CAREERS: How I Got Here - John Neate, chief executive, The Prostate Cancer Charity

What was your first job? I was administrator of a small hospital in south-east London at the height of trade union power. Boy, did I learn a lot and fast.

What does your current role involve? The Prostate Cancer Charity is the largest in its field and funds research as well as providing written, helpline and web site information. It has also set up a growing network of specialist nurses and campaigns to raise public awareness of the condition. My job is to ensure that all we do adds real value to the lives of people affected by prostate cancer.

Roughly outline your career path? I held several hospital management jobs, including latterly the post of general manager of an acute hospital in Berkshire. I then developed a health strategy for the Oxford Regional Health Authority. Having a bit of a campaigning spirit, I moved to the voluntary sector in 1994 as a management consultant and then development director with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I started my current job in February this year.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? The Henley MBA taught me a lot. I had fun and used the opportunity to network with people in the voluntary sector.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Working with the local community and with staff to win a sustained campaign to retain key clinical services at my hospital in Ascot.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? As a manager, forget your formal role. You'll achieve more by leadership than formal position and you will need most of the people with you for most of the time.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? Apart from Oxfam, I support a number of Christian charities including Tear Fund and The Salvation Army. I volunteer at Reading Vineyard Church.

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