In this series, Senior Recruitment Consultant in the Charities & Not-for-Profit sector, Magella Burnett, will be talking to industry leaders about how they have progressed in the past and their advice to those looking to follow in their footsteps.
This week Magella spoke to Otto Balsiger, Finance Director for British Society for Immunology since 2018…
When and how did you decide you were ready for the next step up in your career?
It came naturally as my interest expanded from the running of the finance team to a more strategic/holistic view of the charity and what needed to be done, not just in my team but across the whole staff team. I also needed a bigger challenge.
Did you have a mentor or coach?
Yes, I had a coach who was able to help me decide what was important to me and how to approach achieving what I wanted. It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off and provide objective, non-emotional, advice.
Did you step up within the same organisation, or move to a new company?
I moved from Finance Manager, Head of Finance to Executive Director of Finance all in the same charity. The most interesting move was the first time I was employed as a Finance Director in a new charity.
If you stayed in the same organisation, how did you approach stepping up with your boss?
I spent time consulting with him on my role, my future ambitions and importantly what they wanted from the role and how they saw me growing into it.
Did you have someone who helped and advised you in your progression? If so, who?
My coach was invaluable. I also had a wonderful colleague in HR who was able to advise how to approach team members and colleagues to enlist their views on what was needed and to gain their support that I was the right person to fill the new role.
As someone who has progressed to a senior level, what advice would you give someone who’s looking to step up?
Be clear what you want first, what is your end goal. For instance, if you want to be a Finance Director, what happens when you become one, what next?
Asking for advice from colleagues or input from an objective coach/mentor is an enormous help in structuring your approach to getting what you want.
Any other comments?
Personally, I wanted to become a Charity Finance Director, that was my goal, however it was only when I got there, I realised that was just the beginning. I now have responsibility and influence for the direction of the charity so can have a huge impact on services provided to beneficiaries and to make societal change which is amazing.
If you would like to be informed, when the next edition of Stepping Up is available, please contact Magella: Magella.Burnett@goodmanmasson.com to be put on the mailing list.
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