Careers: Job Ladder - Sarah Taylor Peace, director of fundraising and marketing, Rethink

What was your first job? I was a children's book seller at Waterstones in Richmond. It was just after university and I thought it was only going to be a temporary job but I stayed there for a couple of years as I was promoted a number of times.

What were your two key career moves? Firstly, leaving Waterstones to work at Samaritans' headquarters as fundraising and publicity assistant.

I stayed there for 18 months, helping local groups across the UK to raise funds in their communities. The second key career move was becoming a freelance consultant in fundraising and marketing. It was just after my pregnancy. Being self-employed gave me more flexibility to look after my child and enabled me to work on very varied fundraising projects.

Why do you think you got your present job? I think I got it because I had 10 years' experience in both fundraising and marketing. Rethink relies on diverse sources of income and it needed somebody who had experience in all aspects of fundraising. I had two interviews; I made a presentation for the first one and then had a chat with the chief executive.

Who or what has been your biggest influence? I have a small group of friends that I met while I was at Samaritans. We all mentor each other.

What was the best moment of your career? A couple of weeks ago, when we learned that we made three successful trust bids of a total of £300,000. As a fundraiser, it is always a big moment to find out that all the hard work paid off.

... and your worst moment? At Age Concern four years ago when we came second in a bid for corporate funding amounting to over £1m. The money went to another charity.

How do you relax? I live near the office, which enables me to spend more time with my son every morning.

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