CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Annu Mayor, head of fundraising, Fight for Sight

What was your first job? A Saturday job in a shoe shop in Oxford Street, London. Unfortunately, I never did sell enough and I was told that maybe asking customers to part with their money was not my vocation in life.

What does your current role involve? Fight for Sight tackles blindness by funding research into the treatment and prevention of eye disease and injury. We work mainly in the UK, with some international projects in South Africa and Ghana. The organisation has recently invested in direct marketing and I am building and developing the individual supporter base. I also manage a small but busy fundraising department.

Roughly outline your career path? I began by volunteering at Amnesty International's UK office over eight years ago and supported the events and trading teams. Then I moved on to running The Stroke Association's trading company and before starting my current job last month, I was the fundraising manager at SANE.

What training course has most enhanced your career?

Being managed well and having the freedom to take risks has been the best training I have had.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Single-handedly organising a benefit night for 400 people in less than a month. At the same time I recruited a fundraiser, and I was promoted. The event for SANE was held in the West End, where actor Ben Kingsley thanked me on stage for my hard work.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector?

Look out for volunteering opportunities and if you work in the private sector, ask your company about community involvement initiatives.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time? I have just renewed my Amnesty membership and I am looking into working for a helpline which advises young people.

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