Up and Coming: Harpinder Collacott of Development Initiatives

Question time with the executive director of the poverty elimination charity

Harpinder Collacott
Harpinder Collacott

Did you always plan to be an executive director? I've never been driven to reach a particular role. My drive has been about doing work that has meaning and value and can make a difference. My career progression has benefited from my willingness to take on new responsibilities – I've often put my hand up for tasks.

What advice would you give a young person in the sector? Be bold and have a can-do attitude. Try to think outside your job description and show you're motivated and want to learn. There are a lot of people who just focus on the barriers, so try to come up with solutions.

Is enough done to encourage leadership in charities? It depends on the organisation. Some large organisations have good talent management and training programmes. In smaller organisations, where money is tight, leadership and using human resources in a creative way can be neglected.

What helps you cope with pressure? I have two young children and they are a great distraction. My job is full time, so I make sure when I'm not working that there are clear barriers between work and home life. I also love running and try to fit in two or three runs a week.

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