CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Harriet Lamb, executive director, Fair Trade Foundation

What was your first job?

In the 80s, I spent 18 months in India working with co-operatives, then I worked for the fair pay unit in the UK campaigning for a national minimum wage.

What does your current role involve?

Setting the strategic direction of the Fair Trade Foundation, with our key aims being to dramatically increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade products.

Roughly outline your career path.

I've always been concerned with social justice. After spending the 80s dealing with low-pay issues and refugees in the north east of England, I spent six years with the World Development Movement, campaigning against the arms trade.

From 1999, I worked in Bonn, Germany at our Fair Trade Labelling Organisation international office. I left to become the executive director of the foundation in August 2001.

What training or course has most enhanced your career?

The time I spent in India was more important than any formal training course I've ever done.

What has been your greatest career achievement?

To facilitate increasing sales of Fair Trade bananas in Europe. For instance, zero to 20 per cent in just three years in Switzerland and we saw an 85 per cent growth rate of Fair Trade banana business in the UK in 2001.

What would you change in your career if you could?

There are small incidents that could have gone better but nothing major.

What's your advice to people starting out in the sector?

Hold true to your beliefs. Those people who began Fair Trade were laughed at to begin with but look at what they've achieved. Have courage in your vision.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time?

I donate to Christian Aid, Oxfam, and One World Action and I'm also a member of the World Development Movement.

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