Finn's Story

16 January 2023

I think UpRising is almost like a trampoline that bounces you onto the next thing.

Finn grew up in Wides in the North-West of England, they describe themselves as coming from a working class background. Which wasn’t “an easy or comfortable upbringing”. Despite these difficulties, they excelled in school, although at times felt directionless and didn’t know what their future would look like. After achieving high A-levels Finn attended Edinburgh University. This experience really opened their eyes to the class divide that exists in the UK. Some students at their university were exposed to opportunities and experiences that are often not possible for those from a working class background.

Growing up I was taught that everyone is equal to you, you’re not better or worse than anyone else, and I always had that drilled into me.  But I think once you go to university and you step outside of your small town…you realise that some people have a lot more options that you did, and are able to see things that I think people in working class communities don’t have access to”

Finn’s final year of University was impacted by Covid-19 and the subsequent national lockdown. This impacted the opportunities and experiences that the university would normally offer new graduates. When Finn came across UpRising's Stand Out programme they felt that the programme offered them something different. “I think leadership programmes like UpRising were kind of a way for me to peek into a more professional element of my career that I didn’t really have access to before.”

I wouldn’t be where I am without UpRising.

Finn describes the pandemic as a very disorienting time, it deeply impacted their well-being. Partaking in the programme allowed Finn to gain some structure and control in an otherwise extremely unbounded time: “it really gave structure to my life in the dark times of the pandemic”. As part of the programme the young people learnt about personal branding. Finn describes this session as particularly pivotal in changing their perceptions of the world.

"I thought of it in a sort of cliché way but never in terms of the central value that I can also bring to my sense of leadership, like personal branding isn’t just a self-interested thing, it’s a way that you can let people know who need help or need advice or come to you on certain topics, you’re the person to go to.”

 After taking part in the programme Finn went on to join the Civil Service Fast Stream. This led to them working in the cabinet office for seven months. They enjoyed the experience but decided that it wasn’t a long-term career for them. “And then I tapped out and moved on. But it was a good experience to be in public service and be a leader in those sorts of spaces. I wouldn’t have considered it before UpRising”. This role gave them time to build on skills that they developed during Stand Out, including Finn's ability to effectively communicate, which ultimately led them to their current role in communications for People Powerhouse. An organisation “that brings Northern people together to deliberate on the future of their communities. To connect and collaborate, offering an antidote to mainstream political conversations on racial, economic and social justice to offer a people-powered perspective”.

Finn describes their time at UpRising as a catalyst to their career: “a trampoline that bounces you onto the next thing”. The programme provided them with a space and a network to find direction and gained confidence in their passions. In the interview, Finn was asked to share their proudest leadership moment. “I think my proudest moment of my career... is probably delivering a petition delivery and press conference on Capitol Hill in the Senate building in America”. They took that first bounce with UpRising and we can’t wait to see where Finn lands next.