My first day of work as Development Manager with Irish Chamber Orchestra was Monday 25th May, nearing the end of the country’s first lockdown. Needless to say, it wasn’t a usual first day! I introduced myself to my colleagues from my sitting room over Zoom and it would be some time before we got to meet each other in the flesh. For a while, there was a running joke as to whether or not I was a real person!
Very quickly I became part of the ICO Family; a testament to the lovely people I get to work alongside. My colleagues are warm, supportive, creative, and incredibly funny, all of which have made my first few months working in a new role – especially during a pandemic – considerably easier and extremely enjoyable.
Some of the highlights over the past six months include our daily online team meetings, our weekly social media planning meetings in which we develop our online content including, ‘Magic Moments’, ‘During the Interval’, ‘I Create Online’, ‘Oboe Windfree’, ‘My Instrument and I’ and, of course, our online concert streams. Hearing the orchestra play live for the first time in Kilkenny and thereafter in the University Concert Hall, Limerick, as well as getting to meet some of the inspiring participants of the organisation’s Community Outreach programmes have had a profound effect on me both personally and professionally. I’ve been deeply moved and further inspired by both arms of this incredible organisation.
As a fundraiser, taking part in the RAISE programme and learning from and being mentored by the trailblazing Mary O’Kennedy has been a particular highlight for me professionally. Within a Covid fundraising context, there have, of course, been challenges, particularly when many businesses and companies have been closed or are struggling financially. However, over the years, I’ve learned the power of patience and perseverance. We were delighted to recently welcome KMPM Property Management as a new Corporate Sponsor. From a development perspective, there are a number of exciting campaigns and projects coming up and in development, including our upcoming Christmas Campaign and our call to action online series, ‘Strike a Chord’.
As an organisation, Irish Chamber Orchestra represents and embodies great leadership, collaborative team work, pioneering creativity – both online and in terms of live performances – adaptability, excellence, and an immense curiosity to try new things. The people who make up the organisation are experts in their respective fields, are fearless in their execution, and are both inspired and inspiring beyond measure. Despite primarily working from my sitting room these past six months, I have been exposed to and experienced all of these life and work-enhancing influences. In the months ahead, I look forward to experiencing them first hand in our beautiful ICO Studio in the University of Limerick. I can confidently say, I have found my Tribe.