FD in Five Minutes: Rohan Hewavisenti of the RNIB

The group director of the resources division at the sight-loss charity got the charity bug when working in China

Rohan Hewavisenti
Rohan Hewavisenti

Q. What attracted you to the charity sector?

My partner and I both considered working for Voluntary Service Overseas after university, but didn’t – later, however, we decided to do it after all. We worked in China for a couple of years, and that’s where I got the charity bug. Since then, I have worked for ActionAid, Breast Cancer Care and, most recently, the British Red Cross.

Q. Have you always wanted to see different countries?

It was an ambition when I was younger, so after university I took time off to travel and work in the US, France, Italy and Israel. I was then in ActionAid’s international audit team and had a chance to see the impact of our work in 20 different countries and cultures. I am passionate about languages – I did French and Italian at school and learnt Mandarin when I was in China.

Q. What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day?

I would recognise the skills and experience of people in the health, education and charity sectors, which are valuable for the other sectors, including business, rather than thinking the private sector has all the answers. Change should be led by the needs of patients, students, beneficiaries and donors. Change should not be led by journalists, politicians or [NCVO chief executive] Sir Stuart Etherington.

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