Getting to know our CALM Director, Helen Stevenson!

Welcome to our ‘Get to know CALM!’ series, where each month we will be asking our staff and extended community to tell us a little bit about themselves.

We asked Helen:

1. How long have you been at CALM?

I joined CALM at the start of the summer in 2000. Prior to that I was trained as a CALM Instructor in my previous job – so I’ve been in and around CALM for a long time!


2. Tell us about your role at CALM?

Initially I joined CALM as a Training Officer, delivering CALM theory and physical skills training. At this time the role involved constant travel, days spent in lengthy commutes and often travelling to other parts of the UK. I then became CALM’s Training Manager and supported and developed a growing team of training Officers at CALM as well as becoming more involved with the support provided to our organisations using the CALM system. Since 2008 I have been a Director at CALM. This role really involved oversight of every aspect of work that CALM carries out, as well as the ongoing support and consultancy provided to our user organisations, strategy and planning, overseas development and the support and development of our team.


3. What is your favourite part of your job?

Most recently I have taken great delight in supporting the growth and development of certain people in the team. I continue to be excited by the work we are engaged in with organisations in Australia and see great opportunities to support services to improve. I also enjoy the role I play in a number of national developments and working parties and feel I continue to learn a lot through this experience. I also really enjoy just connecting with people – whether in person or online. I like sharing what I know and talking about CALM, and delivering presentations – weirdly I do like to be questioned and put under a bit of pressure – it’s when I feel I am at my best.


4. What’s the hardest part about your job?

A heavy sense of responsibility and worry, long hours to keep things going and spending time with people who just want training to tick a box rather than to change practice and improve things for people in services.


5. What CALM value do you resonate with the most?

Definitely ‘Connection’!


6. Where do you feel really in your element at work?

With people – people who truly want to hear about how CALM works and the difference it can make when organisations embrace its whole organisational approach. I feel in flow when I’m able to share ideas from others about inspiring practice.


7. If you had to choose a different career, what would it be?

I would definitely be a nurse!


8. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Hmmm, that’s an interesting one. I may have said – be in theatre to watch an operation – but I got to do that last year in a CALM capacity and loved it. I loved being a waitress when I was younger and thought I was very good at it – I would like to do this for a day again.


9. What makes you laugh the most?

My 88 year old mother when she gets her words wrong or mispronounces things… and Peter Kaye who I love but was not fortunate enough to get tickets for despite being in an online queue for many hours!!


10. If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

To be able to speak any language I choose – fluently. I’ve never been good at learning languages and can’t speak any well. I would love to go travelling and experience countries and cultures knowing the language well. Oh – and to be invisible – I would love to be a fly on the wall in lots of different situations and contexts – mainly because I am quite nosey and have major FOMO (as my teenagers tell me!).


11. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be and why?

Will I Am – I just love him and think he is the nicest person. Nelson Mandela – as he was a very important figure in my late teens.

Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock – I think they were great orators and I miss this period in Politics – passionate debates with really polarised views.

I could choose many more – picking only 4 is very difficult!


12. Do you have a favourite quote?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite quote, but this one pops to mind, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou


13. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the broader CALM community?

Connect, talk, share, invest in relationships – with us and others, look externally from your own organisation, be brave and talk about things that feel difficult, have compassion at the heart of every interaction you have and always try to do the right thing – not solely the easy thing.


… Thanks Helen! Great getting to know you better!

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