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Inspirational stories – volunteers

Volunteer spotlight – Adesola Orimalade

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Adesola Orimalade has had a career in treasury and finance since he moved to the UK as an economic migrant in 2006 – most recently as Head of Treasury at Hogg Robinson Group PLC and previously at John Lewis.

Adesola volunteers as a speaker at our Insights from Industry sessions in schools and colleges and recently spoke to travel, tourism and business students at  the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.

“I had a great time on stage yesterday as a motivational speaker at an event organised by Working Options in Education. It was an opportunity to share my career journey with students. The energy in the room was very positive and infectious. Really enjoyed meeting the students and staff! It’s always great to be able to give something back and inspire our leaders of tomorrow.”

Here Adesola tells us more about why he volunteers for us and why he’d recommend it to others.

Why do you volunteer for us?

 I first learned about Working Options in Education while I was with John Lewis in 2017 but I didn’t get in touch until a year later.  I came to the United Kingdom as an economic migrant in 2006 and at the end of 2018, I had come to the decision that it was time for me to start giving back to this country that has given me the opportunity to grow and progress my career.

Coming on board with Working Options was an easy decision, primarily because as a father of a teenage daughter I agree with the ethos of the organisation. In addition, one area of leadership I enjoy is motivating and developing people, whether they are family members, direct reports, team members, students or entrepreneurs.

Why you think it’s so important for young people to be able to access people from industry?

 I believe that there is a place for the theoretical knowledge that you gain from attending classes as a student. The ability to hear the career and life journey of those in industry, however, is invaluable. Industry volunteers are in a unique position to share their knowledge and how they have applied that knowledge in their career and life.

What do you get out of it ?

  • I enjoy sharing my story and using key messages therein to connect with the audience
  • I can relate with the students and how I would have benefited from interacting with industry professionals. That ability to relate motivates me to do more.
  • Personal satisfaction that I am part of an organisation developing leaders and motivating young people to make the best use of their skill and opportunities.
  • I am also developing my public speaking skills

Why would you recommend volunteering with us to others? 

There are a good number of professionals in the UK with a vast amount of knowledge and experience. Some are parents and leaders/managers so they are already involved in training/motivating and developing people at home and in the workplace. Many are looking for opportunities to give back and volunteering with Working Options and helping to develop our young men and women is a perfect platform to do that. If you’re a UK based professional or business owner who’s thinking of making a positive impact and supporting the development of future leaders, I would urge you strongly to contact Working Options. They need more volunteers!

Volunteer spotlight with Ranu Sharma

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Ranu Sharma who currently works for Mastercard as Senior Finance Business Partner took some time out to talk to us about why she volunteers for the Working Options programme as a speaker and what she gets out of it.

How did you hear about and get involved with Working Options in Education?

Google! I instantly became intrigued after reading the website and decided to give them a call instantly. One thing lead to another and I found myself talking in front of a large number of students a month later.

Why did you want to help Working Options in Education?

I was once a student not that long ago (although it seems like a lifetime)! I was brought up in an unhealthy environment and found focusing on my personal development tough because of it. It changed me in so many ways and I remember longing for that support as I was doing it all alone, but I had no one to reach out to as motivational speaking wasn’t as imminent then. I feel the pain of some of those students today who may be in a similar situation. So I want to use my experience to help them grow in ways they never thought they could. Even if in a room of 100 students I can change 1 life, that’s another life changed. There is nothing more fulfilling than this.

What do you do as a volunteer for Working Options in Education?

I have not only volunteered to provide motivational talks to students across the country but I’m also an Ambassador for the Charity. This means I represent the charity to all the different schools and colleges that I visit by explaining what the charity does, why it is important and how it can help the students with their futures. Volunteers are asked to talk for 10 minutes about their career journey, what they do in their current job and what top tips and advice they have for young people about what employers are looking for. This is followed by Q&A and networking with the students. A session normally has between 2 and 3 volunteers, so it is also a great chance to meet new people and do something worthwhile!

Why do you think it’s important to help inspire our young people?

The level of unemployment is rising, the competition is fierce. The world is not a friendly place and it is ‘dog-eat-dog.’ It has never become more crucial for students to play to their strengths and find that passion to become something big. Becoming something doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a degree or a diploma. It needs to come from a place of passion and eternal happiness. It needs to be the reason why you wake up in the morning and love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, you will fail. I believe that everyone is born to do something and serve a purpose, but not all of them realise it. It is down to people like myself to help them realise that they are truly special and if they are willing, to have them work with you and watch the magic unfold.

What benefits does volunteering give you?

I have met some incredible people on my journey with Working Options. I met the Executive Chairman of MaxiMuscle and had numerous conversations with him over the phone regarding career advice which helped me in ways I couldn’t imagine. However, the biggest benefit for me is knowing I have left students feeling inspired. I feel that my woes and hardship were meant to be the key to unlocking others’ potential and hunger for success and Working Options has allowed me to fulfil that purpose.

What are the key things you get from volunteering?

Happiness and satisfaction, knowing that students are inspired by me is the most fulfilling thing ever.

How can anyone that is interested in volunteering get involved?

Please contact Lauren Monk, Head of Operations at laurenm@workingoptions.co.uk for details or visit https://www.workingoptions.co.uk/volunteer/ to find more information.