Jo Gatrick has many years of experience in commercial roles within social enterprises and across the third sector. Her experience has been vital for organisations that are looking strategically at their business, wanting to grow and improve performance and who want to understand their social impact in order to improve bids or strategic decision making. Jo tells us about her EP story in becoming a consultant.
What led you to get involved with EP?
I decided I wanted to set up on my own and provide support to the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. Having worked in the sector for a while I reached out to my network and EP were recommended to me by one of my contacts.
How much of a career change was it for you?
Moving into consulting was a big change, I had been an employee my whole career and had therefore been responsible for delivering the outcomes I would now be advising on. I was also not too good at selling myself!
What do you find most rewarding about your involvement and work with EP?
EP has enabled me to focus on working with the client and supporting them in the delivery of their outcomes rather than spend time in the sales process. It has also enabled me to continue working in the NFP Sector, delivering social impact, which I am passionate about.
Can you tell us about one of the assignments you have enjoyed most and why?
I have been really lucky to have a wide breadth of assignments and this is what I most enjoy about working with organisations like EP. One of the most enjoyable assignment was working with a small Charity as part of the Big Potential project, supporting the CEO and her Board to understand social investment, how this might help them to become more sustainable and how to measure their social impact.
What has been your most challenging assignment and why?
My most challenging assignment was being placed as an interim Company Secretary at a charity that supported football, as a rugby fan I learnt that it does help to be behind what a charity does when you work for them!
Has anything really surprised you about the sector? What differences have you noticed between your previous roles in the corporate sector and the NFP sector?
I worked in the Corporate sector for about 18 years and have found that there is much more of a connection in the NFP sector with the clients/customers/service users and people are often motivated more by that than the more traditional motivators.
What advice would you give to people new to the sector/new to EP consulting?
If you are new to the sector I would advise not to assume anything and remember that people working in the sector rarely do the one job they may be qualified for, it tends to be all hands to the pump a lot of the time (particularly in the smaller organisations).
If you are new to EP I would advise not to feel like you have to take every assignment, EP certainly don’t expect you to, and make sure you ask enough questions on the assignments you do take so you understand your role clearly.
Do you have any top tips regarding consulting generally?
If you’re not already a consultant the transition can be a little frustrating at times when you can see what you think will work but the Client can’t or won’t, you have to remind yourself that you are there to advise and share your knowledge and experience. Working with other consultants in EP has been fab, but it is different to being in a team and more important than ever that each party is clear on their deliverables and responsibilities.
Is there anything else you think someone considering moving to the NFP sector should know?
You will sometimes work extra hours you won’t necessarily be paid for, it will sometimes be frustrating BUT the impact you can have is massive for the sustainability of the sector and wider social impact and that is a great feeling!