Catherine Henderson specialises in business development in the third sector. She has been a TMP Member under various guises over the years and is currently Hot Desking with us as part of her work with Place2Be.
“I spend a lot of time racking my brain, trying to get creative and The Melting Pot is a really good space to do that in.”
When did you join The Melting Pot?
I joined The Melting Pot because I had a desk space downstairs, actually in Thorn House, and Claire (Carpenter TMP founder and Managing Director) kept engaging me in conversation about The Melting Pot and how brilliant it was. You probably don’t want to say that, but she came and approached me! I’m trying to think when that was, I reckon, that was 6 or 7 years ago, a long time ago. I loved the physical space actually, the light and right from the beginning it had a really good vibe about it. It just felt so different. It got away from that whole: this is your desk this is where you can sit. It’s much more fluid, much more creative. It’s a creative space it has that aura of creativity. I do business development and spend a lot of time racking my brain, trying to get creative and it’s a really good space to do that in.
Can you tell me a bit about what you do?
I specialise in business development for charities and I help them grow and sustain and help them connect to the right people at the right time. I’ve done that for a range of voluntary sectors over the years. My space, currently, at The Melting Pot is through one of those clients and that’s Place2Be. The most amazing organisation, that provides early intervention emotional support and counselling in areas of very high social deprivation throughout the UK.
Place2Be in 282 schools around the UK, reaching a school population of 116,000 children. We help schools to raise their capacity and help them become mentally healthy environments for children. We support parents as well, every adult around the child. We want to support them to help the children become as mentally healthy as they can be.
What sort of impact has membership at The Melting Pot had on you?
It helps me, as I said, in terms of my creativity. It is a group space to think through ideas and check them out and talk to other members about them. It’s connected me to people that have helped Place2Be as an organisation, even a wonderful photographer that came and photographed at a parliamentary reception. It helps us extend our network and create partnerships. So that’s fantastic.
I’ve met inspiring people at The Melting Pot, like David Drysdale (founder of Fathers Network Scotland who sadly passed away in 2016), who will forever be someone that I think about in an extremely aspirational way. I think it just helps you embed into the sector and understand the fast paced changes and just how creative it is, just how dynamic the sector is. I feel like I get that every time I come in to The Melting Pot, it wouldn’t be too much to say that. You’re your hearing conversations, you’re not always in them, but you’re hearing conversations taking place and it just kind of gets into your blood a little bit because of that.
Is that your favourite thing about being a member of The Melting Pot?
Yeah and you know meeting people like Claire (Carpenter) and actually seeing her journey within The Melting Pot. Like every journey it’s had its ups and downs and seeing her kind of come through that and now be inspired to look at what the global opportunities are from this, that’s a slice of inspiration in itself. I think particularly when you are doing business development not everything works all the time and you have to learn from all of that. Being in an environment where others are doing that and actually the Managing Director, when you actually see her doing that. She’s modelling that for the 3rd sector and for business developers like me. If you’re thinking hang on a minute, this isn’t quite working, or you know something isn’t going as you wanted it to that’s a very useful inspiration to have around you.
Do you have a favourite memory of The Melting Pot?
After 3 years of being out of The Melting Pot coming back as a member again and within the first few weeks attending an event that was a memorial event for David Drysdale. Seeing the range of people that had connected to him through the connections he’d made at The Melting Pot – one more reminder about the sector’s diversity, energy and the sheerly brilliant people it embraces.