FD in Five Minutes: James Robertson

Third Sector speaks to the head of finance at The Challenge, which works for a more integrated society

James Robertson
James Robertson

Q Why did you choose finance?

I came across the FT journalist John Authers at the height of the financial crisis. He presented a succinct and insightful series of 10-minute videos, The Short View, on a range of topics. My interest really grew from there.

Q What made you work in the charity sector?

A desire to work in a sector where success translates into a tangible social good. Financial services and private equity are very technically challenging and dynamic, but the numbers become disconnected from the "boots on the ground".

Q What is the proudest moment of your career?

The Challenge recently launched its first impact report, showing the benefit we are having each year for young people. It is too easy for organisations to lose sight of their missions as they grow, so measuring and proving the growth in a young person’s self-confidence makes it all worthwhile.

Q What do you do outside work?

I’m a non-committed jogger, but fencing and both Latin and ballroom dancing have been big passions.

Q Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far?

My fiancée. She’s worked most of her career in charities and pushed me to have the courage to move from the private sector. She also makes sure I never lose sight of the wood for the trees.

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