CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Judith Dutton, head of donor marketing, Macmillan Cancer Relief

What was your first job? After my degree in biological sciences, I was a research assistant at University College Hospital in London. My small team and I researched a specific type of leukaemia.

What does your current role involve? As head of donor marketing at Macmillan Cancer Relief, I lead and develop the team on direct and database marketing, trading and supporter services. I also encourage the wider use of their expertise throughout the organisation.

Roughly outline your career path. - Having realised that research wasn't for me, I moved into a marketing role, from where I chose to focus on direct marketing. I've now worked in direct marketing for 15 years. My early career was spent mainly client-side in the commercial sector.

I moved to the charity sector four years ago and joined Macmillan in February. My desire to work for a leading cancer charity stems from my father's death from the disease two years ago.

What training course has most enhanced your career? The management development programme I undertook at Claritas was a very thorough programme that covered the theory and practice of being a manager.

What has been your greatest career achievement? In my second direct marketing role, I brought in 150,000 members in less than three years to a newly launched book club.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Keep going. If your heart is in it, ignore the frustrations and press on. Also, be prepared to drop a level to break into the sector - it's not the easy option it was once perceived to be.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time?I have participated in a number of sponsored events. The most memorable was walking Offa's Dyke path (the full length of the England-Wales border) in aid of a local Macmillan appeal.

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