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Selfless Gordon is in the driving seat to stand with Ukraine

MBA alumnus Gordon MacKay has definitely gone the extra mile to aid the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

The Project Management Capability Lead at Sellafield was initially invited by the West Cumbria Ukrainian Appeal to help pack donations. Then, a week later, a retired colleague from Sellafield (and an ex-RAF pilot) sent a WhatsApp message inviting Gordon (pictured, second left) to drive a van to Poland packed with vital medical supplies, clothes, blankets and food. On the weekend before Easter, this involved taking the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and then driving through the Netherlands and Germany.

I was keenly aware of all those who had made this happen – donating time, goods and money – resting on my successful delivery. I felt this responsibility, as well as remembering that ‘another option is to explode a nuclear weapon somewhere over the North Sea between Britain and Denmark and see what happens’ from an earlier BBC article!

It was an incredible sensory and emotional experience. After two years of not travelling outside Cumbria, I was then suddenly driving ‘on the wrong side of the road’ in a foreign country; a stranger in a strange land, heading for a destination I had never expected to even be on my horizon.

The welcome was emotional and genuine when we arrived in Szczecin in Poland. It felt like being part of an ‘alternate economy’ – one where kindness and selflessness replaced greed and ego – and it was humbling, while also inspiring a deep sense of ‘belonging’ within a transnational community.

Gordon MacKay

On returning home, there was another personal and collective triumph as Sellafield, following two years’ work which he led, was awarded the status of Association of Project Management (APM) Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) Accredited Assessor. Gordon added: “It’s been quite a fortnight!”

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