My career: Imogen Ward of Merlin

The marketing and communications director answers five questions

The best advice I've had
Don't get bogged down with little details - focus on the big picture. A friend gave me this advice when I was pregnant. He told me the problem was simple: I wasn't busy enough. I was aghast, but I soon realised that he meant I was prioritising all the wrong things. His frankness shocked me into completely changing my attitude.

The biggest challenge I've faced
It has to be the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, which completely transformed Merlin as an organisation.
We had a huge response and ran a very successful Christmas appeal with The Daily Telegraph. The massive publicity and income resulted in a wave of change across the organisation.

As marketing director, I had to use the opportunity to maximise growth, despite having a small team. I created a new fundraising and communications strategy, set up three new teams and got approval from a reluctant board.
At the same time, we had to continue to implement an existing fundraising programme.

My greatest hit
Turning Merlin from an organisation bringing in £500,000 a year in voluntary income into one that is now bringing in more than £4m.

My worst moment
I was working for the Environmental Investigation Agency and we were launching a big report about the illegal selling of CFCs.

It was due to launch on 1 September 1997 and there were huge expectations about the impact it would have. But Princess Diana died just before the launch. Our event had to be postponed because we knew the press would be focusing on nothing else.

The feeling that all our planning and hard work could go to waste was horrible, but we rescheduled for a few weeks later.

My top tip
Trust your gut instinct. It is generally right - it may just take your brain a long time to process it.

Interview by Annie Kelly

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus