CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Linda Dunion, campaign director, "See Me" anti-stigma campaign

What was your first job? I was a Saturday girl at Boots in Crieff, Scotland. My first permanent job following university in 1977 was as a nursing assistant at Gogarburn Hospital, Edinburgh. It was one of the big edge-of-town institutions for people with learning disabilities which has now been razed to the ground.

What does your current role involve? I run the Scottish "See Me" campaign to eliminate the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health problems. Building support right across the country and keeping the issue in the public eye over the medium to long term is the next challenge.

Roughly outline your career path? I returned to work in 1985 as administrator at Scottish War on Want after the birth of my daughter. I then worked for Scottish Education and Action for Development for nine years, six of those as director. Then I moved to become director at the Scottish Down's Syndrome Association and spent three years as assistant director of policy and public affairs at Age Concern Scotland. I took up my present position this June.

What training course has most enhanced your career? In 1984-85 I did a diploma for graduate secretaries and have never been out of work since.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Running the campaign for free personal care for older people in Scotland. It was a genuinely grass-roots campaign (despite what some cynics claim) and was an early demonstration of the Scottish Parliament's capacity to deliver on social justice.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Never forget that what you are doing really matters: it does make a difference to people's lives. This is a particularly pertinent question as my daughter has just completed university and gone straight to work for a voluntary organisation.

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