Moving on…

A message from our outgoing Chief Executive, Antonia Orr, who will be stepping down at the end of August 2021. 

When Brian Smouha, our founder, approached me to become CEO of the Coalition for Efficiency back in 2015, I never could have imagined the exciting journey that lay ahead. 

The organisation has grown from me working part-time at my kitchen table overseeing a few fledgling projects, into a vibrant community of small organisations, partners and individuals dedicated to making a difference in society.

I am grateful to have been joined and accompanied by such a supportive network of partners, volunteers, supporters and funders who have understood the value and effectiveness of our approach. 

Over the past year, the pandemic has forced me to return from my desk (at our partner Volunteering Matters’ head office in Hackney) back to my kitchen table. It has been a challenging and exhausting year for anyone working in the charity sector, and particularly for those in small, lean organisations like ours.

I’m so proud of what we achieved through this turbulent time, and that through it we innovated and expanded our offer, transitioning much of our work to the digital space and growing our reach. I’m especially excited about the more active role we are taking in contributing to racial justice in the UK and I expect this to be an area of growth for the organisation. 

I remain fully committed to and passionate about the social sector and particularly to supporting the many brilliant small organisations who are driving change and providing a lifeline for their communities.

I am not stepping aside for another role, but rather because after 6 years of shaping the organisation I feel that the time is right for the Coalition for Efficiency to be taken forward by new leadership and fresh energy. For me personally, balancing the needs of a growing organisation through a crisis with the needs of my family has been thrilling but also exhausting, and I am choosing to take a step back to pause, reflect and refocus.

It has been a privilege to do this job, and I have loved it. I feel proud of what we have achieved through the genuinely collaborative approach that we have taken. There are many people I need to thank – all our supporters, our allies, funders, partners and volunteers, our trustees (old and new), the wonderful team members over the years, and of course Brian Smouha, our founder, whose generosity, energy and bright ideas have enabled our growth and whose values have underpinned how I’ve approached the work.  

Reading the feedback from those who participate in our programmes is such a joy: our work is important, meaningful and impactful for our volunteers as well as the organisations we have supported. Every individual and organisation we work with is immensely valuable: you change lives for the better and it’s been so inspiring to play a part in that. I look forward to seeing each of you and the Coalition for Efficiency going from strength to strength in the years ahead. 

I shall be leaving the organisation in the safest of hands: Angela Schlenkhoff-Hus’ invaluable expertise, wisdom, kindness and companionship throughout this chapter have helped me to stay grounded and lead an organisation that has continually punched above its weight.