My career: Clare Chater, Parkinson's Disease Society

The charity's events manager answers five key questions about her career

Clare Chater
Clare Chater

- The best advice I've had

Fundraising isn't about money - it's about people. And the most important people in the world are your supporters, because without them you won't raise a penny. Always respect their motivations and try to provide excellent customer service.

- The biggest challenge I've faced

Managing a team. When I was promoted to this role two years ago, the transition from team member to team leader was not easy - the first six months were a steep learning curve.

- My greatest hit

The small things are the most rewarding. I received a letter from a lady with Parkinson's to say how much it meant to her to have taken part in an event I'd organised. It had changed her outlook on life and she said it was the first time since she had been diagnosed that she'd felt positive about her future.

- My worst moment

I went on my first trek as a charity rep a few years ago and was really looking forward to it. On our first night in camp, one of the trekkers was taken ill and I had to leave the trip to make sure he got home safely. That involved a 4x4 journey across the desert and a 12-hour trip to the airport with a local guide who was driving in his socks because he had frostbite on his toes. Still, I proved to myself that I could deal with anything that was thrown at me and I got to have a bath and a beer a few days early.

- My top tip

I am considering having "life's too short, eat the cake" written on my headstone, because that seems to be the primary foodstuff in our office. However, my top tip would be to lead - and follow - by example. I can expect my team to work only as hard as I'm prepared to myself.

Likewise, they are the first people I turn to for inspiration when I'm struggling. I always find that someone will have a clever idea or a different way of doing things, and it's great to learn from them.

Interview by Annie Kelly

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