Isabelle Parasram: Time… well spent

Liberal Democrat Vice President Isabelle Parasram announces her move to Social Value UK.

Almost everyone I know has experienced a defining moment during lockdown.

We now recognise the value of so much we’ve taken for granted – green spaces, our freedoms, key workers, our loved ones… even the air that we breathe.

I’ve always dreamed of being at the helm of an organisation that creates grassroots change. I’d put that dream on hold for years, believing what I’d been told – that it would take years of applications and competition would be too fierce. I was also content to postpone my dream, because my roles within law, education and politics were extremely fulfilling. I felt I was already making a difference where it mattered.

However, during this pandemic period, I lost a member of my household. This was not due to COVID, but to a tragic set of circumstances. Something shifted. This was a defining moment. I rediscovered the value of my time that I can’t get it back or create more of it.

So I chose to pursue my dream by applying for the role of CEO of Social Value UK and, after a gruelling 8-part assessment process, I was offered the job (well ahead of ‘schedule’)!

Social Value UK aims to ensure that organisations are accountable for their impact on people and the environment. I’ve advocated in the arenas of justice, equality, education and poverty for most of my career, so my new role is a perfect fit for me. I’ll have the chance to guide and resource organisations, individuals and society in recognising the value of social, environmental and corporate responsibility through the decisions that we make. Harish Manwani, COO of Unilever, captures it well in his TED talk Profit’s not always the point’.

My appointment means that I’ll have to step down from some of my roles sooner than I’d anticipated. With the full support of Social Value UK’s Board, I’ve offered to stay in post in my current roles until the Autumn. I intend to complete my pending projects, conduct a proper handover and be available to my successors so that I can pass the baton on effectively.

So, although the next few months may bring some uncertainty for us all, I hope that they will also bring a sense of excitement and opportunity.

I’m looking forward to forging a new path, not only in my world but in the world of leadership. I will share my role with Crispen Sachikonye, who, like me, breaks the ‘traditional’ CEO mould. The way we were recruited, the set-up of our roles and the mandate we’ve been given have created an environment for success and demonstrate inclusivity in a way that breaks new ground (more of that particular story later!)

I want to say “thank you” for your support and encouragement along the way – especially to those of you who are members of one of my teams. I won’t be posting a long stream of ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Thankyous’ because, even though I won’t have the titles I had before, I’ll continue to be a part of every community that I’ve led, worked in or volunteered with over the past few years.

With my new perspective of the value of time, I’d describe those years as time… well spent.

* Isabelle Parasram is the Vice President of the Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 11th Jun '21 - 9:31am

    Isabelle this is sad and good news. sad to see you go but good news for you. I have always supported you because I thought you were very capable and I am sure that you will do an excellent job as the new CEO. I am sorry to see you leave and wish you all the best for the future.

    Take care

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