Get to know our new Director of Strategy – Julie Goddard

Our Place are excited to announce a new appointment to the Director’s Board with Julie Goddard joining us as our new Director of Strategy.

Julie was born and bred in Birmingham, with strong social roots in Birmingham’s community and culture. Her ancestors worked for Cadbury, a local business that demonstrated what corporate responsibility can provide by supporting her grandmother with a place at night school. Julie says that “social justice runs all the way back with me” and her personal and family values are very fitting for the values that Our Place also hold ourselves accountable to. 

Julie knew Stella Munro, Director of Community for Our Place, and Kelly Round, through networking groups, and fortuitously discovered this vacancy through that connection. Julie and Kelly soon realised the complementary wealth of skills and experience that Julie had for the Director position through her experience and training in non-executive director roles. Julie’s day job is as an Executive Coach, working solely with female leaders. She helps bring teams together, doing a lot of work around business strategy and direction. Julie is a qualified business psychologist and has a degree in English. This fusion of language and psychology is an asset to the work Julie does, alongside her knowledge of organisational change, strategy and talent management. Connecting with people and knowing what your strengths are are so important to a strong, cohesive team. Being an accredited strengths practitioner, Julie knows how to assess people’s strengths, so that teams can be organised around what individuals are good at, maximising their skills. Proudly working with leaders that break the mould of stereotypical business, Julie affirms that strong leadership hugely relies on caring about the work you do. There’s great opportunities in drawing the two worlds of corporate business and CIC’s together as it can create a wider impact for positive change. In tune with Our Place’s ethos of ensuring that work is done with heart, conversations were had with Julie around what energises her; the Director of Strategy is a position that she knew she would be able to channel her interests and knowledge into. 

Julie’s first leadership position was in the education sector, and she has experience working in schools and for Ofsted. She purposely chose to work at schools where she knew she could make a difference. Authentic leadership is living true to your values and putting the person your work serves at the centre. When asked about what being a Director and joining the Board is like, Julie says it’s about bringing a ‘fresh set of eyes to challenge thinking; sometimes it’s simply about asking a question, keeping focus on the right thing and making fully informed decisions’. The Director’s Board contains a diversity of experience essential to high quality thought and ideas; a big part of being a director is about bringing your skills and strategic thinking into a situation that you’re not contextually familiar with. Indeed, Julie assures those who would be interested in the Director of Finance position that if you have the relevant skills and shared values, Our Place is a fantastic place to learn about the third sector and navigate a potentially new environment, because the team will welcome, invite and support you. 

Paying it forward is a message Julie champions and is a core part of rebuilding our community together post-pandemic. “Everywhere is not like Our Place; Our Place is special.” Julie recalls a moment not long after she joined where a group message was sent out to Directors saying they had to make a decision whether to help support children who were arriving from Afghanistan, as this offer of support is outside the usual realm of Our Place work. All the directors said yes and, sometimes, simply saying yes and making an immediate decision based on care, means we are able to make change.

When asked what advice she would give to someone considering applying for the Director of Finance vacancy, Julie says: “definitely apply!” The atmosphere at Our Place is “if you’re thinking it, ask it”, so you can be assured that the work environment is inclusive and welcomes personal development. It’s a brilliant opportunity to use your skillset to make a difference. “There’s a million and one places you can take your skillset, but if you can improve things for another person, that’s something we should all do.” As Julie says, there needs to be a reason behind your work, and the Directors are a strong team who value each other and wholeheartedly work to make a positive difference.

Applications for the Director of Finance Strategy are open! As a social enterprise, we are seeking individuals who are keen to invest in our local community. If you have skills/experience in Finance Strategy and would like to know more, take a look at the full details in the link.