Elin, CSR and charity consultant, at Club and Workspace

Elin is the charity and corporate social responsibility consultant for both Workspace and Club Workspace. She'll be making it easier for you to get involved with the amazing charities Workspace staff have chosen to support. She tells us a little more about herself and about all the charitable projects Workspace has in the pipeline. 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Welsh and moved to London many years ago to qualify as a children’s nurse before going on to do a PhD, specialising in paediatric drug research.

Can you tell us about how you first got into fundraising?

In 2007, along with another nurse I decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for metabolic research at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I had never rowed before and I had never been out to sea, but the idea of it appealed so much that I couldn’t think about anything else. It was also great therapy to help me adjust to life after getting divorced. It turned out to be the best and worst thing that I had ever done and completely changed my life around.

I went on to row across the Indian Ocean (setting two world records) and then sailed across the north Pacific - completing my personal hat-trick of oceans. How has it changed your life? Surviving 77 days out on the Atlantic Ocean gave me the confidence to try numerous other things in life - with the belief that nothing can be as bad as a storm at sea! But it has also opened many more doors and given me opportunities that I never thought would happen, like publishing my own books, visiting Buckingham Palace and carrying the Olympic torch.

Can you tell us about an average working day for you?

Every day is completely different. I now work as a freelance consultant, primarily supporting paediatric drug research in Europe, so I travel a lot! But I also obviously work to support Workspace in building their CSR strategy - so everyday I get to be surrounded by people doing amazing things, which I always find to be very inspirational.

Which charities are Workspace supporting and why were they chosen?

In December we announced that for 2014 we would be supporting FareShare, KidsCo and XLP. These three were chosen by a newly formed charity committee from a list of charities nominated by staff.  

Why is it important for companies to care about their CSR?

The economic collapse was a big reminder to everyone that we really need to reconsider the sustainability of our corporate world. We need to remind ourselves that we can’t just continue to work in our own world without really engaging with the communities around us.

Why is it important for employees to get involved with CSR programmes?

I think it’s really important for people to get involved with a CSR strategy because it can often help to put some work problems into perspective, and appreciate what opportunities we have here at WSG. Doing this with your colleagues is also a great way to help with team building - all which goes to help you on that tough day in the office when everything seems to be going wrong.

What are the simplest ways someone can get involved with charities as part of their Workspace life?

We will be announcing different schemes throughout the year - from volunteering to a physical challenge to a organising social events - so there really should be something that appeals to everyone. If people are interested, what should be their next step? Contact me!

Also ask your colleagues that volunteered on the FareShare days so that you can be inspired by their experience and keep an eye out for XLP and KidsCo volunteering days coming up soon, not to mention the challenges and social events.

What’s your next challenge?

I’m trying to put a campaign together to set a world first and fastest 8-female row across the Atlantic! I really want to break that 30 day barrier for an E-W Atlantic row - a bit like the four minute mile run!

What’s your desert island luxury?

Chocolate - always! What’s your office luxury? Coffee! A necessity not just a luxury.

Badger Elin about all things CSR on Twitter here @Elinhafdavies