Why did you choose finance as a career? Growing up in a developing world country, I was always aware of social inequalities. This drew me to look for opportunities to contribute by working in the charity sector. After graduating, I started work as an administrator for a local Edinburgh arts disability charity called Artlink. There I identified a need for financial literacy within the charity and I went on to complete a basic book-keeping certificate in my spare time. A subsequent business support role with Macmillan Cancer Support encouraged me to develop my skills further. Finance is a fascinating and rewarding career because it enables you to understand how organisations operate and make a difference in the world – it connects you to all parts of an organisation’s work.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far? I’m proudest of having been a positive change agent throughout my career, from initiating a strategic procurement function for the fire service in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to refocusing the corporate services functions and reinvigorating voluntary income generation in my current role.
What do you do outside work? I’m passionate about green space and how the environment affects our lives in cities. I am currently a trustee for the London Parks & Gardens Trust. I also love dance – I don’t do as much of it as I would like these days, but I see performances as often as I can.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? The wonderful thing about the third sector is the passionate and innovative people. Judy Cromarty, head of resources and planning at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, has been and continues to be a great influence.
If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Reform the lobbying act. It seems now that more than ever we need to have healthy democratic debate, and the act has had a disproportionate effect on the sector in terms of discouraging campaigning as well as adding an administrative burden. To fulfil their main purposes, charities need to be speaking out on a whole range of issues that affect the people they are trying to help.