Claire is CEO at Cintre, a charity that supports adults with autistic spectrum disorders, learning difficulties and mental health issues to live independently. She became a Pilotlighter via our 2018 Bursary Initiative and has worked with a charity dealing with homelessness on the Pilotlight Programme.
She says her greatest professional achievement has been contributing to making a difference to the lives of the vulnerable individuals the charities she’s run have supported, be they homeless young people or individuals with complex mental health needs.
Why did you become a Pilotlighter?
I’ve always found the support of others highly beneficial to my professional development, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity, through the Bursary Initiative, to provide support to another charity and its CEO as a Pilotlighter.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Ensuring that the support and advice I provide genuinely comes across as peer support.
Our role as a team of Pilotlighters is to coach and guide the charity leader through the challenges they face, not appear that we are experts that can solve all their problems because we can’t! The charity CEO will know their charity and what it needs, and only they can create real change for it.
What’s been your biggest surprise?
I’ve been surprised by the amount of professional development I’ve received.
Working with another charity and spending time with the Pilotlighters in my team from the private sector, has given me a wealth of learning. I really feel I’ve gained a lot more than I’ve given, and I wasn’t expecting that to be the case.
What’s your proudest moment?
Outside of the Pilotlight Programme, I was very pleased to be able to offer the charity the opportunity to visit Cintre and we spent the day working together.
Tell us one thing you’ve learnt through working with us.
That it’s essential to take time to genuinely listen to others and deeply reflect on how you can work collaboratively with your team, with a little external guidance to optimise your potential.
I now operate our SMT meetings at Cintre in a completely different, more streamlined and effective way, since experiencing the way the Pilotlight Project Managers convene meetings.
Has working with charities inspired you in any way?
Yes! Even though I work for a charity, I was completely inspired by the dedication of the individuals in the charity we were working with.
Describe being a Pilotlighter in three words.
Stimulating. Collaborative. Gratifying.