Dom Booth

Dom Booth

Director of Services | Healing Waves

What does a typical day look like for you? 
Days vary but tend to revolve around the tide! Firstly, I always check online to see what the surf/weather is doing, followed by a quick check of emails, prioritising them accordingly.  If everything aligns, will try getting a cheeky surf in before work as it helps set my day! Arriving at the centre, get prepped for the day. The HW team are all awesome, we all crack into gear ensuring everything’s ready, so Athletes arrive in a safe and fun environment.  We tend to run three sessions a day, times dictated by tides. As much as I would love to be based in the sea all day, every day, I am finding myself in front of a laptop more often lately as quite a lot more planning behind the scenes is needed. 

How did you get your job? / What training, degree, education do you need? 
Leaving school, I did a business studies course at Highlands (thinking a career in finance was the way to go!), three months wearing shirts and trousers later I realised it wasn’t for me!

I then travelled a fair bit through my late teens and twenties, discovered I wanted a job with some worth and meaning. I have worked in care now for approaching 20 years (mad!). I met Max and Sean (fellow co-founder) at work, we recognised that the sea should be more inclusive, ideas & visions began…. then soon turned into a reality! Some luck, a fair bit of hard work and lots of generosity from the community along the way. 

Healing Waves started in 2017 organically, using old, borrowed equipment, running sessions out of mine and Max’s vans, predominantly supporting people we already knew (through our work). We all Volunteered for the first three years, myself and Max were practically doing two full time jobs (working until stupid o’clock!). At this point it was clear to us that what we were doing was a full-time job. Once the HW Centre was approved, we knew and recognised that it was important to have the doors open as much as possible, which was made possible, when during the build, we were fortunate enough to gain private funding for myself and Max’s full-time positions, still have to pinch myself!

I’m always learning …The ocean educates me daily! (bit cheesy but true). 

What are the most important skills needed for your role/job?
Perseverance, patience, passion, determination, empathy, an open mind and problem solving are all super important skills that assist in gaining trust from anyone who accesses HW. Always looking for positive outcomes (whatever they may be). 

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role? 
I’ve been told that I need to learn to say ‘no’ more, that’s  always been tricky for me, especially in the role that we do. I also struggle with delegation.  Think I’m learning both slowly as my hair gets greyer but often still fail.  Public speaking is another one, was always that kid with a tomato face standing in front of class! As the charity has grown it’s being asked of us more. I dread it, often swerve it but understand the importance of promoting what we do to raise the awareness around inclusion and accessibility.

What is the best part of your job? / What motivates you in this role?
That’s tricky!  everything about what we do motivates me, honestly. From behind the scenes, arranging and visualising the dynamics of sessions. To the obvious, sessions in the sea: Seeing the smiles, hearing the feedback and feeling the genuine happiness from Athletes is what it’s all about for me.  

Even mundane parts of the job don’t feel mundane, if they ever do, a quick reminder to myself of how lucky I am to be doing something I love at the beach that creates such a special community spirit is what motivates me. 

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession? 
If you have a feeling then go with it…. Observe, ask questions, always listen, try not to assume and reflect.  We support vulnerable people whose needs all vary so remembering to treat each and every person individually with respect and dignity is super important.  Always be honest to yourself and the people you are supporting. 

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by most people that walk through the door, they put trust in what we do, that inspires me to continue doing what we do hopefully way after all my grey hair has fallen out! 

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