In what proved to be a very interesting and entertaining evening of discussion, an experienced panel of non-government travellers discussed the virtues of pursuing a career in a sector which offers much more than most expect.
As Dr Cary Adams (BSc Economics with Computing and Statistics 1985, MBA Business Administration 2002), Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control, explained,“For me the perfect job is one which pays you, you excel at, you have a passion for and has a social impact”. It was clearly a good description of the variety of roles which his fellow panellists had and continue to fill.
Theresa Lloyd (BSc Economics & Administration 1968), an ex-city banker who has become an industry guru on philanthropy, talked through the need for business acumen in the not-for-profit sector. She emphasised the importance of hard work, spotting and taking advantage of luck and being brave when you have to be. She impressed on all the need to be bold and to recognise that being educated is simply not enough. “You have to add value to be successful in this sector,” she said.
Sonya Chowdhury (BSc Sociology & Social Work 1998),Chief Executive, Action For M.E, stressed that educating yourself, volunteering and constantly challenging yourself would create opportunities in a sector which rewards passionate people who bring value. She said, “It’s a competitive sector and you have to be unique. I’m looking for people who come alive from that piece of paper called a CV.”
Belinda Phipps (BSc Applied Biology 1980), Chair, The Fawcett Society, welcomed any young graduate to the sector if they thrived on dealing with trouble! For her, non-government organisations and charities were calling out for core business skills and this ranged from strategic planning to basic IT management skills. But whilst specific skills were required, those wishing to work in the charity sector should be prepared to “be a jack of all trades”.
During the lively Q&A session, the panellists emphasised their enthusiasm for being in the sector. They would not return to the private sector, and encouraged all to look into careers in a sector which is wonderfully diverse, with many challenging and rewarding roles for ambitious, passionate self-starters.