CAREERS: How I Got Here - Angela Greatley, policy director, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health

What was your first job? I had a holiday job as a medical records clerk at my local hospital in Selly Oak in Birmingham.

What does your current role involve? As policy director of a leading mental health charity, I manage projects that support our objectives of providing a better quality of life for people with severe mental illnesses.

Our major projects range from an analysis of the funding available to mental healthcare to an initiative to improve services for black communities.

Roughly outline your career path. My first job after university was as an administrator for the Social Work Advisory Service, helping people get into the profession. I worked for numerous charities, including the Patients Association, then briefly as a researcher at a management consultancy before being a secretary of a community health council. I spent several years in NHS management before joining the King's Fund to be a fellow in mental health. I started my present role last month.

What training or course has most enhanced your career?

The Athena training programme for women in leadership at the King's Fund.

It brought together a lot of threads in management issues and allowed me to meet inspiring and highly experienced female leaders.

What has been your greatest career achievement? There are two things of which I am most proud. First, the chance to improve health services for black and minority ethnic communities in Haringey.

The second was the closure of a geriatric hospital and its replacement with nursing-home-type accommodation and the creation of a community team.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Work with passion.

If you have a belief then go for it. Carefully make a career plan and then ignore it if something more interesting comes along.

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