What has been your biggest management challenge?

Implementing the current restructuring of NAS.

Why is the society going through these changes and what are they?

To be closer to clients and customers on the ground by introducing a regional structure, and to improve the governance of an increasingly complex organisation by introducing sub-committees with co-opted experts.

How did you get people to accept the changes?

I brought in someone from outside to speak to members, branches and local authorities to see if their views backed the need for change. We kept everyone informed of the options drawn up, which ones were accepted by the board and how they would affect them.

Were there redundancies?

Yes. My senior management team of seven directors is now three.

What is your vision for the charity?

To help create a tolerant and informed society where people with autism have the same rights as everyone else.

Do you have a management guru?

No. I rely on the training I've had and my army experience.

How did the army prepare you for leading a charity?

As an officer you learn management techniques - I became a fellow of the Institute of Management - and the army is all about working with people and seeing the benefits of team output.

What was your first job?

Rifle platoon commander in the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers.

How did you make the move from the army to the voluntary sector?

When I left the army after 30 years, I saw an advert for chief executive of the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability. It said the job might suit a senior member of the armed forces. I thought I could do that and it would stretch me. It did for seven years. In 2000, I joined NAS.

What's the best thing about working for a charity?

The way in which you can make a difference to people's lives.

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