In Conversation with Helen Devanny, Sage Foundation

  1. Please describe your role and responsibilities. How many years have you been in the company?

I have worked in Sage for nearly seven years and I lead our Sage Foundation team which includes responsibility for all of our social impact work including corporate volunteering, fundraising, grant giving, our global partnerships and our product discount and training program for NPOs. I lead the team with my fantastic job share partner, Cadence Willis – it’s a privilege to be able to illustrate how job share partnerships are a fantastic and flexible way of working.

  1. What was your background previously and where did your interest in social impact begin?

I have previously worked in UK Government including roles in ministerial offices at the Cabinet Office. In Sage, before I joined Sage Foundation, I worked in a chief of staff role to the MD of Sage in the UK and Ireland and also in our M&A team focused on post-acquisition integration.

  1. How has your social impact programme evolved at your company? What role did B4SI play in its evolution and development?

Our social impact programme is always evolving and that’s what makes this job, and the area we work in, so exciting. In the last two years, we’ve been able to amplify the social impact we’ve made via our global partnerships – 6 higher investment and higher impact initiatives focused on digital inequality and economic inequality. Working with organisations like Kiva, Ashoka and Lego League has enabled us to improve and transform the lives of many more. We’ve worked closely with B4SI to embed the design and tracking of our impact measurement and want to extend this further to our existing programmes.

  1. Please tell us about a recent initiative you are proud of…

We’re really proud of our recent grant fund, launched with the BOSS network in the USA – this partnership saw 35 black female business owners apply and receive a $10,000 grant funded by Sage Foundation. This came with access to the BOSS university which provides these business owners, who are in the first 5 years of their business life, with mentoring and training, to help them grow further. We received an incredible 12,800 applications. The grants and training will really have a transformative impact on these women who are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs but who face additional barriers to accessing capital.

5. How have your community and company supported the war in Ukraine?

Our recent disaster relief efforts supporting Ukraine have also been inspiring. As well as our own donations, we called on our ecosystem of business partners, customers and the public to donate and have those donations matchfunded. To date we have donated £640,000 collectively. It’s also incredible to see our Sage colleagues volunteering their time to support the efforts – including those in our Central Europe offices supporting the refugee efforts directly in Romania and Poland.

6. What is your motto in life?

My motto for life is “Everything will be OK in the end, if it’s not OK then it’s not the end!” – this probably says a lot about my belief to never give up!

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