FD in Five Minutes - Rachel Pigott

Third Sector speaks to the head of finance at Brightside, a social mobility charity that creates mentoring connections to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds

Rachel Pigott
Rachel Pigott

Why did you choose finance as a career?

Finance is critical for good business, and I see good business as essential for charities to ensure they are meeting their mission and maximising the outcomes for their beneficiaries. I always wanted to work for a social enterprise that combines business principles with a focus on social impact instead of maximising gains for shareholders.

What made you work in the charity sector?

As soon as I got to know Brightside I knew I wanted to work here. We provide online mentoring for the young people who need it most, and our online platform means we can give young people access to mentors all across the country. It’s such an exciting time to be here: 2018 marks our 15th anniversary; we will hit £1m in revenue; we’ve had more than 50 per cent growth; and we will have worked with 100,000 young people.

What do you do outside work?

I try to run or do yoga a few times a week, I go to the cinema and read a lot, and also enjoy travelling and getting out and about in London. I’m on the board of another charity, which helps me understand things from the board’s perspective at Brightside.

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

My family. My granny, my mum and my brother all worked or work in the civil service, so I grew up wanting to have a career that makes a difference.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? 

I believe that there needs to be a shift in the way charities are viewed by the public, which I think is outdated. My view is that to have the most impact and ensure resources are used most effectively for beneficiaries, charities need to invest in their core capacity, pay well enough to get the best talent into the sector and need to have diverse boards – even if that means paying trustees.

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