Chief encounters: Branding is more important to charities than big businesses
Shona Cardle, chief executive of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, says changing the charity's name from Yorkhill Children's Charity was key to connecting it to its work
How many hours do you normally work in a week?
It varies enormously but I think most people who work for a charity put in many more hours than they’re paid for. There are some evenings and weekend events and I have a minimum two hours commute daily so I have long days.
Is it better to work for a big or a small charity?
I have worked for both but I do think a small charity provides so much more experience and most importantly provides more opportunity to influence the direction of the charity.
Why do you work in the third sector?
It’s incredibly rewarding; to see the patients in the hospital benefitting from the enhancements we provide is a great feeling. I always tell people that, as fundraisers, we see the good side of people. Having worked in this sector for more years than I care to remember, it still staggers me how kind – hearted and generous the public are. It is a real privilege to be part of that.
The brand of the charity is integral to who we are, who we support and what our overall mission is
The charity recently changed its name – what was the main reason for that?
Following the move of the children’s hospital from the Yorkhill site in June 2015 to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, we felt that we no longer had a clear connection to the hospital that we have supported since 2001. Furthermore, the Yorkhill site has now reopened as an ambulatory care hospital for adults, causing greater confusion amongst the donating public. It’s imperative that the public know that we sit at the heart of the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.
Is branding as important to charities as it is corporate businesses?
It is more important for charities, the brand of the charity is integral to who we are, who we support and what our overall mission is. A charity’s brand must be trusted and respected.
Now that it’s changed what are you working on?
Re-establishing the organisation as Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and re-enforcing our key messages. Continuing to provide the best care and experience possible to every child and young person who is treated at The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow and its related facilities. To continue fundraising to provide the best possible equipment, research and services for Scotland’s children.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been so many it’s difficult to choose one, however the latest was contributing £5.5 million to the new children’s hospital and seeing the real difference this made.
Who is or was your role model?
I don’t have one particular role model but I salute all women who manage to have children and a career. It’s not easy – as an employer and a mother, I know and have experienced the difficulties from both sides.
If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?
One that was given to me which I’ve never forgotten and believe to be true – “there are no problems, only opportunities”
How did you end up in your job?
A great deal of hard work, climbing slowly up the ladder. The experience I gained was invaluable.
Is this a step on the ladder to success or your final destination?
I ask myself that often and the answer is always the same – I honestly don’t know!
What motivates you?
Knowing that Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity ensures that children and young people will have the very best experience possible when they are at the hospital – whether it is for a one-off appointment or weeks as an in-patient. They truly deserve it.
What’s your favourite film and why?
Well, perhaps surprisingly, it’s the first Alvin & the Chipmunks film. Not for the content (!) but because MediCinema, which we fund, was chosen as the venue for the British Premiere. It was a fantastic treat for the children. MediCinema is a wonderful facility that gives the patients a bit of “normality” in what can be a difficult time.
Would your 18-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?
Absolutely…and probably somewhat amazed!
Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Probably Brian Edward Cox - anyone who can make science fascinating and entertaining gets my vote!