CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Catherine Lightfoot, head of fundraising, British Lung Foundation

What was your first job?

I worked at Friends of the Earth doing door-to-door promotion of covenants on a six-week contract in 1991.

What does your current role involve? As head of fundraising, I manage a team that consists of trust, corporate, events, direct marketing and legacies staff. The team has recently appointed a new direct marketing/donor development manager and a trust fundraising manager. It's an exciting period for us.

Roughly outline your career path? I joined the fundraising team at WaterAid after volunteering for street collections for Oxfam. I then moved to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and spent four years as the national fundraising manager, establishing a team of regional fundraisers before spending six months as acting head of fundraising.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? Early in my career I attended a media training course that taught me to focus clearly on what my organisation is doing and to express the charity's case for support in a jargon-free way.

What has been your greatest career achievement? At WaterAid I developed a three-year relationship with the Girl Guides that culminated in an event called the Wacky Wash which raised £50,000.

What is your biggest career regret? When I joined the British Lung Foundation I gave up smoking. During the hard process of quitting, I thought that I should have gradually cut down instead. But once I'd learned about smoking-related diseases, I had no regrets.

What's your advice to people starting out in the sector? Show initiative and identify gaps in your organisation that you can fill with a new concept.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time? My brother has Down's syndrome and I support the work of Mencap. I also donate to Friends of the Earth and WaterAid.

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