Sonya Byers – CEO of Women In Transport
What have been the main professional challenges that you’ve encountered throughout this pandemic?
As a non-profit company, and due to the way we operate, we were not eligible for any of the Government reliefs and funding. At the same time, many of our corporate supporters have frozen external spend and employees have been furloughed.
At the same time, we are passionate and committed to continuing to support our members and network through this difficult time. Our main offer to members is an extensive events programme which is planned almost a year in advance and focussed on in-person events. Almost overnight, we had to completely rethink our strategy and programme and very quickly enact a programme of events and communications to support our members. With just two part-time members of staff and a small team of volunteers under pressure themselves it has been a challenge.
How did you first hear about AMOC? How did you find out about the journaling project and what initially appealed to you about the concept?
I have known about A Matter of Choice for over a year as the co-founders are members of Women in Transport. Karen and Lesley reached out to let me know about the project as something that we could share with our membership network. I loved the idea of capturing the lessons learnt and experience of leaders and businesses during this unprecedented time and trying to find some positive strategies and learning from that experience.
What were your key motivations for starting this journaling project? What did you hope to gain from it?
I thought it would be a positive and proactive way to reflect and learn from the pandemic and get some independent/objective views on that experience.
How has keeping a journal made you feel personally? Has the experience brought out both positive and negative emotions?
I have found it a positive experience to download my thoughts each week and spend some time to reflect on what's been happening for me personally and for our organisation professionally during this time. It hasn't raised any negative emotions - during this time there are natural ups and downs.
What behaviours/decisions have you changed in recent weeks based on your own journal reflections? Or, what do you plan to change in the weeks ahead, if anything?
I am not sure that I have specifically changed decisions but it has made me aware and conscious of the need to take time out and not get too overwhelmed by everything that is happening - to concentrate on what I can control.
Do you think that keeping a journal has helped your own personal and professional growth at this time and if so, how?
I think it has helped just to take a few minutes to reflect and to question the decisions that we've been making during this time.
How have you found the support from AMOC throughout the project?
AMOC has been great. It was really helpful to have the coaching chat with Karen and Lesley and delve a bit deeper into what's been happening during the crisis.
Do you think journaling is something that you would keep up in the longer term as part of ongoing professional and personal development?
Possibly. I'm pregnant and have also been journaling for the baby and there has been something really calming about the whole process even if it is just taking five minutes each week to reflect on the week gone by.
Has the process been what you expected? If not, how has it been different?
I wasn't really sure what the process would be like or what I would get from it but I have appreciated the opportunity to pause and reflect during a very uncertain and difficult time.