Sara is a Managing Director at BlackRock and Head of Investment Strategy, Multi Asset Strategies – Diversified Strategies. BlackRock has sponsored her to take part in the Pilotlight Programme and she's working on her first charity project.
Sara says her greatest professional achievement has been helping clients to achieve a better financial future, and building an effective business with a very diverse and intellectually curious team of people.
Why did you become a Pilotlighter?
Having worked with several charitable organisations as clients and as a member of a couple of investment committees for charities and universities, I was eager to build a greater understanding of the wider challenges they face.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Although I’ve learnt to stand back and look at the bigger picture over the years, my natural tendency is to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in. As a Pilotlighter you focus on longer term goals and adopt more of a coaching role which has been a challenge for me.
However, given the number of competing issues the charity CEO I'm working with, and Board, face, I can see that focusing time on the strategic plan will undoubtedly be more beneficial to the charity’s future direction.
What’s been your biggest surprise?
The range of people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with on the Pilotlight Programme. It’s been fascinating to see how people from such different industry backgrounds can apply their skills to the benefit of the charity. I was also surprised by the diverse backgrounds of the staff and volunteers working for the charity.
What’s your proudest moment?
We’ve still got quite a bit to do to help the charity further develop and refine its strategic plan, but I think the open dialogue between the CEO and Pilotlighter team, in addition to the very frank assessment of the challenges faced, has been inspiring.
Tell us one thing you’ve learnt through working with us.
The importance of passion, commitment and authenticity in everything we do.
These are words I’ve used in the past when talking about building teams and career path development. They are characteristics I’ve tried to follow throughout my career.
However, after a difficult couple of years both personally and professionally, I’d lost sight of them. Being a Pilotlighter has reignited my desire to put these characteristics front and centre when building a new team back at BlackRock.
Has working with charities inspired you in any way?
Absolutely! It’s given me an even greater appreciation for the importance of a common sense of purpose in achieving goals.
Describe being a Pilotlighter in three words.
Inspiring. Refreshing. Fulfilling.