Good work stories: Rhiannon Robinson – The People Powerhouse
The Do Good Jobs team has grown recently, so this month we’re featuring Rhiannon Robinson, the new Do Good Jobs Business Development Manager.
Rhiannon lights up explaining why she loves her job. Which, of course, is what Do Good Jobs is all about. On why, she says,
“The opportunity to make amazing things happen in Aotearoa by connecting talented people with companies and organisations doing good? Who could not love that?”
Working with people has been the common thread through Rhiannon’s career. She holds a Cultural Anthropology degree and put it to good use working for AFS New Zealand, coordinating outgoing student exchange programmes, and as an imported and devoted Wellingtonian – working for two iconic institutions, Wellington Zoo and Wellington Museum.
Rhiannon’s last role was a wild ride during COVID19’s emergence in 2020. She was working in the Careers and Employment Team at Victoria University of Wellington where she supported new graduates to take the first steps into their careers. Rhiannon and her team modeled resilience and working creatively for their student clients during lockdown, which made success of seeing the job offers coming in extra satisfying. “It also really highlighted how crucial building a community is, for both hiring and job seeking. People really want that genuine, deep connection.”
Career – so much more than an income
I asked Rhiannon what the key points were in leading to her dream role with Do Good Jobs.
She reflected for a heartbeat, then said, “My time in the Careers Team at Victoria University and being a volunteer job mentor for English Language Partners. This work taught me how much of a cornerstone career is in people’s lives. It’s so essential for our sense of self, well-being and even for building our community. It’s about so much more than an income.”
Life learnings in a pub
Volunteering continues to be a huge part of Rhiannon’s career. Her love of the mentoring work is clear, she has volunteered for the Red Cross and used to run networking events for Women in Leadership Aotearoa.
Connecting and empowering people are clearly among Rhiannon’s superpowers. These talents and a fascination with what makes humans tick started early in life. Rhiannon worked at a local pub from the age of 15 and says, “I’ve always been in ‘people’ roles, connecting people with experiences and feeding off that energy. It made me who I am, I think. Hospo also builds incredible resilience, if you can deal with drunk people – nothing will ever phase you again!”
She has a point. Cue the laugh-cry emoji.
“If you’re values-led, Do Good Jobs is the ultimate go-to.”
Rhiannon first discovered Do Good Jobs via Google. “I think I was putting all these search terms into Google like ‘job where you actually help people’ and ‘job making a difference’, Do Good Jobs came up in that search”. She liked the Facebook page, signed up for the enewsletter and has followed ever since.
In the years of being a Do Good Jobs fan, Rhiannon frequented the site herself and with career mentees. She found the Do Good Jobs blog a treasure trove of helpful material and tools and has flicked many links to friends and family. Rhiannon said, “When I found out how small the team is I was gobsmacked, it punches way above! If you’re values-led, Do Good Jobs is the ultimate go-to.”
Pay transparency paving the way to pay equity
“The thing that stood out to me the most was the job ad, I’ve seen hundreds of them through my careers work and it was so refreshing to see a job explained so well, genuine values being expressed, the expectations set out clearly, no terrible buzzwords, the actual salary band IN the ad. I’m a huge believer that we need pay transparency to get to pay equity. When I saw the ad I was like, hell yes!” She started crafting her application immediately.
Those deeply ensconced in the sector love to be asked their thoughts on its biggest challenges. Rhiannon was no exception. Her top two were staff retention and what she describes as lack of connectedness. She went on to explain,
“Staff retention is such a huge one for NFP’s and for-purpose organisations. Budgets and salaries can be low and the risk of burn-out high. It is so important to look after the professional development and workplace well-being of staff. Managers have huge amounts on their plates so don’t always give these crucial things the attention they need. It leads to expensive attrition and losing great people, often the superstars.
By connectedness I mean the amount of repetition and common causes you see in the Do Good sector. Organisations are getting funded to do essentially the same thing. I’d love to see more collaboration.”
You can see why Rhiannon’s perspective, experience and insights are right at home at Do Good Jobs.
“I’ve come to realise that I’m deeply values-led in my professional life. If I have a job that’s clashing with my values it really impacts my well-being and stops me from achieving at my highest level.”
Reader, Rhiannon is in the right role, working with the right people.