An interview with Nikki Morris, CEO of Deafblind UK

Nikki Morris, CEO of Deafblind UK. She is standing outside and smiling.

We chatted to our new CEO, Nikki Morris, to get to know her a bit better and hear about her plans for 2023!

What are you most excited about this year?

I’m really excited to be working at Deafblind UK. It will be great to get to know the team this year – the staff, volunteers and the people we support – and to see how I can add value to the organisation as the new CEO. I’m very passionate about making sure we are relevant and accessible to everybody affected by deaf blindness and that we are led in the development of our services by those who we are here to support both now and in the future.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge in your role at Deafblind UK?

At Deafblind UK we have a double whammy – we have an increase in need with rising numbers of those affected by multisensory loss alongside the impact of a rise in cost of living. The increase in inflation is resulting in higher prices which in turn makes securing charitable income more challenging. And all of this on the back of Covid. However, I’m always someone who believes that with challenges come opportunities, so I’ll be looking out for those!

What did you do on your first day?

I spent my first day having a number of meetings/calls/email exchanges with key members of the team. We agreed on a press release which when published triggered a lot of people contacting me for meetings, which was great!

On day two I spent the day at the Peterborough Office and met the wider team – as well as discovering that the kettle lives in the tiniest kitchen I’ve ever seen!

What do you get up to outside of work?

I have lots of family and friends including two grown-up children who I love to meet up with. I also have lots of hobbies. I’m learning to play the saxophone which I really enjoy, but I’m still not very good at it! I also love the arts – visiting art galleries, live theatre and ballet – and I got into gardening during the pandemic. I’m an avid reader and with a group of other volunteers used to run a successful bookshop as a community interest company.

What motivates you?

It sounds a bit idealistic but it’s true – I like to make things better for people and to work with people to create a world that is better because of what we do. Throughout my career I’ve worked to improve health and wellbeing and I’m passionate that we should always take a holistic view to how we do that – looking at how the biological, psychological, social and spiritual elements intertwine in our lives.

What makes you happy?

I was once told you’re only as happy as your most unhappy child – and I think that’s true! So, knowing my family and friends are happy is important to me. Seeing people grow personally and professionally is great. I’ve been very privileged in my career to support people in their roles and go on to achieve great things (personally and professionally) and that is such a joy to be part of! And, last but not least, immersing myself in the arts is always a great afternoon/evening!

What annoys you?

Inequality, rudeness, a lack of empathy from people – and I’m not great at queuing, to name but a few! But, I try not to focus on what annoys me.

Which three famous people would you invite to a dinner party?

Grayson Perry – I met him briefly once, he was such a delight and I love his artwork. Carlos Acosta – an amazing dancer with a real ‘rag to riches’ story. And Sandi Toksvig – clever and funny – a good combination for a dinner party!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I’d be a cat – you have lots of freedom, get fed regularly and sleep a lot without anyone complaining! I have a cat called Millie and she has a rather good life, I think.

Sum yourself up in three words.

Thinker, creative, kind.

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