CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Katharine Hall, trusts executive, Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

What was your first job? I was a counter waitress at Dunkin' Donuts in Montreal, Canada.

What does your current role involve? The hospital specialises in rehabilitation and long-term care for people with severe disabilities resulting in brain damage, and people with neurological illnesses such as Huntington's disease or MS. My role is to raise money from trusts and foundations and to develop and maintain relationships with our current funders.

Roughly outline your career path. While at McGill University in Montreal, I worked as a freelance chorister and soloist in professional choirs.

I accumulated three degrees in English, education and music, but then decided I wanted to live in London. I applied for an education post with Hope UK and the executive director offered to train me as fundraising co-ordinator. I accepted and took the Institute of Fundraising certificate.

My previous role was as a trust and corporate fundraiser at St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney. I moved to my current post in January 2003.

What training or course has most enhanced your career?

The first module of the Institute of Fundraising certificate was a wonderful overview of the skills required in effective fundraising. What has been your greatest career achievement? The opportunity to fulfil several dreams by moving to the UK was made possible by the offer from Hope UK. It's not solely my achievement, but it definitely changed my path.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Be interested in everyone. It's not difficult and the dividends in terms of advice, resources and cash can be surprising.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time? Christian Aid, Hope UK and St Barnabas' Church in Clapham Common.

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