CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Ges Roulstone, divisional director for children & adult services, Sense UK

What was your first job? I worked as a volunteer for Acorn Village in Manningtree in Essex, helping people with learning disabilities.

What does your current role involve? I manage Sense's operations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We operate a range of services, employing more than 1,500 people with a budget of £35m. There is enormous demand for our specialist services to deafblind people and their families. We have to balance that with the need to maintain our reputation for quality.

Roughly outline your career path After nine months as a volunteer, I spent three years working for the Spastics Society. When I returned to the UK after working in the US, I took up my first management role, in charge of a residential home for people with learning disabilities. I joined Sense in 1992 and became regional director for Sense East in 1996. More recently, I was appointed divisional director for children and adult services.

What training has most enhanced your career? My MSc course in management offered me a range of options directly linking management subjects to health and social care issues.

What has been your greatest career achievement? The new services I have commissioned at Sense, designed to meet the needs of people for whom no other service, or service provider, was suitable or available.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? I always remind people that working for a charity is different from other jobs. It is not about us, it is about the people we serve. If you remember that and make it your aim, you will always be able to make a difference to people's lives, and therein lies success.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? I have run marathons, including London and New York, to raise money for Sense. Sense is one of the official charities for this year's London Marathon and I intend to raise another £1,500.

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