Sagar is a Director, Legal at Nomura International plc. He has over 10 years of experience as a solicitor working in financial services, in particular on different types of structured finance and structured products.

Why did you become a Pilotlighter?

I wanted to help a charity in a way which could have a strategic and organisational impact and I wanted more insight into the charitable sector.

Tell us about your journey with Pilotlight.

I heard about Pilotlight by chance through LinkedIn and when I found out more, I was really excited by the concept. I had been wanting to make a tangible difference to a charity for a while, but did not really know how to go about getting involved at a strategic level. When I heard about Pilotlight, it seemed to be a great fit.

I'm currently on my first Pilotlight 360 programme and was slightly nervous to start with, but settled in very quickly. It was fantastic working with the other Pilotlighters and getting a real feel for the charity we were helping. I have really enjoyed the experience and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Understanding how the tough funding environment can impact so much of the strategic planning, focus and growth of a charity. It was also challenging to rein in my passion to help – once the ideas start flowing, you have to be careful to frame the conversation and advice in a way that is most likely to be accepted by the charity.

What’s surprised you most?

How quickly you can get a real in-depth feel for the charity in a short space of time, and identify what is working well and what can be areas for improvement. I also learnt a lot from the other Pilotlighters on my team, who were fantastic, and had a broad range of experience.

What’s your proudest moment?

The charity put together a document of the work they had done following each meeting we had with them. It was incredibly gratifying to see that we had helped their long-term strategic thinking and helped the charity to progress in a tangible way.

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

Pilotlight has given me the confidence to take further steps into the charity sector and to realise that the skills I have learnt in a corporate environment can be very helpful and transferable to charities. It has reinforced my desire to become involved with more charities at board level, and it has given me a real insight, through both the programme itself, and the additional talks organised by Pilotlight, into the workings of the charity sector. I feel inspired by the charity that we were working with, the hard work and effort that I saw everyone putting in, and the amount that I learnt from both the charity leaders and the other Pilotlighters.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a Pilotlighter?

My advice would be to go for it – not only is it rewarding, but it is intellectually stimulating, and you get to know great people not only from the charity but also fellow Pilotlighters.

Describe being a Pilotlighter in three words.

Inspiring, valuable, enjoyable.

Asian man with glasses and a beard looking straight at the camera with the London skyline behind him
Director, Legal, Nomura International plc