My early ambition was to work as a diplomat for the Foreign Office, but I ended up putting my qualifications and interest in politics and public policy to different use, working at YouGov. I joined as a journalist and subeditor in 2000, but the company realised the money was in online polls rather than news coverage, so I moved to a role at the Home Office.
From there, I became a parliamentary assistant at the Commission for Racial Equality in 2001. During my time there – moving to the policy team and then becoming a policy adviser and speechwriter – I learnt much about the workings of Westminster and Whitehall.
But I was approaching 30 and the CRE was merging to become the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so it felt a good time to pursue my interest in international development.
I became senior public affairs adviser at World Vision in 2007 and after 18 months moved to Save the Children. My six years there was an incredible period, influencing the agenda of a new government and working on transformational global campaigns. I became head of government relations, but after rebuilding my team I felt I wanted to take on new challenges. The role at Shelter offered just that. I joined in August last year and am having to get up to speed quickly on housing as it rises up the agenda ahead of the election.
I'm looking forward to an exciting time for Shelter, leading our teams in our campaigns to build more homes, improve renting and defend the housing safety net.
Bernard Aryeetey is head of policy, research and public affairs at the housing and homelessness charity Shelter