FD in Five Minutes: Karen Bass

Third Sector speaks to the chief operating officer at BBC Children in Need

Karen Bass
Karen Bass

Why did you choose your current career?

As a child I liked to pretend that I ran a business, and I also loved maths. As my career developed, I realised that my personal motivations are closely linked to having a positive human impact. I also had some exposure in my personal life to the disadvantages that children can face and how much they can benefit from the right support, so I jumped at the chance to join BBC Children in Need.

What’s your biggest challenge at work?

My role as chief operating officer is very broad and busy. My biggest challenge is spotting what needs my time and attention as a priority, then creating the head space to focus on them. I still have to coach myself to let the less important things go. When you can see opportunities to make things better for children and young people, this can be challenging.

What do you do outside work?

I have a busy family life with my husband and two children. I have to work hard to carve out time for myself, but it is really important for my wellbeing to do exactly that. I am learning how to play the piano, I practise yoga and I am training for a half-marathon, all of which help me to switch off from the daily pressures of being a working mum.

Which three people would be at your fantasy dinner party?

I played a lot of tennis when I was younger, so I would like to meet Björn Borg and hear about his career and his rivalry and friendship with John McEnroe. I am fascinated by female trailblazers, so would like to hear what life was like for Elizabeth I. Finally, I think there are some great female comedy writers around at the moment, and would like Diane Morgan to be there to make us all laugh.

What three things would you take with you if you were exiled to a desert island?

I would take a massive jar of Marmite, my bullet journal and some Earl Grey tea.

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