Team changes at Cogwheel

In April we were sad to say goodbye to our Head of Counselling, Esther McNeill. Esther had been with Cogwheel for 12 years and had contributed hugely to shaping Cogwheel as it is today. We all wish Esther well with her future plans. Following Esther’s  departure, we are excited to announce Isabelle Dolis as our new Head of Services.

My name is Isabelle Dolis and I am delighted to have stepped up as the new Head of Services at Cogwheel since 19th April. After a first career in translation and the merchandising software industry, I pursued training in psychology and counselling as a mature student. Observing the development of my three young children had led to a fascination with the developing human mind. Over the years, my curiosity grew into a desire to journey alongside fellow human beings and offer support as they navigate the trials and tribulations that life inevitably dishes out.

During my training, I was drawn to Cogwheel because of its inclusive values and mission to enable anyone to access therapy regardless of means. I was fortunate to secure a placement with the organisation and had the privilege of working with many clients over the years. Many clinical hours later, having – during my nine years so far with Cogwheel – worn a number of hats, I am preparing to start in my new role as Head of Services and contribute to shaping what I hope we can now think of as the post-pandemic future for our organisation.

Covid-19 has led to many changes at Cogwheel. We moved quasi overnight from 100% session delivery in person to delivering all sessions remotely and are now settling in the brave new world of hybrid and blended delivery. We also shifted from mainly paper-based processes to implementing a new integrated clinic management system. The resilience and hard work of our team, trustees and my predecessor are as humbling as they are inspiring. I feel much pride and excitement in having been entrusted with continuing to support and work with our trainees, volunteers and staff so that we can continue to provide quality, affordable help to our clients ‘when life slips out of gear’.

Isabelle isn’t the only recent change to our team – in January we were pleased to welcome Flo Rouse as our new Administration and Office Manager. Flo is the first point of contact for Cogwheel’s clients, offering a warm and reassuring presence to people taking the first steps in seeking help.

Before coming to Cogwheel, I worked for 7 years in the hotel industry as a wedding and events planner and also worked in the construction industry as a personal assistant to a CEO throughout the pandemic. I love organising things and am best known for my immense efficiency! I have a level 2 counselling skills qualification and hope to pursue this further in the coming years. I love 80s pop music and going to the pub with my friends and husband. I have a cat called Baloo who is named after the big grey bear in the Jungle Book 😊 I play the piano and violin and I also sing (I was in a local choir before the pandemic but haven’t got back to this yet!).


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