Working Life: Jo Beaumont on minibus expertise and 18-hour days

The chief executive of Community Transport wants to be a visible presence in the organisation, which she has recently led through a restructure

I worked for a regeneration organisation in Leeds before moving to Community Transport 18 months ago as operations director – I was appointed chief executive in December.

I love the variety of people that I meet through my work – I can be meeting the chief executive of a national umbrella organisation before chatting with a volunteer driver.

I'm based in Halifax, but at least once a week I get up at 5.30am to visit one of our 10 sites. My regular presence ensures that I'm accessible to our employees and volunteers. I work with five trustees who are present at formal meetings but who also want close involvement with the organisation in between meetings and are in frequent contact to talk over issues. I believe it's essential that, as an organisation, we interact well with each other and with the people who use our services.

At our sites I reacquaint myself with the details and often ask drivers to talk me through their vehicle checks. Soon after joining the organisation I took one of our minibus driver courses to experience the quality of our training and understand more about the practical side of the service that we provide.

As part of my policy of being visible, I felt it was important to meet staff members affected by our recent restructure. In the end there were very few compulsory redundancies out of more than 100 staff.

When I am away from head office, I schedule meetings with local supporters, funders and potential contractors. It can be an 18-hour day and I often work up to 10 hours in the office; but developing the organisation – now in its 50th year – is a challenge that requires time and commitment from all of us.

We regularly call on staff to volunteer at weekends and I lead by example by volunteering too. Recently I spent two long, hot days at an event marshalling in the car park with my two teenagers. It's tiring, but I get the opportunity to talk to passengers about how vital our service is.

Community Transport is a social enterprise delivering passenger transport services, providing transport-related training and supplying used furniture and white goods to communities in the West Midlands and north of England

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