CAREERS: How I got here - Debbie Ramsay, head of fundraising, VSO

What was your first job? I took 45 American kids from Greece to London by coach as a summer holiday job. Our first trip was to a Greek temple at a stunning site overlooking the Mediterranean. The kids were from Kansas and most had never seen the sea before.

What does your current role involve? I oversee three teams of fundraisers working across the corporate, community and individual donor sectors. Our target is to increase funds by 50 per cent by 2005. There is also a board role allowing me to contribute to the overall direction of VSO.

Roughly outline your career path. It hasn't been a conventional career path towards charity work. As a graduate trainee at British Airways, I cut my teeth on market research. I then moved into marketing communications. Next, I turned poacher by joining BA's advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi as planning director for its integrated communications agency. That was followed by a stint planning British Telecom's communications strategy and after that I became planning director at direct marketing agency Evans Hunt Scott (now EHSBrann) where I spent six years. I joined Centrica, working as head of customer relationship management for British Gas, before deciding it was high time I did something meaningful and moved into the charity sector last month.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? It's hard to say, but probably the graduate training at BA kick-started my career the most.

What is your advice to people starting in the sector? Given that this is my first month, it would be a bit presumptuous to start handing out advice.

Are there any charities you support financially? Lots, but there isn't one specific charity. I give to appeals, numerous events, raffles and sponsor things to do with my kids.

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