Liz Smith, head of guiding development, Girlguiding UK

Liz Smith, head of guiding development at Girlguiding UK, talks about her 10-year career at the charity

Liz Smith
Liz Smith
What does your job involve?

My job is to grow Girlguiding UK through projects such as 50K, which is aimed at enabling the 50,000 girls who are waiting to join to become part of the organisation.

We have built a team of development workers who are focused on offering guiding opportunities in deprived areas. I work with a lead volunteer, who is both a trustee and the chair of guiding development, to do this. I head a department of four teams comprising about 25 people in total.

How did you move into this role?

I've worked here for nearly 10 years in a variety of roles. I came originally on a three-year contract as a training officer and then progressed into different roles, including the manager of the adult support team. I've been in this job for about a year.

What's the best piece of training you've ever received?

I believe in life-long learning, and my training experiences have been varied. Before I came to Girlguiding UK, I worked for NatWest bank, and I did some good management training there. Later, as a volunteer, I did a training qualification, which led me into training as a career. Both of these courses and others since have helped build me into the person I am today.

What's been your greatest career achievement to date?

I managed to do a masters degree in life course development while working full-time. The course covered physiology, sociology and social policy. It was a real achievement doing that and holding down a full- time job.

What's the best career-related advice you've ever received?

A manager I worked for at NatWest told me to believe in myself and to take any opportunities that present themselves. What he embedded has led me to where I am today.

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