Today we welcome the fabulous Natasha Babar-Evans to Better Connect as our new CEO. We asked Natasha a couple of questions to help you (and us!) get to know her as she starts her new journey in leading the organisation.
So Natasha, tell us a little bit about yourself and what is important to you?
I am lucky to have had some really important “reset” moments in life which have given me time to stop and reflect on what’s important to me. My world revolves around my kids, family and friends and my enthusiasm for living life to the full. I keep the note with me (it’s from my little girl Hannah). In respect of work, I have realised over the years that it is very important for me to work somewhere with a strong sense of purpose where I can use my skills and advocacy to make a difference to people lives. Which is why joining Better Connect felt right for me and aligns with my values.
My mother died when I was very young which has influenced my philosophy on life which is to live life to the full and keep developing and challenging myself.
Every few years I will raise funds to support cancer research. Last year it was the Yorkshire Marathon and before that it was an ultra-white collar boxing match. I love sport and I am playing in a West Riding FA women’s beginners football league and my team is Leeds City Lasses. I have also qualified as a Level 1 FA coach to help in an under 8s and under 9’s girls football team (which includes my little girl). One of the things which I am always championing is the importance of kindness. It is reflected in my leadership style and governs my decision making.
There are times in life when I have been the only Asian and only female around the board table and I am a strong believer in the importance of diversity and paying it forward to helping others to reach their potential. I am a trustee of Trust Leeds which helps people to change their lives by building financial independence, confidence and self-reliance. I am also a leader in residence at Leeds University and an independent panel advisor for the Army Foundation College in Harrogate AFC(H).
What is your career history/background?
I’ve been a lawyer, banker, senior corporate leader, coach and business owner, I have also worked in the private, corporate and charity sector and I have finally found my home at Better Connect which brings together the different elements of my career!!
After working in the corporate sector for a number of years, I stopped to focus on my personal development and I was lucky enough to do an MBA at Leeds university. This was a really important time for me to stop and breathe and reflect on my career journey. It made me realise that I was happiest when I worked somewhere with a strong sense of purpose which was making a difference to people.
My “happy place” is also working with a team and coaching them to success by focusing on their development. It was not always smooth sailing in all my roles but each experience has helped me shape me as a person and also as a leader. My last role before Better Connect at Relate Bradford & Leeds was particularly important as I was lucky enough to work with a CEO who led with strength, kindness and compassion. My time working as a coach with incredible entrepreneurs at the social enterprise was also pivotal in helping me to develop a growth mindset, which I really needed as a business owner through the pandemic.
What made you want to apply to be CEO of Better Connect?
I was looking for the right organisation, with the right values and a strong vision where I could use my skills to make a difference to the team and the community we support. I also had a coach who helped me to really understand my intrinsic motivation and asked great questions to help me make my next move. I have been working in the healthcare sector and there is a strong move towards partnership working and co-creation to tackle health inequalities and I love this approach. This describes the way we have always worked at Better Connect. It’s all about collaboration and whole system working to improve the lives of people in our community.
And finally.. What are you most looking forward to in your role?
What absolutely sold it for me in relation to the role at Better Connect was the team, they interviewed me first and it was clear from the outset that our values aligned. I loved the passion and energy from all of them and I am really excited to be working with them. I am also really looking forward to working with our partners and making new connections to help us make a strong positive impact in Yorkshire.
Thank you so much Natasha and we are so excited to have you join us this week. To find out more about Natasha, connect with her on Linkedin
Hannah is our Engagement Manager at Better Connect. Her role is to create engagement and connection with people in many different ways such as through social media, our website, networking, events and presentations. Hannah is passionate about creating positive environments that people feel safe to be themselves in, especially at work. She loves building strong relationships with partners, meeting new people and really getting to know why people are the way they are and why they do what they do!
Hannah loves being creative and getting into ‘flow’ with her work. She loves making things and being involved in the creative process. Hannah loves working for Better Connect because she gets to have variety in her role and appreciates the positive culture and focus on wellbeing.Learn more about Hannah