Skip to content

My SDF Story with Amanda Finn

Where do you work and what is your role?

I am an Organisation Development Adviser, in the Human Resources and Organisation Development Team at Durham University.

When did you join the SDF?

I joined the SDF when I joined York St John University probably around 2010/2011.

Why did you want to join the SDF?

York St John was my first role in Higher Education, having previously worked in the NHS and in both banking and insurance, so I was keen to join, in order to network with colleagues from other Universities and to share ideas.

What’s the best thing about the SDF?

I love the supportive community, the sharing of ideas and resources and information that being a member of the SDF brings. Networking with colleagues from other institutions and the genuine kindness and feeling of collaboration is brilliant.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working with my line manager of a refresh of our internal coaching network, along with work on Menopause and Menstrual Health and wellbeing generally in the workplace.

What does a typical day look like?

Is there one in Organisation Development? A day might involve a collaboration meeting with my OD Colleagues, followed by a mentor meeting with an Aurora participant, or the delivery of a virtual Wellbeing Café or a face to face “Menopause for Managers” workshop. All part of a busy but enjoyable day!

Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career.

The event that changed the course of both my career and my life was the birth of my son, Calum. It changed my outlook on life and my priorities for the better and I think I bring that into my work today, even though he is 27 now!

The person who has influenced you the most is…

Apart from my late father and my husband who have both influenced me in a positive way, I have met lots of brilliant role models throughout my career, some of whom I now work with as colleagues at Durham.

Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?

I like keeping fit, walking, swimming and go to twice a week to Ballroom and Latin dance classes with my husband. We like tango, quickstep, rumba and cha-cha-cha!

Something about you people would find surprising.

That I am a huge fan of ballet. We go to see the Northern Ballet as much as we can but have also been to the ballet at the State Opera House in Prague and more recently in Budapest at the Hungarian State Opera. My dream trip would be to the Royal Opera House in London to see the Royal Ballet.

What’s your greatest fear?

Being trapped in a cave or pothole when the only way out is to crawl through a really small space. I had a colleague in the NHS who went cave diving as a hobby, I couldn’t think of anything worse!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Apart from my husband and son, and his girlfriend, I would invite Martine Wright, the 7/7 bomb survivor who lost both legs in the blast, I’ve seen her speak and she is inspirational, I would invite Nicola Adams, medal winning boxer and Strictly star and Si King from the Hairy Bikers as well as Mick Hucknall from Simply Red to provide the entertainment.

What would your super-power be? 

To teleport, no airport queues, no traffic, just straight from one place to another. Magic!

What’s your favourite/least favourite food?

I love cheese, any cheese, strong, soft but a favourite is Yorkshire Blue. I don’t like red meat and have never eaten it since being a child.

What’s the worst job you ever had?

When I was at college doing my A Levels, I worked on a Frozen Food stall in Dewsbury market. It was freezing (frozen food and outside !!) especially in the winter although the people I worked with were brilliant!

What thing would improve the quality of your life?

Less rain and more sun, I love being outside in lovely sunny weather. It makes everyone happier.

What’s coming next for you?

More work around both Menopause and Wellbeing, hopefully with an exciting event to plan for later in the year. More on developing coaching at the University. Personally, I have a big birthday in June and am looking forward to a special trip to celebrate.