Chief Encounters: Linda Gray on always facing challenges (as long as it’s not ballet)

Cafecoast at inspireweb

The chief executive of Inspire on what gets her out of bed in the morning and her love of Michael Buble

8th August 2017 by Tony Garcia 0 Comments

What inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?

Knowing that when I go into work it will not be the same as the day before. Also when I meet the people we support it’s a great reminder of why I do what I do, seeing what a difference our organisation makes to their lives.

Linda Gray

Linda Gray

What makes a working day great?

Facing challenges and coming up with solutions. I love being part of a team of 565 staff who are really passionate about what they do, and of course having a laugh with colleagues!

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

If people say they are going to do something, they don’t and don’t tell me about, and we miss deadlines – this has to be my biggest pet hate. Or people not turning up on time for meetings and not letting me know beforehand.

What is the scariest thing you have ever done?

It’s going back a long time but I still remember the feeling – I was 7 years old and doing a ballet dancing competition in Glasgow. I remember going on the stage then running swiftly off again, never to return.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Spending time with my family and meeting up with friends – oh and researching my next holiday destination on the internet!

What’s the most important part of your job?

Ensuring that whatever I do day-to-day and week-to-week contributes to making a positive difference to the people we support.

Do you volunteer?

I have done lots of different things from sitting on voluntary boards to being chairperson for an afterschool club, right now though my volunteering time is spent looking after my two-year-old grandson. I am hoping to take up an opportunity to join a board that will contribute to the success of Inspire and also give me personal development opportunities.

What’s your favourite album?

I like lots of different music but will go with these two – The Best of Bread which holds memories of being a young girl as it is one of the first vinyl album I bought with my 10p a week pocket money, and of course you can’t beat Michael Buble’s Greatest Hits.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t be so self-critical. If we make mistakes we should learn from them and move on, I wish I’d known that at 18!

Is this a rung on the ladder to success or your final destination?

As far as a job goes I see this as my final destination, but I will continue to learn new things and challenge myself. I would like to ensure that whatever I do before retiring (which is good few years off yet), it has made an impact.

What one thing would you like to happen to improve the lives of learning disabled Scots?

At Inspire our vision is to empower the life choices of the people we support. With funding cuts and uncertainty in the sector it has to be the sustainability of services that provide different opportunities to people with learning disabilities.

What was the last occasion you socialised with colleagues?

Probably about a month ago when we had an evening out for a colleague leaving. Socialising outside work is important and something we need to do more of.

Is the voluntary sector a calling or an accident?

I am a great believer that if things are meant to be they will be. Having worked in the oil and gas sector for many years ahead of the third sector, I chose redundancy with thoughts that I would set up on my own as a business consultant. I went into an agency to see how the job market was and we explored different sectors. They mentioned an interesting role they had recently in the voluntary sector, and the next week I saw a role with Barnardos advertised in the paper. I knew reading the description it was the role for me, and Martin Crewe who is now the Barnardos UK Director said when he saw my application he knew I was the right applicant.

What’s your favourite charity apart from your own?

It has to be Barnardos. They do fabulous work for children and young people, have great values and if it wasn’t for the opportunity they gave me 15 years ago I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Which Brian Cox?

It has to be professor – from science to singing he’s very diverse, like the services carried out in the voluntary sector. 

Linda Gray is chief executive of Inspire


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