Alison leads and motivates teams and individuals to develop a passion about their own work. She has a background as a Chartered Accountant, bringing her commercial experience and understanding to the voluntary sector to drive organisational change and sustainability.
What led you to become involved in the NFP sector?
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in social justice issues and driven to make a difference. Even at school I wanted to embrace a wider world and cared that things were fair. So, whilst I enjoyed the technical side of being a Chartered Accountant, I didn’t really find it fulfilling. My introduction to the Not For Profit Sector came when I had the opportunity to head up the Charity and Trusts work at my firm, and from there I switched to the Voluntary Sector full time, and I haven’t looked back since.
And, how did that develop?
Initially I was employed in service delivery in the disability and mental health sectors, in an attempt to well and truly put finance behind me, but I soon realised that my earlier learned knowledge could be put to good use alongside this. At the time many charities had still not embraced the need to have a commercial mindset alongside the desire to drive change and I was able to assist with this.
What do you see as the main advantages of having a portfolio career?
Since leaving full time employment (I am now employed 2 days per week and self-employed for 3) I have really enjoyed the variety of work that my breadth of experience has prepared me for, as well as working with charities with a huge range of mission objectives. It is especially rewarding to see charities serving causes that you care about being able to operate more efficiently and effectively as a result of the support you have given.
What do you enjoy about working with Eastside Primetimers?
Working with Eastside Primetimers has enabled me to have a much wider network and more opportunities. One such was a refugee support charity in my area that I did a financial strengths review with and then provided mentoring for the Chief Exec for 6 months. It gave an opportunity to really understand the charity. I was so impressed by what they do that, since finishing the consultancy work with them, I have become a trustee.
What advice would you give someone thinking about a portfolio career?
I found two things initially difficult with being a self-employed consultant – the fact that I wasn’t part of a long-term team, and the uncertainty about long term workstreams. Working with Eastside Primetimers helped both of these, and finding a 2 day a week permanent post alongside my consultancy has given me the ideal working situation.