Careers: Job Ladder - Paul Brigham, education and marketing director, Tearfund

What was your first job? When I left school I joined the Royal Navy as an officer and sailed three of the seven seas.

What were your two key career moves? Becoming managing director of a 136-store trade merchant, which I rebranded as Dulux Decorator Centres. The toughest decision though was to move out of corporate life to be a minister at an Anglican church, while at the same time running my own management consultancy.

Why do you think you got your present job? My unusual blend of senior executive skills, church leadership and broad commercial experience.

Who has been your biggest influence? The leadership and sheer courage of Ernest Shackleton on his ill-fated expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914 on the aptly named ship Endurance.

What was the best moment of your career? Only a few weeks ago, seeing the work of a Tearfund church partner in the slums of Bogota in Columbia, and witnessing hope restored to desperately poor communities. Our partners work in an area between two hills that is regularly flooded and visited by paramilitaries who recruit children by force. It was really moving to meet these people who, despite their hard living conditions, have far more hope for the future than anybody in the UK.

... and your worst moment? Appearing on the front page of The Sun newspaper having a pint with a member of the Royal Family.

What is your tip for success? Be yourself - if you try to emulate someone else you'll likely end up in a role that suits them not you!

How do you relax? A few days hill-walking in Scotland or the Lake District. It is the best tonic for keeping sane and recharging the batteries, as I commute from Oxford to London every day.

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