What is your job / what field are you in?
I’m a City Improvement District Manager. Basically, I’m behind the scenes facilitating change through strategic relationship development and cultivating crucial partnerships with key stakeholders.
Focus is on solutions driven implementation within the public space environment – placemaking, that aids in public safety, and upliftment of not only the space that people engage with, but also giving consideration to the needs of homeless persons and children on the streets – facilitating access to intervention where this is sought.
The core areas that my role focuses on, is public safety, social development, cleaning and environmental upliftment – finding the interconnected links between these. It’s like this big puzzle where the pieces keep changing.
I need to keep my finger on the pulse in terms of knowing what is happening across all four areas whilst also ensuring compliance and governance.
I work closely with various volunteer portfolio directors, and together we drive mandate specific service implementation and interventions.
Do you need a qualification for it? If yes, what and how long does it take?
Qualification is largely dependent on the area that you operate in, i.e. the needs requirements of the company, the diversity of the sector allows for various qualifications to be beneficial to the role. Most important is the ability to think outside the box whilst still understanding the importance of compliance, and implementation within the legal framework and policies of the country.
How did you get into it?
I ask myself the same question every day!
How long have you been doing this?
Half a decade.
Do you remember when you first started? Tell us a bit about that.
The first few months were some real touch-go moments due to transitional changes. The sector is not for the faint hearted. I’ve dealt with some harsh criticism, including some prejudiced comments from members of the public – including some inhumane expectations, and the nature of the work that we do also brings with it a certain element of risk to one’s own safety.
Do you work for yourself or for a company or organisation?
I work for an Not for Profit Company – governed by City Policy and By-Law as well as the Companies Act of course.
What’s an average day like for you at work?
There is no average day – the environment that I work in is unpredictable, even though I am fortunate in that I manage my own day and therefore have the flexibility to work my way around the unpredictability of it all through my colleagues and the various partners that I work with.
What has been the most memorable moment for you in your career?
I’ve had many memorable moments in my career having worked in both the NPO sector and recruitment sector previously. Currently, each day presents me with a memorable moment due to the nature of the job. Not all memorable moments are positive ones though.
What moment would you like to forget?
I see each moment, good or bad as an opportunity to grow and learn as an individual – I am an observer, this skill is the key to my success and therefore each moment is crucial to remember.
If you could live your life over, would you still do this?
My career at present is the perfect for my lifestyle, my values and integrity.
What are some of the biggest challenges about this field?
There is no quick fix. Social media and communication applications have created the biggest “quick fix illusion” where most people tend to expect that change, and service delivery, is a click away.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into this field?
This is not for the fainthearted. It is a male dominated environment, you are constantly exposed to the harsh realities of society, and the unrealistic expectations as a result of these realities. Do your homework, each City Improvement District is unique in their structure, implementation and expectations. Some have one employee and a board of volunteer directors, whilst others have departmental structures with many employees.
“Chevone Petersen is an aspiring writer and fierce special needs advocate who shares her journey of living and parenting with intent on her blog, ChevsLife. She keeps it real as she unmasks her journey to optimism. You can also follower her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – even though she’s still figuring out the whole tweet scene, a bit too fast paced for her liking.”