A day in the life of our CEO, Ed Newton

Helping women with life-controlling issues and survivors of human trafficking is fulfilling for Ed Newton, CEO of Sheffield-based City Hearts.

I joined City Hearts as the manager of a safe house in 2012 and became chief executive at the end of 2017. 

City Hearts is an amazing charity supporting survivors of human trafficking and women with life-controlling issues such as eating disorders and addiction. We have over 170 staff based across our UK locations and have recently expanded into the Netherlands and Aberdeen. We’ve also extended our support for those with a history of offending, so it’s been a busy year so far.

On a typical day, I get up at 6am, get ready and head straight out to catch my morning train to Sheffield. Breakfast is on the go and the morning coffee – a black Americano – gets my body and brain going. While I’m on the train, I tend to run through and respond to staff emails.

Once I reach Sheffield, I walk from the station to our office. That ten-minute walk gives me time to think about my day ahead, meetings I have planned and crucial conversations I’ll be having. I love walking through Sheffield’s amphitheatre and looking out over the city as another busy working day begins. At 9am, I head straight into our Sheffield team staff meeting, where we celebrate good news stories for our clients and important case updates. 

I then speak with our staff; recently I focused on our values as an organisation. They sum up who we are and want to be – and I’m determined that we purposefully incorporate those values in every interaction we have with our clients, staff or partners.

The rest of the morning will consist of face-to-face and over the phone meetings, for example catching up with our head of development Phill Clayton, who is based over in our Liverpool office. 

Phill and I will typically discuss current and future partnerships and development; we have recently focused on our expansion into the Netherlands. 

Phill has been crucial in building partnerships across our organisation, including our Bright Future partnership programme with the Co-op and other businesses, which has already supported 40 survivors of modern slavery into employment. It’s a project we are really proud of.

Lunch is usually on the go, followed by some time strategising or catching up with Louise Durham, who heads up our services across the UK. 

It’s a time where we often iron out some of the challenges that we face, as I am absolutely committed to the continuous improvement of the charity that will bring real benefit for our clients and staff. 

It can feel overwhelming at times, but it’s something I love to do and those challenges are nothing compared to those the survivors we support have faced in their own lives before they come into our care. During the afternoon I make time to catch up with our team. During the afternoon I make time to catch up with our team. 

It’s important to me that our staff, who are the beating heart of our charity, feel valued and happy in the workplace. I tend to spend at least 15 minutes walking around the offices and checking in on employees.

I also think that it’s important as a CEO to build a relationship with our team, especially as I split my time between our Sheffield and Liverpool offices, so I’m not constantly in one location.

On my train journey home, I catch up on messages, calls and read and review documents. It’s good to know I’ve responded to queries before I start to wind down for the day. I make an effort to be home for 6pm to spend valuable time with our young children and help my wife settle them for bed…it’s the crazy hour. I then go for a technology-free walk. As I use my phone and laptop non-stop during the day, I really appreciate this time away from technology, it gives me space to reflect on my day and plan for the next. 

Finally, I’ll crash in front of the TV with my wife. This is valuable time to unwind, ready for the next busy day.

I feel privileged to manage City Hearts and thankful to have such a dedicated and passionate team. No two days are the same, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Article from the Yorkshire Post