Tell us a little about who you are and what you do...

I'm Kelly Oliver Dougall, Executive Director at Cygnet North East.

Cygnet North East works with people with brain injury and neurological conditions to empower them to reach their potential. We have a range of services to support people at each stage of their journey after diagnosis / accident. From care to in-work support, and supporting people with wellbeing on the way, we are a one-stop-shop for people whose lives have been changed due to an accident or condition related to the brain.

What does success mean to you, right now?

Enough money to ensure our services are well resourced and give people what they need, when they need it. 

What do you love about what you do?

Seeing people regain confidence or improve their skills – at times seeing them get the job they want.

Helping people access the benefits they’re entitled to and the support they need at the right time is really rewarding work.

What do you find most challenging?

Running a business is challenging, but running a social enterprise is a little bit more complicated because the people who you work with aren’t always the people who pay for the services.  There are an endless number of tasks to achieve and I don’t always have the skills to do it all, or the resources to get someone in to do it for me.  So sometimes I need to get on and do it and spend more time to achieve it.

What's your biggest achievement(s) to date?

Last year we saw a 1200% increase in turnover which means that we can help more people and start to plan the next steps in making the company sustainable over the longer term.


What are your hopes and dreams for future success and happiness?

To be the place to go to for people with brain injury and neurological conditions for help. If we can’t help we will find someone who can.

What's your best piece of advice for others wanting to feel more successful?

Think bigger – don’t be scared to dream because you will find that other business owners will encourage you more. In the beginning I was scared to think big in case people mocked me, but no-one did. I’ve only ever had positive encouragement. I encourage others in business as well as my clients and in return they help me too. Business is all about lifting people up – if you win I win and if I win you do too!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t be too proud or scared to ask for help. I love helping others yet find it hard to accept help for myself, but when I remember how I feel when someone lets me help them, it makes it easier for me to let others help me.


Written by Kelly Oliver Dougall

You can connect with Kelly via her website, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram accounts.  

If you want the opportunity to feature as a Spotlight Yourself, join my online #SteppingIntoSuccess group - all members of this group are eligible for a Spotlight feature, in the group itself and on this blog.