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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Celebrating my quarter century of service

This opinion piece is almost 3 years old

Ian McLaughlan gets set to bid farewell to his rewarding career in the sector

I started a most rewarding career as a chief officer in the voluntary children and youth work sectors 25 years ago today, 1 July! I just can’t believe how quick the time has passed since I was appointed to the post of National Director for the BB in Scotland in 1996.

Two career moves later as chief executive of the children’s charity, Early Years Scotland and now with Youth Scotland, where I have been privileged to have been chief executive for the past eight years this month.

As I quietly reflect on this happy milestone, and throughout this period, I am minded of the many wonderful colleagues I have had the pleasure of working alongside in the sector; in the three organisations that I have served, the numerous stakeholders and partners across the sector and not least the trustees and chairs that I have reported to, have been responsible to and have been guided by throughout this past quarter century!

This seems an opportune time to offer my heart-felt and personal thanks to everyone in my various networks, past and present, for the guidance and wisdom I have received and the invaluable experience I have gained in helping each organisation during important periods of their respective histories.

All of these connections and relationships, literally with thousands of colleagues and friends, remind me more than ever today that – as we try and find an end-game to the terrible pandemic that has been Covid-19 – we need to continue to find ways to promote wellbeing in our sector: to be kind to each other; to remember to keep in contact with each other; to offer a helping hand (or even just a timely word spoken at the right time of need). 

I will participate later this month in the ACOSVO Leaders’ Walk, being renamed in honour of my late friend and colleague, Ian Findlay CBE, and will do so relishing the opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues, old and new, as we walk and talk on the important notion of wellbeing in our sector and to those we are responsible for.

As I work through my remaining nine months in post at Youth Scotland – having shared with our board of trustees recently my decision to hang up my chief officer’s hat at the end of the current financial year, in March 2022 – I will hopefully live out those values of friendship, of care and compassion for colleagues and in trying ever so hard to make our society that little bit kinder than it is today.

Ian McLaughlan is chief executive of Youth Scotland    



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