As the HR Business Partner at eXPD8, it is my privilege to witness remarkable journeys within our organisation. I am thrilled to share the inspiring story of Donna, one of our valued colleagues. Donna’s journey serves as a testament to the nurturing environment we strive to cultivate at eXPD8. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Donna recently and wanted to share it. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires us!
How long have you worked for eXPD8 for?
I started working for eXPD8 in 2019 when Oakwood merged but I’ve been doing this merchandising roll for over 18 years now!
What do you enjoy about your role?
I absolutely love my cosmetics! And as a beauty ambassador I love supporting others. I find it therapeutic and satisfying, it’s also a very rewarding job. You can really see when you’ve made a difference in store.
So you manage your role with a busy home life as well?
I do, I sometimes feel like going to work is my downtime as funny as that sounds! At home it’s me, my husband and my daughter who is 18 and my son Charlie who is about to turn 15. Charlie was born prematurely and needed oxygen to support his breathing due to his lungs not being fully developed . His learning development was delayed and he also has autism which affects his development as well, so although he is almost 15 he does come across a much younger age, and needs around the clock care. It’s just a case of considering Charlie in all situations and make sure we can be there to support and care for him.
So are you Charlie’s full-time carer?
My husband and I share. When I’m at work my husband is there for Charlie, which means when he is at work I can be there for Charlie. My daughter also helps out when she can as well, but she also needs time to focus on her A-levels so we don’t put too much pressure on her! We all juggle and work together as a team.
That sounds incredibly busy Donna, how do you manage it?
Well we’ve definitely got used to our lives running at hundred miles an hour, so it is just normal for us now! But making sure that we keep a balanced life and help each other out, so it’s never just on one person is really good for us.
I know you’ve also done a lot of volunteering/community work as well Donna, can you tell us about that?
So before Charlie started school I used to be a bliss volunteer. So I’d go into hospitals and spend time with other people and families that are going through a similar thing as me, so I could speak to them about my experience and they could share theirs and I would provide support. I also used to run a support group for when they left hospital, as things can become particularly tricky when finally getting home and realising life may not quite be the same again. Running this group was also beneficial for me because I was able to speak out loud about things that I’d been through and it helped me cope as well. Around the time Charlie started school I needed more time for my family and to care for him so wasn’t able to continue that role anymore, but I have great memories of them, and of the people I met.
When you’re not working for eXPD8, or caring for Charlie what do you do to relax and have fun?
I have a Zumba class that I go to every Monday, I I like to think of it as my night out! I also have an allotment that I enjoy tending to, love getting my hands dirty in the garden as well!
And how does your role at eXPD8 fit in with all of your other commitments?
It fits in really well, I feel really lucky as I know there are lots of carers that would love to be able to work but are unable to because they can’t find a job that will allow them to be as flexible as my job at eXPD8 does. I’m also very grateful to the team that’s around me, we all support each other and my manager Lorna is always fantastic and has supported me through caring for Charlie since I had him. I know I keep saying it but my work really is my relaxing time!
Thank you very much for your time Donna!
We firmly believe that our greatest asset lies in our people. We prioritise creating an inclusive workplace culture that fosters collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning. Donna’s story epitomises the transformative power of a supportive environment at home and at her role eXPD8, where employees are empowered to overcome challenges and pursue their aspirations.
If this sounds like the kind of role that would fit in with your life, take a look at vacancies here!