Up and Coming: Ruth Hunt of Stonewall

Hunt joined the gay equality charity in 2005 as senior policy officer, rising to become its chief executive in July at the age of 34

Ruth Hunt of Stonewall
Ruth Hunt of Stonewall

What's your biggest career break? Probably being president of the Oxford University Student Union. It gave me an insight into how to run a strategic campaign. It is hard to break into this work – experience like that is gold dust.

Does being a young leader give you an advantage? I think I have a more intuitive insight into who our beneficiaries are, because there's a danger that you can lose sight of that. The world of gay equality has been transformed since I left school in the late 1990s. Having a range of perspectives means our organisation has more to offer.

What advice would you give to aspiring young leaders? It is important to find an authentic voice and find what makes you a leader. You should surround yourself with a range of mentors who can give you different perspectives as you find your leadership style.

How did it feel to be named the fifth most influential gay person in Britain in last year's Pink List? I was a little embarrassed. But it's good because there were very few gay women in the public domain when I was growing up. I hope it encourages all young women – not just those who are gay – to have a voice.

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