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Welcoming Natasha Davies, Our New CEO

This month, we said goodbye to our CEO Sam Thomas, who leaves behind a lasting legacy. We were sad to see him go but are overjoyed to welcome Natasha Davies. She brings with her a wealth of experience and passion, and we cannot wait to see her plans for The Harbour.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the CEO of The Harbour and am really looking forward to working alongside a wonderful staff team and valued supporters over the coming years.  

The Harbour has been providing invaluable counselling and support for people facing death, dying and bereavement for the last 30 years, and it is an honour to have the opportunity to lead the charity on the next leg of its journey.”  

What drew you to The Harbour? 

“Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc and pain through our communities, one small positive was being a part of the movement to support the most vulnerable people in this society through volunteer work with Caring in Bristol. This was the catalyst for me, and I felt more sure than ever that 2021 was the year for me to embark on my journey into the third sector. My decision coincided with the passing of a close relative for whom I cared for in the last few weeks of her life, an experience which highlighted the importance of supporting people’s mental as well as physical health as they, and their loved ones, face death, dying and bereavement. 

I am committed to and passionate about helping others and providing support for those who need it. I have extensive voluntary experience, globally and locally. In Bristol, I have held voluntary roles at The Sanctuary (part of St Mungo’s Broadway) and Caring in Bristol and completed a Certificate in Counselling to better equip me for these experiences.  

As CEO of The Harbour, I feel fortunate to be able to apply my passion to my profession. “

What do you see for the future of The Harbour? 
  • “I see opportunity to drive meaningful, sustainable, and targeted development of The Harbour in order to better serve our clients and to expand the reach and impact of our work.  
  • I want to increase our visibility within the city, raising the profile of this small but incredibly valuable charity, building awareness of the work our charity does. The Harbour has been described to me as ‘Bristol’s best kept secret’ and I am determined to let the let the secret slip! 
  • It would be great to expand our external network and work in partnership with organisations to ensure that we are inclusive and that we are accessible to all of Bristol’s diverse communities. 
  • Increasing our fundraising efforts is also going to be important to ensure the continued success of The Harbour and provide us with the resource to grow.”

As CEO of The Harbour, I feel fortunate to be able to apply my passion to my profession. ”

Tell us a bit about your professional background 

“I pride myself on being a strategic leader and innovator whilst being a supportive, approachable and inclusive manager. I started my career in the corporate world working in sales and sales management for a Bristol-based digital media agency; it was here I discovered that my interest in people, communication and building relationships was a strength.  I set up the company’s first international office in Sydney and successfully led a great team to establish itself across the Asia-Pacific region.  

Upon my return to the UK, I spent some time as the Business Manager for a Management Training and Consultancy business before deciding to move into the world of Higher Education. As Deputy Head of Careers and Enterprise at UWE Bristol, I managed a team of 18 to deliver career coaching and enterprise support to a student body of 30,000. Most recently, I have been working as Strategic Partnership Manager for the University of Bristol where I managed the University’s relationship with a portfolio of strategically important organisations, generating revenue for the University in excess of £40M and engaging across research, education and skill development.”

As a small charity, it would not be possible for us to deliver our work without you (our supporters): you make it possible for us to help those who most need it.

And how about personally? 

“I moved to Bristol to study Psychology and Zoology at The University of Bristol and am one of the many alumni that have found it hard to leave (bar a year in sunny Australia with an office overlooking the opera house…but even that couldn’t keep me away for long). Bristol is very much home, it’s the place that I have lived in for the longest and I feel a deep connection with the city and city region. I love the sense of community, diversity and culture of the city, as well as being surrounded by beautiful countryside.  

I love spending time with friends and family, being in the countryside, travelling and exploring new places and cultures (this has been somewhat curtailed due to the pandemic) and experiencing the fantastic independent restaurants that Bristol has to offer.  I was due to go on a camping safari through Botswana and Namibia last summer and hope that might be possible in the not-too-distant future.”

A message for our supporters:  

“I just want to say a massive thank you for your ongoing support of The Harbour. As a small charity, it would not be possible for us to deliver our work without you: you make it possible for us to help those who most need it. I would love to hear from you with your experiences of The Harbour and with any ideas that you have for how we could work together moving forward. Please feel free to contact me on natasha@the-harbour.org.uk.”