Going solo



Six years ago today I was was made redundant from a job I loved, a ‘proper’ job with a P45 and what I thought was real security….. ‘a job for life’.

I was manager of a learning centre at the White Rose Shopping Centre employed by the local authority. Over 7 years I had set up the resource from scratch. Delivering out-of-school-hours learning programmes to young people who were totally switched off from school life. It was fantastic! We used performing arts to build confidence, learn about life, develop skills, socialise and gain qualifications. I won awards on the back of this innovative programme and was incredibly proud of all it achieved.

I had previously worked for the NHS as a nursery nurse at the staff nurseries in Leeds Teaching Hospitals, so always had the comfort of a public sector job, working as part of a department allowing someone else from up on high to take the crap when something went wrong (which it inevitably does)…. perfectly happy to turn up for work everyday then go home ….. although I never really switched off (you never really do when you work with people and you know your work has an impact on their lives).

I was on maternity leave when the redundancy letter dropped on the doormat, expecting my second baby, so you can only imagine how it felt to hear the news I was going to lose a very good regular income……

IT WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME! It honestly felt like someone had taken the bottom out of my world and I was spiralling down with no clue where I was going to land…. it was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Time for a career change, transferring my skills into a new world…..I researched like mad about setting up my own business, dabbled a bit with social enterprise, spent my time with other business people and surrounded myself with like minded people, people I aspired to be like…….

Then, OLIO was eventually born….

OLIO DEFINITION: Olio ˈəʊlɪəʊ noun

  1. 1.
    a highly spiced stew of various meats and vegetables originating from Spain and Portugal.
  2. 2.
    a miscellaneous collection of things.

Author: Rachael Kennedy

As a keen ambassador for empowering communities and enabling local business growth, Rachael founded Olio Projects Ltd, delivering first class project management for SMEs, larger corporates and organisations. Rachael's ongoing contracts include Town Centre Management for Morley, working with local businesses and partners to promote the town as a key destination for retail, leisure and culture. More recently, Rachael worked with the Leeds BID team, involved in place management and developing relationships with trade and commerce in Leeds city centre. As a busy mum of two, Rachael is also proud to be the first President of Morley Women's Institute, set up in 2015 to bring exciting new opportunities to the town for women of all ages.

2 thoughts on “Going solo”

  1. Well done for all you have achieved Rachael. I know your positive outlook and ‘can do’ attitude have led you to the successful business woman you are today. Loving the Blog which I am sure will inspire others as well. x

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