My career: Sharon Wheeler, the Rainbow Trust

The trusts and foundations manager left the glamour of the music industry for the charity sector

- The best advice I've had

I can be a bit of a bull in a china shop and have a tendency to become extremely bouncy when excited, so the best advice I've had was from The X Factor judge Simon Cowell. He sometimes tells his proteges to take deep breaths and breathe slowly to calm themselves down. I try to do it but it doesn't always work, as some of my colleagues will testify.

- The biggest challenge I've faced

Leaving my previous career as a PR in the music industry and joining the charity sector. I wasn't certain I was ready for it, let alone whether the charity sector was ready for me, but I'm here now and I've never looked back.

- My greatest hit

One of my greatest achievements in this job has been learning to be patient, which is not something that comes naturally to me. One particular trust I worked with springs to mind because it took two years of preparation before I was ready to make an appeal to it. I watched its giving patterns and made sure my timing was right before I hit it with an ask. All my patience was rewarded because we got a three-year grant of £15,000 a year. I got a lovely warm and satisfying feeling when the grant letter arrived.

- My worst moment

I forgot to include something in a large trust application when the guidelines clearly stated "if the application is not complete it will be rejected immediately" - and they weren't kidding. This mistake put me about £25,000 off target. I worked my butt off to find funding from other sources to make up for it, which was hard work. But I did it.

- My top tip

Make sure that you check, check and check again.

Interview by Annie Kelly

 

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