Susan Blishen has 25 years’ experience researching, developing and managing creative partnership projects and programmes to address inequalities of opportunity, particularly in relation to young people.
For example, from 2009 to 2015, she set up and managed Right Here, a complex, multi-partner national programme, to develop new approaches to improving the mental health and wellbeing of 16–25 year olds. Prior to this, she developed and oversaw a range of new funding programmes for a charitable trust, including a new social justice programme and special funds to improve opportunities for young refugees and asylum seekers and young people in care.
She has worked across the philanthropic, voluntary and public sectors. In all her roles she has demonstrated a flair for ‘bringing the best’ out of those she works with through equal measures of support and challenge.
Susan is also adept at developing strategies, and helping others to, that are informed by the views and ideas of colleagues and of potential beneficiaries or end users.
Susan is particularly interested in:
- the challenges and opportunities of working collaboratively, particularly across organisations which seem to have different ways of working and values
- how individual and corporate roles and goals can intersect and enhance each other
- helping individuals and organisations to reflect on their strengths and areas of concern, to understand themselves better and consider change
- developing and spreading the human stories behind complex initiatives, in order to inform wider practice, and even policy.
These interests and qualities have been enhanced by Susan’s longstanding association with Oasis, which began in 2008 with the completion of the Leadership, Life, and Learning programme.
Susan also has a Certificate in Counselling (WPF, 2016) and is currently studying to be a psychodynamic psychotherapist. She is a trained shared reading facilitator and runs weekly groups for people of all ages, using great novels, stories and poems to generate discussion and reflection on the ‘big’ human themes.