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My SDF Story – Amanda Elikowski


Where do you work and what is your role?

I work at Keele University and I’m the Organisational Development Officer.

When did you join the SDF?

I joined the SDF shortly after starting in my current role in 2018. I have delivered and developed training in my previous HR roles however, the SDF is a great place to network and hear from like-minded people.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m really lucky to have an incredibly varied role and a line manager who is always encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone. Within my role I am involved in liaising with areas to update and renew our online learning, including mandatory modules. I’ve also recently completed the Level 5 Coaching Professional Apprenticeship and am now looking to develop our internal coaching academy. I get to be creative when developing and delivering team building events to support organisational change and I’m also the Chair of our Technician Commitment Steering Group. I also deliver several workshops as part of our open core programme.

What does a typical day look like?

A typical day is really varied which keeps my role interesting and engaging. This week I have delivered coaching sessions, workshops and also updated online training modules as well as responding to the daily emails. Although every day is busy, I always make time to have a break in the middle of the day, which is especially important when working from home.

Which person has influenced you the most?

This is probably cheating but there isn’t one person as it’s my parents. They have instilled a strong work ethic in me and have always believed and encouraged me with my career and life choices. I’m very lucky but to always have that support which is incredibly important to me is probably why I want to help and support others.

Work life balance?

Now there’s a mix of working from home and on campus it’s really important to me to make sure I still get out on the days I’m working at home. Therefore, I decided it was the perfect time to get a dog and welcomed 11 year old Ziggy the Beagle into the house. He’s been here for a couple of years and is the perfect working from home buddy as he sleeps all day but makes sure to let me know when he wants a walk or feeding. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family, ideally with some eating of cake involved.

What’s your greatest fear?

Falling, without a doubt my greatest fear is falling but apparently that’s innate so surely I’m just keeping myself safe!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

My dream dinner party would ideally be cooked by someone else so I can enjoy it! To join me I’d invite Elton John for the music and interesting stories he could tell about his life and career, Joanna Lumley because she’s had an incredible career and Patrick Stewart because I think he’s amazing!

What would your super-power be? 

If I had a super power it would be to read minds, knowing what people are really thinking but not saying would be fascinating! I’d need to be able to turn it on and off though, I don’t always want to know what they’re thinking.

What’s your favourite/least favourite food?

Although I’m a massive fan of carbohydrates – there’s something very delicious about freshly baked bread – I very much do love chocolate. Champagne truffles, or homemade truffles are simply wonderful!

What’s the worst job you ever had?

When I was younger, I tried a career in door-to-door sales.  I only lasted 2 weeks because I couldn’t handle the rejection. However, I look back at that time I realise how much I learnt. It was something I never thought I’d try, I had to learn to communicate with a range of people and, possibly most importantly, it taught me to always find the positives in different situations and use every experience as an opportunity to learn.

What thing would improve the quality of your life?

Someone constantly telling me the time so I’m not running around trying not to be late!

What’s coming next for you?

My next challenge will be developing the coaching and mentoring provision available at Keele and promoting the positive impact it can have on both parties. This is something I feel quite strongly about because I know how important it is to have a fantastic mentor or coach and how it can help someone to feel empowered and go on to do their best.