There have been some big changes at WeMindTheGap recently; Ali Wheeler, our new CEO, has arrived and Diane has begun her role as Chief Impact Officer. Although her first team Zoom call didn’t too smoothly (in typical Zoom fashion), Ali has leapt into things with both feet and has been spending a lot of time getting to know each of us individually as well as the three programmes of WeMindTheGap.

Last Monday, it was the turn of our WeDiscover team to introduce Ali to our world. This was a helpful process for us as we’re in-between programmes so it refreshed us on the extent of what WeDiscover has to offer. We began by welcoming Ali onto a WeDiscover session, introducing her to some of our recent Gappies with a game of Answer the Rainbow. This involves drawing a sweet from a bag of Skittles and answering a question based on what colour you chose. Your dream house? The worst film you’ve seen? Or would you rather have a hand made of ham or an armpit that dispensed suncream? Given the recent heatwave, I know which I’d choose.

I then took Ali on a virtual tour of the Discovery Village, our online portal where you can login to sessions, play games, and find out more about the WeDiscover community. This was a great opportunity for someone with fresh eyes to check it out as you can get a little used to something when you see it everyday. Someone new may notice things that you’ve overlooked all this time. I’m sure there’s a wise quote you can get from that if you put your mind to it.

Next, we revealed our Discovery Box. This is the introductory box that arrives at our Gappies’ doors when they begin a programme with us. It arrives in a beautiful box with each Gappie’s name on and contains all sorts that will be helpful for the programme, such as pens, notepads, headphones, and maybe even a stress ball. Many young people rarely receive their own post so these boxes are a brilliant present to arrive at their doors.

The team then sat with Ali to give her a rundown on the history of WeDiscover. Since it’s beginning as Future Factory, back in September 2020, it’s changed a great deal so it’s important to know the twists and turns we’ve taken to get where we are now. We’ve changed localities, starting in Wrexham, then to Cheshire, back to Wrexham with Conwy too, and now covering the whole of North Wales in our next programme. The age range has changed too, from 16-18 up to accepting 25 year-olds, as we do now. Throughout this time, we’ve learnt a lot along the way so it was an enlightening process to discuss where we’ve come from with Ali.
We ended our day with some 1:1 time with the new CEO. I thought this was an excellent idea and clear that Ali reflects the WeMindTheGap spirit. By taking some time to get to know each of us individually – our interests, aspirations, and ideas – it shows that we’re all vital parts of the team and everyone has something to offer.

It was always going to be tough to fill a role that Diane fitted so well but Ali seems like a perfect match to take the reigns at WeMindTheGap. Diane will be staying with us, of course, so I’m excited to see where things will go with our new Chief Impact Officer.

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