Here’s the first installment in a new series on TTNGONews.com – T&T NGO Corner Office –where we get to know the leadership of NGOs and civil society organisations in Trinidad and Tobago.
CEO, Families in Action (FIA)
1. Tell us what your organisation does:
“Families in Action (FIA) has a range of services, all aimed at promoting and sustaining healthy homes and family life. Our reactive services – those that seek to help people in crisis – include our Counselling, 24-Hour Hotline, Addiction Support and Domestic Violence Support. Our proactive services – which seek to prevent crises – include our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Parenting and Youth Education Programmes.”
“We serve people of all ages from across Trinidad and Tobago, for in addition to our head office in Port of Spain (POS,) we also have sub-offices in Arima and Point Lisas and a large network of consultants – to whom we refer clients – across the country.”
2. What was your personal-professional path leading to this organisation?
“I’ve been CEO since August 2016 and Acting CEO for four months prior to that. However, my journey with FIA started in 2002 when – fresh out of completing my BSc Psychology at UWI – I was offered a temporary position as Receptionist – holding on for the permanent staff who was on leave. I took it and never looked back! As the Receptionist I learnt so much of the work of the organization and believed in its mission.
When the Receptionist returned from leave, I was retained and worked closely with the Youth Education Department – getting the opportunity to go out to schools and observe that team in action. I loved that work and was excited the first time I was asked to lead a training session at a school. I was more excited when I officially became a member of that team in 2003 – the same year I became head of that department.
In 2004, I left FIA to pursue other opportunities but returned in 2006 – having recognized the work of Youth Education and of FIA is my calling. In 2016, I was promoted from Youth Education Manager to CEO.”
3. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
“Even though – by most standards – FIA is a small organization, we have such a broad range of programmes and services and therefore a multitude of stakeholders – beneficiaries, funders, clients etc. As such, the most challenging part of my job is ensuring that all stakeholders’ needs are met in a timely and quality manner and that they are not neglected. We have a great team of department / programme leads, who also work on ensuring that this is achieved.”
4. What’s the best part of your job?
“The best part is working with the FIA team. We have a group of people who are loyal and committed to the organization and the work that we do. We have team members who have been at FIA almost since the organization’s start. They help to ensure that we keep on track towards our founder’s vision. The best part of my job is seeing how the work of our team impacts the lives of our beneficiaries / beneficiary communities.”
5. What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector?
“I’d advise anyone interested in working at an NGO that while in the long term the work is very rewarding, it requires a high level of commitment and an ability to multi-function as you are often required to undertake responsibilities well outside of your job description. Before joining any NGO, ensure that their mission and work are aligned to the kind of impact you want to make.”
Learn more about Families in Action at http://www.familiesinaction.net and https://www.facebook.com/fia.familiesinaction. Families in Action is also the 2015 winner of the JB Fernandes Award for NGO Excellence.
Are you an NGO leader and want to be featured in this series? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!