Light bulb moment: Karen Addington on the board meeting that made her think

A key insight into the working life of the chief executive of JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity

Karen Addington
Karen Addington

I remember my third board meeting as chief executive of JDRF. I'd had years of experience in fundraising and senior management in the sector, but this was my first chief executive role and I came into it with ambitious plans for growth.

I went into the meeting all fired up to put across a clear business case and persuade the board to invest significant amounts of money in fundraising. But I suddenly realised that I had to manage people's emotional responses as well as their business responses, because at the time the board were all parents of children with type 1 diabetes. It is a life-threatening condition and tremendously frightening for parents whose children have it. They keep their children alive by injecting them with insulin several times a day – and even with these injections type 1 can have serious immediate and long-term health consequences.

I was asking them to take money from research in the short term to invest in our mission in the long term. Logically it made sense, but of course our donors hope that the next penny is the one that finds the cure for their children. I realised that it was a huge leap of faith for our trustees and learnt that I must always link the business case back to the impact that it could have on our beneficiaries – their children. The empathy that I learnt in that meeting has continued to influence the way I work and ensure we always look for integrity with our beneficiaries and the cause.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in
Follow us on:

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

Partner Content: Presented By Markel

When a property is being constructed, VAT is charged at the standard rate. But if you're a charity, health body, educational institution, housing association or finance house, the work may well fall into a category that justifies zero-rating - and you could make a massive saving

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now