CAREERS: How I Got Here - Mike King, chief executive, Environment Council

What was your first job? I was in horticulture, working for a business pioneering the use of wildflowers in landscaping.

What does your current role involve? The Environment Council's primary objective is to bring together people from all sectors to develop long-term solutions to environmental issues. As chief executive, I lead its strategic development, maintain a motivated workforce and raise enough money to keep the whole show on the road.

Roughly outline your career path. I did a degree in environmental science and a masters in landscape management before they became fashionable so, upon graduating, it was a manpower services scheme for me. Luckily, it was run by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers where I stayed for the next 16 years, the last eight as director of conservation.

I then became chief executive of the Living Earth Foundation, promoting environmental education in the developing world. The UK scene beckoned, hence the move to the council in April.

What training course has most enhanced your career?

I attended a week-long 'countryside exchange' where professionals from the US and UK came together in small teams to work on environmental case studies. The bigger picture this gave was extremely valuable.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Leading the strategic planning process in BTCV and seeing it bring about real change.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Take off the rose-tinted spectacles. It's a white-knuckle ride but great fun.

Are there any charities that you support financially or with time? I'm a passionate birdwatcher and have a longstanding membership of the RSPB and volunteer for the Sussex Ornithological Society.

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