CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Stephen Carrick-Davies, chief executive, Childnet International

What was your first job? When I left university in 1984, I set up my own charity, producing multi-media presentations on social issues for young people. Through this I learned a lot about risk-taking, communicating with young people and fundraising.

What does your current role involve? Childnet works with others to help make the internet an exciting, safe place for children. We also run education and protection projects which help address the online safety issues (see childnet-int.org).

Roughly outline your career path After working in audio-visual production in the 1980s, I moved into fundraising and communications and worked for seven years helping inner-city community groups and churches to work more pro-actively in their communities. Six years ago, I decided to help my partner look after our first child, so I agreed to take a new job at Childnet working four days a week. I have been there ever since. I can only be an effective leader if I get the right balance between my work and home life. This is a real challenge for all parents.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? Common Purpose, a dynamic cross-sector programme for senior managers.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Developing the Cable & Wireless Childnet Academy, which rewards young people who are creating positive internet projects that benefit others.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Focus on an area or sector that you have a real passion for, and where you can make a real difference. Ask questions, and take your training seriously.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? Yes. I have carefully developed a portfolio of eight charities. These range from local charities and national initiatives, to global poverty relief programmes.

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