Personal account: Jessica Maybanks

NCH's community fundraiser reveals why she always expects the unexpected.

The best advice I've had

Probably the title of Richard Branson's book Screw It, Let's Do It. I add my own caveat that a fair amount of caution and contingency must accompany this maxim, but who can argue with the philosophy of an entrepreneurial self-made millionaire whose philanthropic work is also fairly spectacular?

The biggest challenge I've faced

I think most fundraisers would agree that lurching from challenge to challenge is part and parcel of this job, and that yesterday's greatest challenge is often overshadowed by tomorrow's. But one huge challenge that springs to mind is putting on a big London concert with just three other team members shortly after starting my current role at NCH. Never have I worn so many hats for one event: I was a creative writer, promoter, script-writer, stage manager, childcare assistant, backstage hand, caterer and more.

My greatest hit

I absolutely love getting teams involved in dragon boat racing and I can highly recommend the annual Dragon Boat Festival at Bewl Water reservoir in Kent. Teams on average raise between £2,000 and £4,000, so when my 2006 team of employees from a large finance company raised £8,000 I was thrilled. When the company agreed to match their fundraising efforts, I was over the moon.

My worst moment

Arriving early at a committee meeting in Folkestone, I nipped to the local toilets on the sea front only to be locked into the building courtesy of a conscientious council worker. Mercifully, one small window had been left ajar and I decided to go for broke. I have never classed myself as particularly dignified or ladylike, but squeezing out of that window that fateful afternoon was not my finest hour. I still watch the likes of You've Been Framed with trepidation.

My top tip

Be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected can be good news and sometimes bad, but both take time and effort. We recently discovered we were to be the beneficiary of a prestigious event in London, which was fantastic news, but accommodating the last-minute requirements of the organisers was quite challenging. Last week, my manager said to me: "Jessica, I know that you like to put 120 per cent into a day's work, but try to just put in 115 per cent so that you have 5 per cent available for last-minute contingencies."

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