Chief Encounters: Norma Corlette

Buckin bronco (003)

Norma Corlette, chief executive of the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (Staf), tells TFN about bucking broncos, banking and business 

14th August 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

What makes a good day at work?

When people are inspired and believe in themselves they can achieve so much. I love days when I come into the office and there is a real buzz , everyone just working together and excited about their work.

How many hours do you normally work in a week?

Difficult to say probably 50ish. When I am at work I am so focused I am not good about thinking about other things. I am not the kind of person who can book a flight at lunchtime, think about Christmas presents or check my facebook. I can only ever do things I am passionate about so the hours don’t matter.

What do you procrastinate over?

Confessions confessions! Filling out funding applications and reports. Thankfully there are those at Staf who are so much better at it than me. I have no problem doing a work swap even if it is double the amount of time as a report. 

What turns you into the office Victor(ia) Meldrew?

My word is my bond and I get challenged if I can’t deliver. However it is usually fuelled by tiredness which tells me it’s time for a break.

Have you always worked in the third sector?

No. I’ve had a really interesting career. I started out in banking , went into teaching then built two businesses. One nationally with my former husband and one internationally on my own with a great team. I had retired when I was asked to apply for this job.

What has been your most unusual challenge?

One that comes to mind in Staf is having to try to stay on a bucking bronco as long as I could at a Who Cares? Scotland event. The pressure was really on and I had no option but to get up on the thing and do my bit because there was a crowd of young people shouting my name!

How do you relax of an evening?

Running, weights, meditation, socialising with friends and lots of yakety yak .I love people and I love a good chat always relaxes me. 

Is this your final destination career-wise?

I enjoy leading organisations, helping turn them around and developing people. I had actually retired before I took on this role. I had been used to working 24/7 and when I saw a job advertised at 35 hours I thought on it as a bit of a hobby. Now I can hear your reader laugh!

I get challenged if I can’t deliver. However it is usually fuelled by tiredness

What do you think is the main strengths of the Scottish charity sector?

I wish you hadn’t asked me this question! There are many different types of charities and I think some have  lost their way. Many are very focused on winning contracts and setting increased targets when actually there is a need to strip back on layers of management and put invest more into frontline workers. I often think you can judge the morale within a charity by the size of its HR team and low morale does not make for the best user experience. I do believe there is room for challenge.

What does your dream retirement look like?

I would love to do something like set up or support a community garden but not have to be there all year round as I would like to travel. I have a list of places from Myanmar(Burma) and Nepal  to the Canadian Rockies and a return to some of my favourite capital cities such as Rome, along the way.