This is Lesley
We found our Face of Penta this month at Pentahotel Derby. Lesley works in the national support team for charity organisation Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. The team, together with over 270 volunteers, support people across the UK who have been touched by suicide. We are proud of the great work Lesley and her team do in our communities, and we are proud to welcome people like Lesley to Penta. Read on for more about Lesley’s job, passions and drink of choice (and hey, we think there’s nothing wrong with an Irish coffee either).
1. Who is the last person you called?
My daughter Abbie. She will soon be jetting off to Bali to go travelling and prior to that we are going to be enjoying a mother/daughter weekend in London. We will be seeing Coldplay at Wembley and had to discuss some last-minute plans: namely, where to enjoy afternoon tea! I have two children (Abbie and Jared) therefore my phone is very rarely quiet!
2. What do you do for a living?
I work for the charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) as the Chief Finance Officer. I am part of a small team of paid staff who support over 270 volunteers, UK wide, to deliver support to those who have been impacted by a loss to suicide. Our charity offers peer to peer support groups throughout the UK as well as support by email, telephone and an online community forum.
3. …and how would you describe that in simple words to your 6-year-old self?
My job is to make sure that our charity has enough money in the bank to keep helping people when they need it. I look after all of the charity’s money and make sure that we pay our bills on time. The government doesn’t give us any money for this, so I talk to other businesses and councils to ask them to donate money to help us support people. Because we are a charity, we cannot sell things to make money so I have to ask others to help fund us. I have to make sure the money SoBS does have is spent well and I work with a treasurer to budget so that we never run out of money.
4. Tell us something that you are passionate about.
I am passionate about the charity that I work for, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, and the role that I have within the organisation. I am driven by the thousands of people that turn to SoBS each year and by the 270 volunteers that need my support on a daily basis. In 2019 we were successful in securing England National Lottery funding to support a five-year plan to expand the charity. My passion for the charity, supporting volunteers and extending support grows year on year. We are constantly updating our training; support techniques and services and I am so very grateful to the team at Penta for supporting us at their venue in Derby.
5. Who are your role models?
Karren Brady: Karren is a powerhouse of a person and such an inspiration to all woman who dream big. She has achieved so much success in business, through her hard work and determination, and is known for championing the cause of women in business. I am an ambitious person and look up to people like Karren who prove that with the right go-getting attitude, anything is possible.
Dr. Sharon McDonnell:
Dr Sharon McDonnell is the Founder and Managing Director of Suicide Bereavement UK and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. She has specialised in suicide bereavement research and support for over 20 years and is a recognised international leader in this field. I have heard Dr. Sharon McDonnell speak on many occasions and her passion for suicide pre and postvention is inspiring. As part of my role within Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, I am dedicated to breaking the stigma associated with suicide and look to Sharon as a pioneer in this cause.
7. Finally, what’s your drink of choice?
Latte and whiskey (although not together of course). I prefer my whiskey on the rocks!