
If you left tomorrow, what would you want to be remembered for?
Creating and encouraging a positive work environment. It’s so important that the space in which we work in is welcoming and inclusive, because we spend so much time in it. So I’ve spent a long time trying to create that environment, so that people come into work loving it, and therefore provide better outcomes for our service users.
What is the greatest challenge facing the sector today?
The narrowing of available funding sources is an obvious one, but I think an even greater one is the lack of understanding about what charities and the Third Sector actually do. People don’t see charities as service providers, unless they have accessed services from one; and people don’t understand that those services are provided by working staff, in many instances, and not volunteers. We are a sector that is becoming ever more professional in our delivery, service and outlook, but we are not perceived as such, which is a huge challenge for many charities today.
Your top tip for a work/life balance?
Create protected time for yourself. I might get in early and work late during the week, but that is because I try and protect my weekends as much as possible – I try to leave at 5pm on a Friday and leave work in the office until Monday. It helps.
Where would you like to see The LGF in five years?
You can follow Sian on twitter @LGF_Sian.