Sasha Buonasorte

Finding my place at Shelter allowed me to find out what was most important to me.

When I was 19 years old, much like anyone else at that age, I wasn’t quite sure who I was, what I wanted, and most importantly, what kind of impact I would have upon others. It was then that I was lucky enough secure a job as a street fundraiser for Shelter, and I never looked back.

It started with the rush of using my communication skills to do some good in the world, by educating and inspiring members of the public, but that was just the beginning. Whilst it was the opportunity to indirectly make the world a better place that originally motivated me to put my all into my career, I found my niche in helping my teammates cope with complex life struggles. Fundraising for Shelter had allowed me to use motivation from my own background and tricky experiences to thrive, and it became my mission to pay this forward.

With this decision secured, I quickly progressed within my team, becoming the deputy manager of the Leeds team. During this time I focused my energy on making the role as safe as it could possibly be. It was incredibly important to ensure my voice was heard on this issue, as I was one of the few young female managers in a male dominated environment. Women experiencing harassment whilst at work is an ongoing issue that occurs in many roles, and street fundraising is no different in that respect. I worked with my superiors to ensure appropriate policies and training were put into place for anyone dealing with some of the common problems that can occur. I fought hard for a shift in our culture, to allow team members to feel comfortable in being open about the challenges of being in a public-facing role.

Just over a year ago I secured a role as a direct marketing executive, based at Shelter’s head office. As I currently do not line manage anyone, I have found a way to carry on helping others by becoming a Mental Health First Aider. I am co-leading on this project organisation-wide, so that I can try my best to ensure that we implement it to the best of our ability. It is now my main goal to help change the culture around how we speak about our mental health in the workplace, and I feel incredibly lucky to work within an organisation that values me enough to allow my voice to be heard when it comes to our wellbeing.