FD in Five Minutes: Brett Llewellyn

Third Sector speaks to the finance director at Dogs Trust

Brett Llewellyn
Brett Llewellyn

Why did you choose finance as a career? I’d just finished high school in Australia as an 18 year-old and I knew I wanted to do something in business. A friend of mine and I ended up getting jobs as fresh-faced cadets in the audit division of an accountancy firm. The reason I have stayed working in finance is that there are very few elements of any business or charity that do not require some element of financial input and advice. It’s the ability to be involved in the many and varied areas of an organisation that I enjoy, and the fact I can bring my experience to really make a difference is what makes it worthwhile.

What made you work in the charity sector? I think very few people work in the charity sector without having some intrinsic desire to help others, and that is certainly the case for me. I’ve always had a desire to combine my experience with a passion of helping others wherever I can. At Dogs Trust, I get such a wide variety of challenges and work with a truly wonderful, caring and professional team of people – not to mention the dogs, which are adorable. It is amazing to be able to help our four-legged friends in some way and, by extension, their new owners.

What do you do outside work? I love to travel and meet new people from all sorts of different backgrounds. My wife has to travel a lot for work and I’m very fortunate to be able to tag along from time to time with her to a wide variety of countries. As Australians, we have this innate desire to explore, whether here in the UK or further afield. A couple of years ago I took up spin cycling classes and I find the 6am class a great way to kick-start the day a couple of times a week. Oh, and there’s nothing better than a cosy pub on a cold winter’s Saturday watching the rugby.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? Some time ago, I worked for a travel company in Australia for many years under the leadership of an Englishman called Chris Chaplin, who has sadly passed away. Chris was a truly inspiring leader. He seemed to have the rare gift of getting the balance right between getting the job done and having a laugh along the way. He taught me how to get the best out of people and the importance of being fair, honest and up front with your staff in order to help them grow and, in turn, achieve two-way respect. Chris definitely had the rare ability to combine being respected with being liked and always reminded me to laugh because life is too short not to.

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