Keisha is our Development Director. We chatted with her to find out more about her background before coming to Cambodia, what she has been doing at JWOC so far, and to talk about what she plans to do in her new role up until the end of 2020 and into 2021.
- Can you introduce yourself a little bit?
My name is Keisha and I am JWOC’s Development Director. I am originally from Sri Lanka and spent the first 18 years of my life there. After that, I moved to Edinburgh to study my undergraduate degree in Social Policy & Politics, as well as my postgraduate degree in Health Policy & Inequalities. After graduating I wanted to return to Asia, and so I joined the JWOC team in 2018 as the Fundraising and Communications Manager. I found the work at JWOC really interesting, and so I’ve been here ever since.
2. How do you feel when you get promoted to be a Development Director at JWOC?
I was really excited to move up into a leadership position. What I love most about JWOC is how many opportunities there are to grow. I want to take this opportunity to thank Kneath for focusing on my professional development, for encouraging me to challenge the status quo and to find new ways of thinking. I am excited to carry his legacy with me, to build the capacity of a local Fundraising & Communications Team who can develop their skills and abilities.
3. What are the types of things you do on a daily basis?
My main priority at JWOC is to raise funds for our youth development activities, which involves communicating regularly with our donors and partners. The role has 4 main areas, including: fundraising, communications, partnerships, and organizational development. The role is boundless; some days I can be extremely busy with writing proposals for our top donors or searching for grant opportunities. On other days, I might dedicate some time to meeting with different NGOs about how we can collaborate, or speak to our students to collect case studies about our impact. I also work closely with JWOC’s Communications Officer to build their skills in taking photographs or writing for social media.
4. What has been exciting and/or challenging this new role?
In the past, I focused more on implementation, measurement and evaluation, while supporting our Executive Director with the strategic side of things. This new role has been exciting and challenging because I now have to think strategically about how to raise awareness of our work and build relationships with external audiences including our donors, supporters and potential partners.
5. How has your experience working for JWOC been so far?
I have only been working at JWOC for about 2 years, but it has been one of the greatest opportunities to learn more about Cambodia, to come back to my roots in Asia, and to engage with the organization in so many ways outside of my role. If this first month in the role has been any indication of what to expect, I am looking forward to the next year even more!
6. What do you want to achieve from this role and how will you support the JWOC Team?
Every single one of our staff, students, and supporters are ambassadors for our work, and so my focus will be on helping them feel more confident to share the impact JWOC is having on youth in Siem Reap. In short, I will be focusing on building JWOC’s brand, working towards more sustainable partnerships, and helping my team build their skills.
7. What advice would you give to the youth?
As a young person, you may have certain plans for your life and career, but I would encourage you to be open to the opportunities that are available. Especially for the young women out there, don’t hesitate to seek out new possibilities and to take full advantage of them as a chance to learn and grow.