Hal Davidson is a 2017 graduate from BA English Language and Linguistics. Recently we caught up with him to talk about his career and experience since completing university.
What did your first year out of university looked like?
During my third year I was working part time as a lifeguard, a football coach, and as a playworker for a West London based charity. Shortly before graduating I asked the charity if I could start working for them full time. Thankfully they said yes. Soon after I picked up a promotion and moved into a deputy manager role on one of the organisation’s projects. Having met with the organisation’s Chief Executive, I raised some thoughts I had on improving the charity’s social media activity and offered to help increase engagement. Fast forward a few months and I was looking after all six channels.
What’s your current role?
My career has evolved into a portfolio career. Essentially this involves undertaking multiple roles rather than being reliant on one role and one income stream. In a normal week, I work Monday to Thursday as a Senior Community Fundraiser for St Christopher’s Hospice in South East London. On Fridays I run a consultancy business supporting small charitable organisations. For my current main client, You Press, I’m developing partnerships and securing new business for their creative agency.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
It’s been a really trying period productivity wise and I’ve not been working as many hours as I normally would be. I’ve spent three weeks on furlough from St Christopher’s, but other than this period, I’ve worked throughout the pandemic. In terms of my consultancy business, I’m working with several clients who have been able to continue my contracts despite the significant changes to their organisations. I do think it’s important that I’ve built strong relationships and I’ve worked hard for organisations, which means they’re returning the favour now.
How did your time at Roehampton assist you in your career?
Through my course and the extracurricular activities I took part in, Roehampton granted me opportunities to be a leader. Having the opportunity to lead and take on responsibilities helped me a great deal. These skills have furthered my career, from coordinating colleagues to voicing my opinions in meetings. Roehampton also improved my understanding of the importance of diversity. I grew up in a small village in Somerset and for me, it was really positive to be around people from different backgrounds and learn about other cultures.
During my second year at Roehampton I was the President of the Barnardo’s Society, and I was the President of the men’s football club in my third year. They forced me from my comfort zone and taught me a good deal about how great teams’ function. When I took on the Presidential role of the Barnardo’s society I had no fundraising, events, or charity experience. But I took a chance. To date, I’d argue it’s the best decision I have ever made because everything I have now is thanks to that.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Before attending Roehampton, I hadn’t really committed myself to any one thing seriously. Because I hadn’t tried very hard to achieve anything, I hadn’t learned the value of failure; of picking yourself up when things don’t go as planned. Through my experience I had many opportunities to fail, learn, and grow as all students do. It’s so important for your personal and professional development. It’s also equally important to work hard and to push yourself in order to progress but if you’re ever struggling – in any capacity – with the course, with an assignment, or with something non-academic, ask for help.
If you were to graduate today, would you make any different choices?
If I were to graduate today, I would make more of an effort to keep in touch with my friends in the coming months and years. It can be a really strange time, finishing at University. It’s strange because for a lot of people, they are suddenly not around the friends that they spent the last three to four years with. It’s very easy to take for granted being able to see your friends regularly in the library, on one of the lawns, on nights out or after lectures. It’s not impossible to make time to see your friends beyond University, but for most people working life brings responsibilities that can make it harder.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
I’d like to grow my consultancy business in order to support more charitable organisations. Gradually I expect I will spend more time consulting organisations, but right now I’m very happy with how my week is set up. Public speaking and workshop facilitation have been interests of mine for some time now, and I’ve been fortunate to deliver some personal development talks to students in the past year. This is definitely something I’d like to do more of and get better at!