FD in Five Minutes: Tom Espley

The finance director at Global Canopy on living his values

Tom Espley
Tom Espley

What made you work in the charity sector? While training in audit, I volunteered with a development charity. It motivated me to get through the training, and I switched sectors shortly after qualifying. I stayed in the sector because the culture fits me. I love that we’re trying to understand and solve really challenging questions about people, planet and society.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? Working inTajikistan/Central Asia: learning the language, visiting community groups in out-of-the-way places and developing the team of local staff so that eventually no expats were needed.

What do you do outside work? Two young children keep me busy. Cooking is my go-to relaxation. I’ve always volunteered, often as an accountant. I love the work and its contribution. I am treasurer of a local charity supporting asylum seekers.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? My wife: I met her while volunteering at a charity, followed her into this sector, and her job took us to Tajikistan. My parents taught me to live by my values.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Find a way to empower charities to be small-p, non-party political. If you’re going to address problems, there has to be a political dimension.

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