Monica Shafaq joined Gordon Moody as CEO in January 2024. Below, she reflects on her first 100 days with the organisation in her own words.

My initial days with Gordon Moody have been a whirlwind of discovery and connection. The most humbling experience has been meeting our service users in our treatment centres. Their stories, resilience, and determination have fuelled my passion to lead with purpose and compassion.

Getting to know my dedicated Gordon Moody colleagues has been equally inspiring. Their commitment to our mission is unwavering, and I am continually humbled by their dedication.

Building relationships with funders and partners, including the valuable National Gambling Support Network (NGSN), has been a pivotal part of my journey so far. They celebrated its first anniversary in April 2024 and we are immensely proud of being a member of the network. These collaborations are instrumental in amplifying our reach and impact.

Working with a newly established executive team has been both invigorating and challenging. Together, we are starting with a blank canvas to set a visionary strategy. Navigating the complex, politically charged external environment has been a test of resilience. Yet, amidst the challenges, I am committed to ensuring that our charity remains steadfast in meeting the evolving standards, expectations, and challenges of the new commissioning landscape.

I am incredibly proud of the impact our charity has already made, which couldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of every individual who is part of the Gordon Moody family. Their passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to making a difference to people’s lives is nothing short of inspiring.

Some of the highlights of my first 100 days have been:

My first day at Gordon Moody

On my first day, I was welcomed by the friendly, passionate, and professional team at Gordon Moody. They gave me some wonderful welcome gifts and I am now fully branded, including the cushion on the sofa in my office!

Selection of Gordon Moody branded items - notebook, pen, mug, lunch bag, and lanyard - on a white desk with a grey sofa in the background with a Gordon Moody branded cushion on it.

Stories Shared – Dante or Die film

In January, Dante or Die held an online screening of their new short film – Stories Shared. If you don’t fully understand the impact that gambling addiction has on the lives of people and their loved ones, you must watch this film. it is based on the experiences of individuals who have come to Gordon Moody for support. If you do have an appreciation of what it’s like, watch it anyway, it will show you that you are not alone.

You can watch the full film here.

Signature Awards

I celebrated my first month at Gordon Moody by attending the Signature Awards Birmingham with some of the amazing senior leadership team. We got to hear from the inspiring Alfie Best, Ninder Johal DL, and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

It was great to catch up with friends and colleagues and meet some wonderful new contacts.

Gordon Moody colleagues Monica Shafaq, Julia Herdman, Victoria Jackson, and Jon Murray pose in front of the Signature Awards 2024 background.

NGSN East of England Regional Board

Spent a lovely day at the Voluntary Action offices in Islington to discuss the NGSN East of England Regional Board strategy. It was great to meet NGSN partners and hear about the fantastic services we collectively provide to those affected by gambling-related harms. Co-production, collaboration, and communication were the themes for the day, along with ensuring good robust government structures.

Monica Shafaq, Frankie Graham, and Ian Semel posing at the NGSN East of England Regional Board meeting.

ICE London 2024

Attended my first ICE London 2024 and felt enthused after having the pleasure of networking with a diverse range of global partners who are all passionate about advocating for safer gambling. It was great to catch up with people in person who either have an existing relationship with Gordon Moody or are looking to develop one. Our conversations were truly thought-provoking and left me with plenty to consider as I move forward.

On the second day, I took part in a panel discussion in the Consumer Protection Zone theatre discussing the future of the third sector and industry cooperation. It was a pleasure to discuss the topic with my fellow panel members Barbara Rollins, Arthur Paikowsky, Pedro Romero, and moderator Matt Smith. While the future may be uncertain, I am confident we will navigate it successfully.

I was pleased to see the event included time to consider equality, diversity, and inclusion – which is a particular passion of mine – in the tech, gaming, and gambling industry. The DEI Allyship to Celebrate People of Colour was a particularly inspiring session and I had the pleasure of meeting Christina Thakor-Rankin. Evidently, more work needs to be done to encourage Asian women into the sector. Thanks to Ewa Bakun for arranging these important sessions so these issues can be recognised and explored further.

Monica Shafaq talking on a panel discussion in the Consumer Protection Zone theatre at ICE London 2024.

GambleAware/NGSN meeting

Had an insightful day meeting with GambleAware and the National Gambling Support Network (NGSN) partners. The discussions centred on how we ensure that the network remains the go-to provider of services for those affected by gambling, even after the new commissioning framework goes live.

Gordon Moody are proud members of the NGSN and we remain committed to ensuring that those affected by gambling receive the support they need.

Talk. Ban. Stop. event

Great to have been invited to the House of Lords to learn more about the incredible work of GamCare, Gamban, and Gamstop and their Talk. Ban. Stop. collaboration with financial institutions towards reducing gambling-related harms. We heard about steps Monzo Bank are taking to reduce the risks associated with gambling, which has been positively received by its customers.

It was lovely to finally meet Harj Gahley, who emotively shared his personal struggles with gambling, highlighting the need for men to openly discuss their mental health.

Monica Shafaq and Harj Gahley pose in from of the Elizabeth Tower at the House of Lords.

International Women’s Day

I attended the IWD conference and expo in Birmingham at Millennium Point in March. The day was filled with excellent panel topics and speakers who shared their respective insights. The event gave me a chance to network with friends old and new and showcase the wonderful work Gordon Moody is doing to help people reclaim and rebuild their lives free from gambling addiction.

Female Professional Network

The inaugural Female Professional Network lunch brought together a select group who work in the gambling and gaming sector. It was inspiring to hear other people’s experiences and to share our journeys both professionally and personally. The network hopes to inspire the next generation of women to work within a traditionally male dominated sector. My thanks go to Anna Davies from Metropolitan for hosting this event.

The next 100 days and beyond

There may be challenges ahead but I know that together, we will meet these challenges head on, continue to grow and evolve, and empower those affected by gambling addiction to reclaim and rebuild their lives free from gambling addiction.

If you would like to find out more information about our services and how you can help people reclaim and rebuild their lives free from gambling addiction, please drop me an email.


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