Careers: Job Ladder - Steve Tibbet, policy and campaigns director, Action Aid UK

What was your first job? I worked for Avon County Council in Bristol. I was the 'meals on wheels' man, delivering food to elderly people. I did that for nine months.

What were your two key career moves? Leaving the Press Complaints Commission in 1993 to do a master's in development studies at South Bank University.

The commission is a watchdog, but I felt that it was working very much in the interests of the press and I became a bit disillusioned. Joining War on Want in 1997 was also an important step. It taught me a lot about the NGO sector and really focused my career.

Why do you think you got your present job? My experience in campaigning and policy, which was an aspect of my previous role at War on Want. And luck.

Who or what has been your biggest influence? My family. My father was an Indian Jew from Calcutta and my mother is German. This mixed background gave me a sense of belonging to an international community. What was the best moment of your career? Exposing an arms deal between the UK Government and Morocco in 1999. Although the Government had previously said it wouldn't, we found that it was supplying the arms used by Morocco to control Western Sahara. So we launched legal proceedings.

... and your worst moment? When the judge said that we took too long to bring the case to court and decided to drop it. It was quite depressing.

What's your tip for success? Be clear about what you want and stick at it. You also have to be patient - it is not a sector where you can rise to the top easily.

How do you relax? I like to relax with my family. I have a good work-life balance at Action Aid. There is more support available, probably because it is a big organisation.

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