The positivity and commitment in the charity sector is infectious

I don’t have a degree simply because we couldn’t afford it. So I came into the charity sector as a temp, 23 years ago and was amazed by the people I met. Here was a talented, friendly, passionate group of people whose motivation was to make a difference. Their positivity and commitment was infectious and on securing a permanent position, I was hooked. I still try to imbue those qualities in the teams I work with.

The first team I worked with taught me loads about being a professional

My first charity job was as Marketing Assistant at the NSPCC. I was working as a temp supporting one of the officers and the role came up and I went for it.  I’ll never forget, there were over 200 applicants, so I felt very lucky and honoured to even get an interview. My main role was to support the Marketing Manager and the team, who were brilliantly supportive and taught me loads on integrity and being a professional. My background was in managing a small mail order business and banking. I believe it was my can-do attitude and pragmatic approach to finding solutions coupled with a hunger to learn.

I learned on the job

I was really pleased that in five years at NSPCC, I learned on the job and reached Senior Marketing Communications Officer by the time I left. In 2003, I decided to go into PR and started my career again. Again, surrounded by some brilliant and supportive people, I managed to achieve lots of successes. One of my biggest successes is that I created and successfully delivered the UK’s stroke awareness month, now known as Make May Purple for stroke. We’ve won several awards and it has been featured in PR Week.

Not having a degree hasn’t stopped me (but it’s easier teaching someone who wants to learn)

If you’re thinking of working in the charity sector: do it because you care. All too often I see people coming into the sector because they think it’s less demanding than the private sector, but that is quite the opposite. I’m proud to say that I have always worked for causes I feel strongly about and that’s my motivation. Don’t be afraid to show your passion and don’t give up at the first hurdle. Not having a degree hasn‘t stopped me, as I continue to show my passion and commitment to the cause. But that’s not enough. You need to be aware that you’re learning – ask questions and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something and you need support. It’s easier to teach someone who wants to learn.