GoAbroad Interview

Steph Burns - Senior Projects & Communications Manager

Steph Burns - Senior Projects & Communications Manager

Steph is extremely passionate about supporting young people in her role with Future Foundations. She believes that everyone has a part to play in inspiring young people to reach their full potential, and exudes this belief through her daily work. During her time with Future Foundations, Steph has project managed Global Social Leaders for two consecutive years and has seen first-hand the life-changing, transformational journey young people experience by participating in this unique leadership program, which inspires her to continue to expand the reach of Future Foundations.

Your work experience ranges from nannying to teaching to sports coaching. How did you end up working for Future Foundations (FF)?

I joined FF in May 2014. I had previously worked as a nanny, teacher, and childcare recruitment consultant, and wanted to use my experience with an organisation that were having a positive impact on leadership and aspirations of young people.

Future Foundations Global Social Leaders 2015

Celebrating with the participants from GSL 2015

You are in a bit of a multifaceted role. What does a typical day of work look like for you?

The days vary hugely! If we are nearing a programme delivery, then I might be packing resources, updating the staff with session plans, booking travel, liaising with the client and/or venue for any last minute changes, and ensuring the participants have all the joining instructions they need. Behind the scenes we create leadership programmes that empower young people to become leaders of themselves, and others, so I could be creating new content, writing timetables, recruiting for staff, developing staff training plans, ensuring our social media platforms are sharing our stories, and managing our network.

In your role, how do you make sure Future Foundations continues to inspire young people and fulfill the organization’s mission?

I am very fortunate in my role that I get to see a project from start to finish. We work hard to evaluate the impact of our programmes, collecting data from the participants, clients, and staff, and measuring the attitudinal shift of the participants against our principles and the aims of the programmes. I am also lucky that I can often visit our programmes in action and see the young people step out of their comfort zones, start taking risks, and exploring the opportunities around them.

Future Foundations Global Social Leaders staff

Working on GSL 2015 with a fantastic staff team

What is the biggest impact that the GSL program has on participants?

I think it’s the relationships that they form with each other. They go from strangers from around the world to forming extremely trusting and strong bonds in a matter of days, through the workshops our fantastic coaches deliver. These relationships allow them to create incredible social action projects that they have the confidence, and tool kit, to then go on and deliver once they are home.

In your opinion, why do participants walk away from GSL “transformed”?

GSL creates a huge network of support for the participants, not only from each other but including the GSL staff team, the teachers, and the guest speakers they meet throughout the programme.

They suddenly realise they are not alone, they are surround by others who want to make a positive change in the world, and this gives them the self belief to go on and achieve real change in their community.

What do you think makes Future Foundations unique from other leadership training programs?

Since 2014, we have worked with tens of thousands of young people, from a huge range of social, academic, and cultural backgrounds. Our participants go on to be alumni on our programmes, volunteering and some of them have then progressed to becoming coaches with us. The FF journey is never ending and we support our young people to live and breathe the FF principles.

Steph Burns presenting an award at the Future Foundations Annual Awards

Presenting a GSL award at the Future Foundations’ Annual Awards

What inspires you in your daily work?

Every day I am blown away to see what the participants who have attended GSL, and other FF programmes, go on to achieve. Many of them run social action projects, fundraising events, run their own societies, travel the world, and/or attend their dream university. They have this amazing drive to fight for positive change and lead those around them.

Is there anything new we can look forward to from Future Foundations in 2016?

We are very excited to be launching the first GSL Catalyst programme in June, a three day residential focusing on global leadership foundations and planning for global social action. We will be announcing further GSL Catalyst’s in locations around the world later in the year!