FD in Five minutes: Mark Hallam of Sea Cadets

The director of finance, IT and trading on how smiling faces and good feedback make his job worthwhile

Mark Hallam
Mark Hallam

Q. What led you from the Navy to finance?

A. I was a seaman officer and I drove ships, but there's not much call for that in the commercial world - at least not ashore. So I started looking for a professional qualification. If I had chosen law, I would have had to go back to school for two years, whereas with accountancy I could study while I was working. So that's what I did.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. It's the sea cadets themselves. From time to time, we are sent photographs and film clips, and you see such wonderful, smiling faces. Some of the feedback from a recent survey we ran was about how we are like a second family. That makes it all worthwhile.

Q. You are a keen linguist - what languages do you speak and why?

A. I've always enjoyed languages, ever since I married my wife, who teaches French and Spanish. As an accountant, I moved to Luxembourg because I couldn't choose between French and German, so I chose both in effect. I learned Spanish too, which is useful because I have family living in Spain.

Q. How would you summarise your career?

A. I've been through all three sectors in my career, which not too many people can say: I started out in the public sector, went to the private sector and then came to the charity sector. I haven't looked back - it's a lot of fun. There's a lot of hard work too, but ultimately it's so satisfying.

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