Why did you choose finance as a career? Having studied a degree in maths it felt like a natural progression. Now I can see that being good with spreadsheets is far more important as an accountant than being able to solve quadratic equations. Being involved in the finances means that you get an insight into every aspect of an organisation, and I enjoy the balance between understanding the finer details and seeing the big picture.
What made you work in the charity sector? It was the same reason as for many others: wanting to make a positive difference by working for a cause I believe in. I started my career in audit and although I didn’t work on any non-profit engagements myself I could feel myself pulled in that direction. I feel a sense of pride in working to make difficult lives better. There is also so much to learn about. I’ve had the chance to visit innovative tech development projects in Uganda and in my current role at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust I’ve met incredible people who’ve achieved great things, despite the health challenges presented by the condition. When I hear about people who have cystic fibrosis and yet managed to climb Mount Everest, I’m inspired.
What do you do outside work? I enjoy volunteering with young people. I am the scout leader at 1st Coulsdon Scouts and spend a fair amount of my free time camping in muddy fields or attempting to teach 12-year-olds how to read a compass. The creativity needed to come up with new games and activities, and teach skills that aren’t covered at school, is a great release from everyday life in the office. I am also a trustee for a local charity – Croydon Mencap – and a member of a women’s barbershop chorus, which is good fun.
Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Charities are close to the hearts of many, and people in the UK are incredibly generous, so I think the future is bright for the charity sector. The cystic fibrosis community is close-knit. We find people raising funds in all sorts of ways, from cake sales in local church halls to events such as the Concert in the Clouds, which saw a team of musicians and explorers perform a record-breaking piano concert in the Himalayas. Social media platforms are innovative ways for us to raise cash, particularly with younger audiences. As a sector we are already pretty good at working together and sharing expertise, and I sense even more collaboration will be necessary for us to keep up with changes in the outside world.