So, this is goodbye. I’m stepping down from the post of chief executive and stepping away from the helm of Engineers Without Borders UK. It’s been an amazing journey, and one I fondly remember started when I stumbled across the new chapter at my university in my third year of study. At the time, I was falling out of love for engineering.
But in that moment talking to the new Chapter president Tom, the Engineers Without Borders UK movement provided me with a reason to be passionate again. I was reminded that engineering really was about making a difference, and I was reinspired. Since that encounter 15 years ago nearly to the day, I have never again failed to be inspired by what good engineering can achieve for people and the planet.
For nine of those past 15 years, I have had the fortune of being part of the Engineers Without Borders UK staff team and working for a cause I am passionate about. Starting out as the research programme manager when the office was in Cambridge, and then, following a stint in industry, I returned to focus on our portfolio of education and research programmes. In 2017 I took up the rollercoaster that is the chief executive role, building on the hard work of those that had come before me and continuing to navigate the organisation towards greater impact. Throughout my whole experience, seeing our work in action, listening to people’s experiences, and getting to meet and work with so many brilliant and amazing volunteers, staff, trustees and partners have undoubtedly been my greatest highlights.
I am proud of all our work and proud of the movement for good we are becoming. I’m particularly proud of the role we have played in supporting our wider international movement of Engineers Without Borders organisations, best exemplified by the equitable partnership model we’ve developed in collaboration to deliver the Engineering for People Design Challenge. I was in the driving seat when we first introduced the programme in 2011 and have since been part of the team guiding it towards the international delivery model in place today. The programme has now been delivered in South Africa, UK, Ireland and the USA to over 50,000 students and we continue to build the equitable partnership model that underpins this international success.
I think the success of this programme really shows the power of collaboration with diverse, international teams and I hope that it provides an example for how we can grow our programme portfolio as we mobilise on delivering all our strategic goals: To inspire lifelong, meaningful commitment to globally responsible engineering; To upskill the engineering community with the skills and expertise to be globally responsible; and, To drive change with organisations to enable globally responsible engineering to become mainstream.
Now my life takes a different tack. My partner’s career is taking us to Boston, USA and so it is time for me to pass on the baton of steering Engineers Without Borders UK to someone new. I’m taking up a role with Engineers Without Borders International, so I’ll still be active in the movement, and am excited to see how together the Engineers Without Borders family can be a greater force for good.
Goodbye, until we meet again.
Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Chief executive