Today we say goodbye to our amazing CEO Sam Alexander. Sam has worked for Better Connect for thirteen years, taking over as CEO six years ago. Sam has created an inclusive, positive and exciting place to work for all of the staff here. We will miss her greatly, but know that it is time for her to move onto new and exciting things. Below is a final farewell written by Sam to all of the people that have worked with her throughout her career at Better Connect..
“It is the 8th April 2022 and my last day of being CEO of Better Connect. It still doesn’t feel quite real. I joined this organisation on 1st September 2008, aged 22 and not long back from 6 weeks of adventuring in an overland truck in Eastern and Southern Africa. Since that day, I have moved house 8 times, had 3 long term partners, and travelled to over 50 countries. My life has, at times, felt like it was in perpetual movement and change, but always there was one constant: my role at Better Connect.
Better Connect has certainly not been static either. Since 2008, it’s had 2 name changes, several office moves, set up and delivered 34 different projects and leveraged over £30m of funding into the sector. The Board has changed and evolved and the staff team has continued to grow, along with the blossoming and personal growth of individual team members. I have been part of every composition of staff and Board within the organisation and can honestly say that the team we have now is the strongest team we’ve ever had. I feel proud to have done what I promised at my CEO interview 6 years ago; build on the remarkable work that Sue did to set up and establish the organisation and lead it into its next stage of evolution.
It won’t surprise anyone who’s met me to know what that evolution had at its core; culture and values. Early on as CEO, I completed a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management and became a Chartered Manager with the Chartered Management Institute. I chose to focus my diploma on how to build effective culture and embed values so they don’t feel like meaningless words pinned to the wall. I wanted to create psychological safety, an environment where people could grow, develop and explore and a sense of belonging that came because of our differences and not in spite of them. I could not have done this alone. I have had the most amazing support and buy-in from both the Board and the team and every person has contributed to building a culture that we all feel very proud of.
Leading this team has been one of the biggest privileges of my life. I tear up every time I think about how proud I am of the Better Connect staff and just how much I’m going to miss seeing them all every day. Attending our recent in-person local linking events has also felt bitter-sweet. I loved meeting up with our incredible partners – some who are now old friends and others who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. I am so proud of the culture we have in our partnership too; helping and supporting each other, working together across organisations, and doing genuinely life-changing work with individual every day. It’s been amazing to be reminded about the incredible work our partners do and the lives that are transformed through their ongoing dedication and care.
Tomorrow I will wake up and will not be the CEO of Better Connect. Despite having nearly 6 months so come to terms with that fact, I’m not sure I’m ready. I know there will be real grieving to be done for all the people I am going to miss so much. It you’re reading this, there’s a strong possibility that you’re one of them. My next chapter is an opportunity for me to dive deeper into the intersecting areas that have fuelled my personal growth and exploration, especially in the 8 years since experiencing a mental health crisis; mental health recovery, understanding trauma, connecting with our bodies, teachings from wisdom traditions, the breath, movement and how to heal and thrive in this modern world. I’ll be taking some time to explore exactly how I want to blend those things in my roles as teacher, facilitator, writer, space holder and coach. If this sounds intriguing and you’d like to stay in touch, drop me a message on [email protected].
I am excited to share with you a video we have made introducing the next CEO of Better Connect – I’d highly recommend you give it a watch and you will get to “meet” the person who is going to lead Better Connect into its next chapter. All that is left for me to say is the most heart-felt thank you to everyone who has made my time at Better Connect so wonderful and as one of our partners recently said, it’s not goodbye, but farewell. Sending so much love and good luck to you for the future ❤🙏😊
Find out who will be stepping into Sam’s shoes in the video below…