CAREERS: How I Got Here - Simon Pope, senior communications officer, The Blue Cross

What was your first job?

I spent two years as a staff archaeologist with the Museum of London from 1988 following my archaeology degree at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

What does your current role involve? As senior communications officer, I run the press office, which involves being both proactive in attempting to change how people act in the first place and alerting them to potential pitfalls, and reactive to news that comes in which we can give our voice to.

Roughly outline your career path? In 1990, the Wilderness Leadership Foundation placed me on a six-month internship to Namibia with Save the Rhino Trust. I liked it so much that I stayed two years. From 1992, I spent five years as a political researcher to Nigel Griffiths, Labour MP for Edinburgh South. Then I joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) as UK office public affairs manager, which I left last November to take up my present role.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? An intermediate managerial course run by the Industrial Society in 1999 when I had no formal management training.

What has been your greatest career achievement? At IF AW, I ran a campaign for the basking shark, which led to the Government submitting my listing proposal to CITES, the regulatory body for the trade of endangered species.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? People should enlist the support and backing of politicians more as it's the best way to bring about change. It also helps to be a political animal and know the pressure points.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? I sit on the council of Rescue, the British Archaeological Trust and I raise awareness for Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia.

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