My week: Joanna Elson

The chief executive of the Money Advice Trust attempts some delicate balancing acts.

Joanna Elson
Joanna Elson

Tuesday: I'm on leave today to deal with my jetlag. Two of my three daughters and I returned from a long weekend visiting family in Toronto yesterday. I check my work emails. I couldn't live without my Blackberry and I honestly believe it helps me manage my work-life balance. I also catch up on writing my blog on our intranet, which I meant to update before Easter but didn't quite get to. Most of our 130 staff are based in our contact centres in Birmingham, while I'm in London, so the blog helps me to keep in touch in between visits.

Wednesday: I attend my first meeting of an advisory group for new anti-poverty charity Turn2Us, run by the impressive Jolanta Lasota. I am also vice chair of financial inclusion forum Transact's advisory board, and I always get at least as much out of these charities as I put in. I later catch up with our new president, MP Ian McCartney, and agree the wording of an early day motion he is putting down in the Commons to support the advice we and the Council of Mortgage Lenders are giving to borrowers whose fixed-rate mortgages are coming to an end this year.

Thursday: I meet my chair, Martin Hall, at Euston at 8.30am for a day at the contact centres. We catch up on gossip as well as lots of work. During the day we run sessions for all staff teams on our plans for the year and explain how the trustees are a vital part of the organisation. It's a long day and I'm flagging by the time I get home, just in time to put the girls to bed. I am revived by my yoga class, which helps, quite literally, with the balance thing. I'm home by 10pm and my wonderful husband has dinner on the table. We eat, drink and reflect on our days: Simon is deputy head of a local comprehensive school, and the governance and people issues are often very similar.

Friday: I start planning for a meeting I have with Adam Sampson, chief executive of Shelter, on debt and homelessness. I recently heard long-term Shelter supporter Ken Loach going head-to-head with Adam on the Today programme, urging people not to donate to Shelter. I thought this was so mind-bogglingly irresponsible that I increased my subscription. This is followed by lunch with one of our funders, a major bank. We celebrate being a footnote in the Chancellor's Budget, with the Government and banks both doubling their support to Business Debtline over three years. I receive news from one of our trustees that he has become the father of a third daughter. I order flowers and tell him three daughters are great.

- The Money Advice Trust provides free advice to people with debt problems.

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