CAREERS: How I got here - Eileen Ward, director, Borderline

What was your first job? After finishing my communications degree at college, I worked as groups organiser for Shelter, travelling around the UK meeting voluntary groups and carrying out speaking engagements.

What does your current role involve? Borderline works to support homeless Scots in London, so I need to be familiar with the housing and advice situation both here in England and in Scotland. Our main priorities are to broaden our funding base and find new premises.

Roughly outline your career path? After Shelter, I was a pastoral assistant in a north London parish. I then went to a residential retreat and conference centre where I developed skills in marketing and finance. After that I worked for a psychotherapy organisation, before I moved to Arts & Business. I then managed a small charity before freelancing for 18 months. I joined Borderline in October this year.

What has been your greatest career achievement? The one still to come, but I am particu-larly proud of my involvement in establishing a reduced-fee clinic at a psychotherapy organisation for people on low incomes.

What is your biggest career regret? Not realising I could have trained in the commercial sector first, volunteered in my leisure time, and then moved across.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Don't see the sector as a soft option. We need to utilise our resources even more effectively than businesses. Develop all the professional skills you can, and recognise that at any senior level you'll need fundraising, financial and people management skills.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time? Time is usually scarce in this sector. I support a number of charities on an ad-hoc basis and often give to the NSPCC as it makes regular giving accessible.

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