What made you work in the charity sector? I wanted a vocation rather than a job. I had a very strong sense of wanting to help other people in a much more direct way.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far? I think it is more a series of events rather than an individual one. I struggled with accountancy exams and never qualified as a chartered accountant. I have managed to overcome the perception that qualifications are the only measure of ability in a number of roles since.
What do you do outside work? I spend a lot of time with my family and I am a committed Buddhist. I enjoy sport, but mainly from the comfort of my armchair these days. We recently acquired a puppy and he keeps me very busy.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? I think it was initially an event rather than an individual. The financial crash in 2007 convinced me that my values didn’t coincide with some of those of big business. I wanted my work to sit more comfortably with my wider views. Around the same time, I became involved with Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha have had a profound influence on my life ever since.
If you were charities minister for the day what one thing would you do? I find it difficult to imagine achieving anything in as little as a day but I would try to convince the Prime Minister that our sector deserves a dedicated minister given the contribution it makes to society. Given my current role I would do my best to raise the awareness within government of a condition that affects more than seven million people in the UK.
Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? The voluntary sector has demonstrated resilience when faced with significant challenges over the past decade. The dedication and commitment of the people in the charity sector continues to inspire me and convinces me that there will always be a need for organisations that can harness the fundamental human desire to help others less fortunate than themselves.