My career: James Beeby, the Stroke Association

The head of corporate fundraising values focus and patience

- The best advice I've had

Stay focused on the partnerships that are going to bring in the most money. It sounds obvious, but by nature we like to say yes, and that means we can easily get distracted by other projects. Be patient and it will be worth it in the end.

- The biggest challenge I've faced

I'd say it's what my team and I are trying to do at the moment: get the Stroke Association promoted to the next league of corporate partnerships. To achieve this we need to improve people's perceptions: stroke has a reputation of being inevitable and untreatable, but this simply isn't true.

- My greatest hit

My former boss at Leonard Cheshire Disability and I put together and won a bid to create a programme to help disabled people into self-employment. I know everyone who joins the sector says they want to make a difference, and we can get a bit cynical about that sometimes, but this really did do that, and I still feel great about it.

- My worst moment

Seeing two £1m partnerships fall through in the space of two weeks last year. It was at the start of the economic crisis and companies were tightening their belts, so a slowdown in corporate support was inevitable; but it was still a real body blow to me and my team. After you've sworn a bit (a lot, actually) and felt sorry for yourself, the only way to deal with something like that is to accept that it's just one of those things.

- My top tip

When you're pitching, clients almost always tell you the solution they are looking for, even if they don't realise it. So always answer the brief. I am constantly amazed by how often people in any business can just go off on a tangent because they believe what they are doing is so important that they neglect to look at what their client, or potential client, wants.

- Interview by Annie Kelly.

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