Meet Valerie: City Funding Network advisory board member
For City Funding Network's Spring newsletter, we spoke to our advisory board member, Valerie, to find about her and why she thinks corporate engagement in giving is important:
Can you tell us how you got involved with CFN? I first got involved with CFN in 2015 through my previous employer Macquarie Bank, a corporate sponsor of The Funding Network. At Macquarie I was Chair of the Graduate Volunteer Network and had been keen to find new ways to get involved in the community. The Funding Network and in particular CFN really appealed to me, providing a great opportunity to get involved in philanthropic giving. I attended my first event in late 2015 and have been coming along ever since!
What kind of social change is important to you, and what projects do you enjoy giving to? I am particularly passionate about causes related to education and women's equality. I have been very fortunate to have been provided with a great education and a supportive environment to pursue all of my passions. However, I know that for most people around the world, passion is only able to get people so far and that without the infrastructure, support systems and funds needed they are never able to realise their dreams. These difficulties are often exacerbated for women facing prejudice and harassment, and the positive impact that charities operating in this space can have is huge. Although I am particularly interested in these causes, I am always open to giving to a wide variety of projects, something that CFN allows me to do easily! In general, when the presenter shows real passion, as well as a well thought plan for future growth aiming for long-term sustainability of the charity, I am always inclined to give what I can.
You've recently been key to getting your employer, Funding Circle, involved in giving. Why do you think it's important to do that, and how did you go about it? I always think it is important to bring your passion to work with you, both for the work you do for the company, but also your interests outside of work. Funding Circle is a rapidly growing company, and since joining, alongside my day job, I have been involved in setting up the CSR framework, aiming to provide more opportunities for Funding Circle employees to give back to society. Companies like Funding Circle provide a great network of entrepreneurial people who always are always interested in getting involved with new things, so once you have an idea for something new and show some initiative in trying to put it in place, there is a supportive environment to help you realise those goals.
Finally, can you tell us something we don't know about you? It may seem crazy but I am currently training for an Ironman triathlon: 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride followed by a marathon! If you ask me again in 3 months I can actually let you know if I manage to complete it!