Up and Coming: Vickie Hawkins of Medecins Sans Frontieres

Hawkins joined the humanitarian aid organisation in 1998 and has worked in countries including China, Afghanistan and Myanmar before being appointed executive director of MSF UK in May this year, aged 42

Vickie Hawkins
Vickie Hawkins

What did you learn from your time living abroad? The ability to listen – I learnt from working in many cross-cultural settings that not everyone communicates in the same way. I learnt to listen to people so that I understand what they mean. I also saw that MSF's principles are shared around the world – the desire to help people who are suffering the effects of conflict or disease runs across all of society.

What gives you job satisfaction? I enjoy drawing together all my experiences of working in the field and using them to build the profile of MSF and draw attention to humanitarian issues.

What advice do you have for other young leaders? Don't be afraid to try things. You'll never be disappointed if you try and fail, but if you don't give it a try, you'll never know.

How do you juggle your job with having a young family? I hope to create a better balance by this move to an HQ role. It is important to respect weekends and keep them for my family: two days is the very least they deserve.

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