Social Good Blog Post

Meet the Team – Caroline McKenna, CEO and Founder

Caroline McKenna - CEO and Founder

What is your role in the team?

 

CEO. Social Good Connect has been a couple of years in the making for me and is the product of years of experience in both the private and third sector, but my journey to this point probably started after a significant turning point in my career.  

 

I’d worked in financial services for 18 years and, one day, I found myself thinking what many have thought before me: ‘there has to be more to explore in life’.  

 

I made the big, probably rash at the time (so my husband says), decision to take voluntary redundancy and try to find my ‘why’. (Cliché, I know. But true.) I trained as a Busines and Life coach, worked as a consultant to both the business and charity sectors, and accidentally ended up as the CEO of a charity where my passion for meaningful work was ignited! 

 

It was here that I realised a common frustration faced by many charities and businesses. They want to work together, and support each other’s aims, but often don’t know where to begin. I set out to be a connector for good, and to help the private and third sector work together for common good – and here we are! 

 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

 

I love that it is all about people. I thrive on being around people, having fun, working hard. At Social Good Connect we have a brilliant passionate, committed team and the people that I connect with every day are a constant inspiration.   

 

We have an interesting story in that our business launched during the peak of the pandemic and I had to recruit all of our team members via Zoom! With our team having never met facetoface, I have worked hard to bring everyone together to create a positive team culture. Its hard sometimes of course but I have been blown away by everyone’s resilience. The team share how they feel, their successes and challenges and while human contact is always going to trump video calls, not least for the Oxytocin we need to survive and thrive, I’ve learned that it’s possible to build a strong remote team with a positive culture of respect, hard work and fun. 

 

Someone asked me the other day how you build trust among individuals that you have never met, how do you know they are working – I immediately remembered a quote that I firmly believe in from Marcus Child who said, “The best way to trust someone is …to trust them”. That’s worked well so far! 

 

Valuing each team member and their preferences and differences, is really important. We work well with a healthy mixture of efficient apps like Slack, Click Up, Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, and three daily video huddles per week.
 

I am also privileged to work with leaders in the business community who care about their employees and want to better engage them, support their health and wellbeing and create a positive culture that impacts communities – it is great to be able to do what we do every day.  

 

What volunteering or passion projects do you do outside of work? 

 

I work with four non-profits. I am a Trustee on the board of U-Evolve, a fantastic charity that supports young people aged 11-18 in North Edinburgh through mental health challenges and to reach positive destinations. The team do such incredible, powerful, important work and it is an honour to play a small part in the success of a small but perfectly formed charity.   

 

I am also a Director of Goodcall CIC, a social enterprise that is passionate about support charities and other non-profits with their mobile phone technology. They make technology as inclusive and accessible as possible, providing expertise and saving non-profits time and money. 

 

I am the Vice Chair of the Women’s Business Station who support women in business. They break down common barriers to success that women face in the workplace, and build a supportive network based on Training, Trading, and Talent. 

 

Finally, I am also on the Advisory Board for the School of Business, Dundee University, where along with other business leaders we help to shape the future of Business Studies 

 

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working/what are your hobbies?  

 

I enjoy cooking (I love a good Jamie Oliver recipe)because I can really switch off, preferably with some loud music and a glass of wine in hand – I have been known to boogie around the kitchen – totes embarrassing my kids tell me! I also enjoy reading personal development books (don’t judge me if I tell you my books are colour coded on the shelf!).  It goes without saying that spending time with friends and family give you all the warm and fuzzies and I am really looking forward to the time we can all be together face to face. 

 

Which of Social Good Connect’s values resonates most with you and why? 

 

Being Brave: We are not afraid to be different. We try new things. We are open about our journey. 

 

I think this is a hugely important aspect of any start up. Its scary, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, ups and downs, highs and lows and I always encourage the team to try new things, and if they don’t always work – that’s ok, we’ll try something else! 

 

I try my best to be open and transparent with the team about the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I encourage them to do the same.  

 

What is your favourite song? 

 

Caruso – Luciano Pavarotti – this is my singing while cooking song! 

 

Feeling Good – Nina Simone – I just love her voice and it always makes me feel good!

 

Who are the top three people you would have a meal with dead or alive? 

 

Oprah Winfrey – I have always admired her strength, courage and ability to shake off her traumatic life and achieve huge success while always being humble and supporting others. 

 

Kevin Bridges – for the craic. 

 

Alicia Keys – I love her voice, her energy and her songs 

 

Can you share your favourite photo with us and explain why it is your favourite?

 

My youngest daughter Amelie with Bailey the Bolognese dog – they adore one another!

 

Carolines daughter and her dog cuddling.

 

My eldest Georgia all dressed up for her prom – gorgeous inside and out. 

 

Georgie standing in front of a door wearing her prom dress.

 

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