Richard Davidson joined Sarcoma UK as their Chief Executive in July 2018, and has been working in the third sector for more than two decades. His previous roles include Director of Engagement at Anthony Nolan and Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Cancer Research UK. Richard is Chairman of Emilia Clarke’s charity, SameYou, which is dedicated to increasing access to rehabilitation services after brain injury and stroke for young people, and he is also a board member of SPAEN, the European network of sarcoma patient advocacy groups. Richard speaks with Nicholas Ogden at Pro-Marketing about working at Sarcoma UK, offers interview tips, and shares advice for those looking to progress their career in the charity sector.
Tell us about yourself, how your career started and what you do at Sarcoma UK?
I have worked in the voluntary sector throughout my career in public affairs, policy, marketing, fundraising and communications. I worked at CRUK, Anthony Nolan and now for a smaller organisation, Sarcoma UK as Chief Executive.
How do Sarcoma UK differentiate themselves in the market?
We are the only organisation in the UK that covers all types of Sarcoma, funds research, raises awareness and provides information and support.
How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone applying to be part of the team?
We could consider ourselves to be small but mighty (22 people in total). I always look for staff who really care about the beneficiaries and want to make a difference to the lives of people with cancer.
How would your team describe you?
I have no idea, but I would think they would say I am supportive, energetic and creative.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
When I started out, I worried too much. I would now advise myself not to.
When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you?
I always think you can tell quite quickly if someone has passion and desire, which is important to me.
What personal and soft skills are most important when working in the charity sector?
I look for empathy and an ability to relate well to people. You need to be able to adapt to other people’s styles and approaches.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a move into a not-for-profit organisation from another sector?
Do it! People from other sectors have a great deal to offer, but do not assume that things will be easier and less pressurised. Often more is at stake in the voluntary sector.
If you were not working for a charity, what would the dream be?
I feel I will always be connected to charities, but I would love to live in an Italian cottage with space, fine weather, food and wine. A dog would complete the idyllic scene!
Any final words of advice for people looking to progress their career in the charity sector?
Consider what you feel passionate about and choose roles that allow you to use that energy to make a difference.
Thanks for your time, and as a little treat for all of our readers - do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us?
I have a penchant for a Subway steak sandwich.