Careers: How I Got Here - Maggie Baxter, executive director, Womankind Worldwide

What was your first job? I was secretary to the managing director of a paper factory, having left school at 16.

What does your current role involve? I juggle work that allows us to influence the policy debate in the UK with field trips to ensure I understand our partners' work. I meet donors and get them to feel enthusiastic about women's rights, which sometimes feels as if it has dropped off the international agenda. I also bridge relationships between trustees, staff and partners, along with managing finances, strategic planning, and representing the organisation externally.

Roughly outline your career path Over my 30 years in the voluntary sector, I have moved from the local to the global. I first worked on a community settlement in Stepney, East London and also at Camden Council, before moving to a London-wide job with the Baring Foundation.

I then worked as grants director at Comic Relief before moving into the international development sector with my appointment to Womankind.

What training has most enhanced your career? People I have known.

What has been your greatest achievement? Moving a women's rights and development agency to an organisation which sees policy change as an equal partner to grass-roots work. In the long term, changes to policy will benefit women.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? Maintain your integrity, and expect some bumps along the way.

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

I am chair of trustees of the City Parochial Foundation and Trust for London, and a trustee of Hilden Charitable Trust, Dance United and Women at Risk. I am also an association member of Oxfam. I financially support Oxfam and various human-rights and development agencies.

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