“To me, humility does not mean thinking less of yourself but means thinking of yourself less” – Sybille’s Story

“To me, humility does not mean thinking less of yourself but means thinking of yourself less” – Sybille’s Story





Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day, today we hear Sybille’s story about moving from the NHS to finding at home at Better Connect. Syb is one of the most caring people and a key member within the team and it is a honour to share her story today..

From being a child, I’ve always been that person who, if someone else fell over, I would go to help them up. I’ve always wanted to make someone else’s day a little bit easier or better. Whether that was a word of praise, or encouragement or offering them a warm drink.

This interest and care for people led me to study psychology and anatomy at university in my home country of Germany. My first job was working in hearing aid acoustics, supporting people who had experienced hearing loss. This might be sudden or gradual or even from birth. I saw that often people who couldn’t hear became excluded from society and could come to feel left out and lonely. I have always believed that every person is valuable, and everyone has a right to be part of the community. There should be equal opportunities, and no one should be left out. Because every person is important, and everyone has something to offer.

Whilst living in Germany and being married to a member of the British forces, I spent my spare time supporting the wives, whose husbands were often away for long periods of time, to learn German. This enabled them to be more engaged in their local community. I wanted them to be able to communicate and to feel confident visiting the local shops. I supported the military police by translating when there were any issues or language barriers (e.g. traffic collisions). I enjoyed supporting British people in Germany by helping them to communicate. I just liked to help where I could. Small things with great love… (To me, humility does not mean thinking less of yourself but means thinking of yourself less)

Later my husband was posted to Yorkshire, so we moved here. I became a key worker in a residential home for young adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. I volunteered at the women’s refuge. This also involved being on the end of the telephone, listening to women, often during times of crisis. Whilst living here, I became a single mother. This led to me raising 3 children in a foreign country with no family close by, who could offer practical support. I came to realise that family didn’t have to be people you are related to but could be anyone who has your best interests at heart and who care about you. I was lucky to build this “wider” sense family in my community.

I love to learn and studied complementary therapies. I started working at Harrogate hospital. I’ve always been interested in the wellbeing of people. Personally, I feel that a holistic approach is essential for true wellbeing, which consists of physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. From working in medical care, I recognised that medication alone isn’t enough – true wellbeing is much broader than this and needs to take account of the whole person. This is part of what led to the transition to work for Better Connect.

The first thing that attracted me to Better Connect was the values. I liked that it was inclusive and everyone in the organisation shared the same goals. No one is working against anyone else, and no one is trying to shine brighter than their colleagues. It’s a group ethos of wanting the best for all. To me, it’s about how you’re contributing to the whole that is important.

I was really drawn to this place filled with people who want to make others’ lives better. It’s the little things that make a big difference – time, listening, a hug, encouragement (and a hot drink). I said before that family can be anyone who has best interests at heart and supports you. My Better Connect family is the best! All of my colleagues share my values, and their support and positive regard helps and encourages me to thrive. This allows me to be myself at work. I love the work done by our partners, the way they are so thoughtful, inclusive, accessible and create opportunities for people in their communities. I love being a part of making this work possible.

Thank you Syb for sharing your amazing story!

Sybille Sullivan

Post by Sybille Sullivan

Programme Coordinator

Sybille is the programme coordinator for both Rise2Thrive and SHINE, and works alongside Joe (Programme Manager), managing partner relationships, project paperwork and the ins and outs of partnership collaboration. She was formerly one of the Finance and Audit Co-ordinators, and has been with us since March 2022.

Learn more about Sybille