Helping to make good conversations happen – Sandra Currie: an end of year reflection by Sandra Currie - Kidney Research UK CEO
As we get to the end of 2018 I have been looking back at the year. A year full of many good things to celebrate, so much exciting research is happening and so many great conversations took place with people I know well, and some I met for the first time.
It is heartwarming to see and hear of the ongoing commitment that so many people voluntarily give to the charity; from selling handmade cake stands at craft fairs to raise funds; reviewing pages and pages of detailed research applications to ensure we are funding the very best science; supporting our staff development plans, by running team building programmes, or providing personal coaching and mentoring expertise; travelling all the way from Exeter to Newcastle on an overnight bus to attend Fellows Day, and then setting off for the return journey just before midnight when all of the lectures were finished. Hours and days of extraordinary commitment, sometimes unseen, which hundreds of people from all across the UK are giving to the charity.
The giving of time, expertise and passion are all gifts and when they are combined with the donations our supporters give, enable substantial progress to be made in research. We are very fortunate to have a fantastic Board of Trustees, led until September by Professor John Feehally, and now by Professor Jeremy Hughes. Both of them provide me, as chief executive, with great personal wisdom, that enables me to lead the charity in what has been at times a challenging year. I have had many great conversations during the year with them.
Today I have been spending some time planning for some exciting meetings and discussions in January and February, that I hope will lead to some increased funding for our work. We know that some of the research is reaching a critical stage, and that some research teams are poised to take a significant step forward in our understanding about kidney disease.
Some new networks have emerged that will increase collaboration around imaging of kidneys to improve diagnosis and treatment, and developing further patient engagement across all research; talking together will reap great rewards. I love knowing that we are helping to make more good conversations happen.
So, as I look forward to 2019, I am thinking what more can I do to support our work? I will of course continue to put all of my energy into my role, I feel really privileged to be the CEO of Kidney Research UK, and I will do all that I can to play my part in tackling the issues facing so many people with kidney disease. I will continue to make my personal monthly gift, along with thousands of other silent regular donors, and I will continue to volunteer at events and activities alongside others who are so generous with their time.
BUT… I have decided to challenge myself to do more in 2019. I have a significant birthday at the end of the year, and I thought that this blog could be the place for me to announce that I want to set myself an additional personal challenge.
Across the country people will be setting New Year resolutions, some of them will be delivered and others won’t. I haven’t decided what it will be yet (suggestions welcome!!!!). I know I will not be jumping out of an aeroplane, nor on the end of a bungee rope; I won’t be on a bike. I think my running is limited to train platforms and bus stations these days… It could be that I do all three of our Bridges Walks, I could perhaps do one of the Kilt Walks in Scotland, or I could “go large” and say out loud to anyone reading this, “in 2019 I will walk 500 miles”… alternative options, gratefully received. Happy to have a conversation…