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A charity walk full of steps to self-care

Karla Smith, Finance Director of Ogilvy UK and Treasurer of NABS on finding a route to self-care while raising funds for the ad industry; how you can look after yourself in these times while looking after your colleagues.

Karla Smith, Ogilvy UK // NABS

Finance Director // Treasurer

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A game of two halves. It was definitely one of those. A Sunday morning family stroll; backpacks with teddies peeking out of the top; I spy; A pitstop for ice cream and coffee (take away of course); The alphabet game – English Football team beginning with J anyone? That one really had us stumped. A few hours later as we neared home and the end of the first half of the journey the legs began to ache and the whinging (small children, not me) got more frequent.

Then the second half began. Children and husband safely ensconced on the sofa with devices and snacks aplenty. I carried on.

When an email from NABS came through inviting volunteers to take on the 2.6 challenge, I knew straightaway that I wanted to participate. I wanted to help raise funds at a time when lots of charitable organisations are facing an enormous increase in demand and unpredictable and often declining revenues. My employers, Ogilvy, are NABS supporters; in difficult times like these I want to do my bit as a solo fundraiser too.

So, fired up, I said ‘I’ll walk!’ but 2.6miles didn’t seem far enough and 26 miles a leap too far. I settled on 26,000 steps. A challenge but not an unsurmountable one.

The second half of my route took me up leafy streets, into corners of my neighbourhood that I hadn’t explored before. A secluded pond I’ve only ever glanced at from the car, a row of cottages that would have sheltered families through the Spanish flu pandemic over a century ago.

Weeks of navigating remote working, home schooling, the revolving cycle of meals, family quizzes, online exercise classes and I hadn’t even realised that during all that time I had never been alone.

Karla Smith

As I strode along the pavement, it struck me. This was the first time in six weeks that I had an hour to myself. The first time I had been completely on my own for more than a quick trip to the corner shop. And it was glorious. Weeks of navigating remote working, home schooling, the revolving cycle of meals, family quizzes, online exercise classes and I hadn’t even realised that during all that time I had never been alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra time with my boys, and seeing my colleagues’ faces on a screen brings a great sense of togetherness in these unexpected circumstances. But I need time to think, time to reflect, time to just let my mind meander. And walking on that Sunday afternoon reminded me just how important that is.

As a finance director the last few months have been beyond hectic. Forecast on top of forecast, daily changes to government initiatives to keep on top of, scenario planning, all of the ‘what ifs?’. It has been busy. My head has been full. An hour alone gave me time and space to revive. I’m not fully revived, I need more, but what I was reminded of was that time to myself is essential. It gives me energy to face the challenges ahead and to think about more than just the immediate decisions that need to be taken.

So, thank you to NABS for reminding me of that, and thank you to every single person who donates to our industry charity.

And for those of you juggling throughout these demanding times; give yourself a break, alone, if you can, without a screen to scroll through. Enjoy your walk and let your mind wander at the same time as your feet.

#NABSNeedsYou, to donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/nabs

Guest Author

Karla Smith, Ogilvy UK // NABS

Finance Director // Treasurer,

About

Karla Smith is Finance Director of Ogilvy UK and Treasurer of NABS, the support organisation for the advertising and media industry. At Ogilvy, Karla spearheaded the business transformation that helped transform Ogilvy into a modern and commercially successful business. In her role at NABS, Karla oversees all aspects of the organisation’s financial operations and reporting, ensuring ensures NABS’ sustainability through the effective management of its fundraising and investment activities and evolving service provision.

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