Rose Evans is a Director at BlackRock and the global Head of Manager Research Alternatives for the Multi-asset Strategies and Solutions team. BlackRock has sponsored her to take part in Pilotlight 360 and she's just finished working on her first charity project with The Salford Foundation.

Tell us about your journey with Pilotlight.

BlackRock sponsored me to take part in Pilotlight 360 and I was really excited about being a part of the programme. I thought supporting a charity’s senior leadership and strategic direction would be an excellent way to give back. I’ve been working on my first charity project with The Salford Foundation. It’s been such a great experience I’m already signed up for my second charity project!

Why did you become a Pilotlighter?

I saw it as an opportunity to have a meaningful impact at a senior strategic level whilst also learning about the challenges faced within an organisation. The Salford Foundation, a charity that supports opportunities for children and young adults in the North West of England, resonated with me and it’s been rewarding to give back to the community I grew up in.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was really understanding how we could help. The charity was in a good place with an engaged and hard-working CEO. I was expanding into new services and winning new tenders and had amazing impact reporting and a significant cash position on the balance sheet.

As Pilotlighters we spent the first few months scratching our heads wondering how we could help, but as we spent more time with the CEO, board and senior leadership team, opportunities to support the charity for a stronger future became more apparent.

What’s surprised you most?

I’ve found it just amazing how entrepreneurial these small charities are. In contrast to big corporate institutions that have many support teams, these organisations have to build/implement everything from scratch with little guidance. I’ve absolutely been impressed. The CEO we worked with was very hard-working, did a lot of homework in advance of our sessions, and always came prepared. It was a real pleasure to work with him. And I shouldn’t forget the other Pilotlighters. We all learned from each other as a group and the collective experience.

What’s your proudest moment?

I’m most proud of how we worked together as a group to provide a safe space for open and collaborative discussions. It was through that interaction we were able to understand which strategic goals needed focus and then support the CEO in creating a roadmap to achieve them. Whilst on the programme you can sometimes wonder what impact you are having but looking back I really believe the changes were transformational, and I think the CEO will also be proud when he looks back at what he has accomplished.

Tell us the impact Pilotlight has had on you, both personally and professionally.

I have felt a sense of achievement supporting a charity which resonated with me from a personal perspective. You see first-hand how hard-working and emotionally committed everyone within a charity is and it was a humbling experience to be a part of that. From a professional perspective, listening to the advice of other Pilotlighters who specialised in areas outside of my expertise was invaluable.

Is there anything you wished you'd known as a first time Pilotlighter? What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a Pilotlighter?

I think the key is to listen and learn all you can before setting the agenda for the project’s goals and to keep the communication open and exploratory, as it can take some time to really understand the issue at hand.

Describe being a Pilotlighter in three words.

Rewarding, inspirational, entrepreneurial.

Portrait of Rose Evans
Director and the global Head of Manager Research Alternatives for the Multi-asset Strategies and Solutions team, BlackRock

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