An interview with Zahra Hedges - Business Development \ Enterprise and Communities CEIS

Question 1: From your day to day work, what project, situation, CEIS client or person have you found inspiring?

Answer: Before lockdown, I found meetings very exciting and could fully understand the motivation to set up a social enterprise. However a conversation during lockdown with Kaytie Lilley of Make Do and Grow in Govan left me enthusiastic and determined to capture her inspirational approach.

I can only describe her as extremely progressive with a “can do” attitude despite the challenges presented by COVID 19.  In a calm, reasoned way she has shown innovation and positivity to ensure the organisation can continue to support families with children aged 3-12, to develop their creativity through encouraging re-use and recycle. The collaborative approach and reaching out to make new partnerships has resulted in growth and evolution of services.

I was so inspired by my conversation with Kaytie that I recorded an interview with her to try and bottle that feeling for other people!


Question 2: What trends do you see over the horizon that will impact on the sector?

Answer: The easing of lockdown is both an opportunity and a threat to social enterprises. We know there are people who want to ‘build back better’ and we can provide services and products in a way that allows them to do that. The risk is when we hit the recession and people are forced to make decision purely on affordability. For me, it’s crucial that we can educate and inform customers the power of their purchasing pounds.


Question 3: Why and how did you decide to join this sector?

Answer: Since an early age in my career I was motivated to work for a charity sector but found it difficult to get a foot in the door.  I worked for a while in the mission led private sector as well as having my own business and was delighted to use the skills and experience gained when I became a Business Manager with a social enterprise.  I have never looked back.  It’s how business should work, reinvesting profits, doing good at the heat and having a career in line with my own values. 


Question 4: Outside of work, what interests you?

Answer: I am a single parent and enjoy spending time with my daughter going on (local!) adventures and riding our bikes.  I miss my running club “Glasgow Front Runners”, although it’s probably the after run socialising I miss more than the running!  I read a lot and like many people love spending time with my friends.