Here & now

Jackie Rosenberg, Chief Executive at One Westminster

Meet Jackie Rosenberg, Chief Executive at One Westminster

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the work of women who are active in the community in and around Paddington Central and are an inspiration to others.   

Meet Jackie Rosenberg, CEO at One Westminster: the charity supporting the voluntary and community sector and volunteering in Westminster. She is highly regarded among the community organisations in Westminster.  

Where do you work and what is your role? 
I work in Westminster and have done for the past 18 years. I’m Chief Executive of One Westminster, which is the volunteer centre and voluntary sector support service for Westminster. I’m also Deputy CEO of Paddington Development Trust which is a regeneration charity delivering a range of services in health, employment and enterprise and community development.

Would you have considered yourself a role model for Women of Paddington?
Not really! I guess I’m lucky to be surrounded by strong women in my work and have met many able and talented women, so I don’t really think in terms of role models.

How do other women inspire you in your work?
I’m always inspired by the women I meet through work. I’m always hugely impressed how passion and skills can combine to achieve real difference. My work means I mainly meet people from within the charitable and public sectors where, fortunately, there are good numbers of women in senior positions. I am always so impressed with the quality of women I meet, their dedication and ability.

What inspired you to pursue this career and why Paddington? 
I rather fell into my career and never particularly planned to spend most of it within the voluntary sector. However, I’ve been really lucky lived in or just outside Paddington for most of my adult life. To be able to work in the area and support my own community means a lot to me. I love Paddington, its diversity and richness of character. It’s a typical piece of London town, both eclectic and random but also like a village with so many people knowing each other and supporting each other.

What does a day in the life of Jackie look like? 
The best thing about my work is that no two days are completely the same. A typical day is a mix of meetings, staff management and time at the computer working on funding bids or responding to emails. However, I get to work with a great group of people and more importantly I get to meet loads of interesting people who are all trying to make a difference. I’m very lucky that I’m at my best when I’m juggling and busy so having a hectic diary is how I produce my best work.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? 
This is really important to me. All work and no play is just not my style. I find that having access to email on my phone is a good thing in that I can take time out to be with my family and still respond to urgent emails or be in touch if I’m needed. I love my work and I don’t mind if it takes over a little bit from time to time. However, my friendships and family are really important to me so I always make sure that I find time for that as well.

What have you found to be the most rewarding aspects of your career?
Good question! I guess the most rewarding thing is making a difference. Though, to be honest, sometimes that’s quite hard to discern. I’ve worked with and met some extraordinary people who I really admire and are making extraordinary efforts in spite of having experienced real hardship and challenges. Colleagues who have faced war, famine and abuse, giving their time and efforts to help others; people determined to leave the world a better place than it is now. Having access to these people continues to inspire me and encourage me to keep going despite the challenges and frustrations.

What does the term Paddington Community mean to you? 
For me it is the sum of the parts that make up Paddington. The diverse communities across age, ethnicity, culture and background. The wide range of different people all muddling along together. I guess for me it also predominantly means the communities who live in Paddington – on our housing estates and on the streets – although I appreciate that many, many people come into Paddington and work.

How long have you been a part of the Paddington Community?
Since the 1980s!

What have been the major changes that you’ve seen at Paddington in your time?
There have been huge changes over the past 30 years. Paddington has always been a place of arrival and the past years have seen many changes in the make-up of the community with a much larger Arabic-speaking community from all over North Africa and the Middle East including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen coming in to join an existing white, Afro-Caribbean, Irish and Bengali population. We’ve also seen Kosovan and Eastern European communities join us.

How do you feel Paddington has allowed you to connect with the community?
I’m really lucky because I work for two organisations that are inextricably linked with the local community in so many ways.

What do you feel that the Paddington Community can offer to women? 
I genuinely believe that anything is possible. There are a wide range of community groups throughout Paddington that welcome and support women to get involved and raise aspirations. Our local Paddington schools provide many opportunities for all of their students and, as with much of London, outperform other equivalent schools in other parts of the country. There are also a growing number of initiatives to support women and young girls in their career choices and provide opportunities for work experience.

How important do you feel the further development of Paddington Central is to the community? 
The proof will be in the pudding. Ideally, homes within Paddington Central will be bought by people and families wanting to put down roots here and contribute to local life. For businesses their biggest challenge will be to engage actively with the local community so that they are not cut-off and removed from the local resident population. Fortunately, there are many ways to get involved.

What advice would you give to your younger self when first starting your career? 
Hmm… try not to talk so much. But then I’m still trying to give myself that advice now!

What do you think the definition is of a Woman of Paddington?
Passionate, caring, eclectic and super-smart!

What can other Women of Paddington do to make a positive impact to our community? 
Definitely giving something back. Finding out about the wide range of charities operating in the area and offering to support them. Acting as befrienders to older, socially isolated citizens, volunteering at local schools, providing work experience opportunities and going into schools to offer inspiration and advice to girls growing up in Paddington.

How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year?
Possibly by joining many other women on the march at the weekend. Definitely by seeing my girlfriends.

One Westminster is a registered charity whose vision is “A community where all lead fulfilling and self-sufficient lives.”

Westminster is a wonderful diverse and creative London borough. Its strength is its people. One Westminster understands the incredible and unique role that voluntary sector organisations and volunteering play in ensuring that those with the greatest needs in our city are supported and enabled to play their full part, have their voices heard and reach their full potential.

If you'd like to know more about One Westminster's work, please take a look at their website.