On International Women’s Day, Piers Vimpany, Finance and Resources Director at Sands, tells us about the empathy he feels towards bereaved parents and how he manages the expectations of the charity.
I have worked in the charity and not for profit sector for over 20 years, firstly as a volunteer on a primary school project in Tanzania, then as a charity not for profit auditor for over six years. I then became a finance director for over 14 years. I have spent the last six years working in a children’s hospice.
I was attracted to my role at Sands having worked in a children’s hospice, and I felt a deep empathy with the cause of supporting bereaved parents, and importantly looking to prevent the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death.
A piece of advice I received early in my career that has stayed with me is when one of the partners I worked with said underpromise and overdeliver, which I have taken to mean be upfront and managing effectively when tasks get done.
A typical day at Sands for me is commuting on the Victoria Line on London Underground to work to arrive before 9.30am. I will then check my emails and set out the priorities for the day.
I will touch base with my team about any major issues and then attend meetings that I have planned or have been planned for me.
My work is very varied from looking at leases, preparing and interpreting the management accounts, reviewing suppliers to ensure Sands gets best value and also looking at strategic issues such as how we can provide better information and support key areas such as the new fundraising strategy.
To me, the three skills I believe are essential to be a great leader are the ability to listen, stay calm under pressure and be able to set a vision for the organisation.
My team at Sands covers Finance, Human Resources, IT and premises. I work closely with the team so they understand the key issues and expectations of the organisation, so we can provide the highest possible service levels.
I am motivated by a baby I cared for on a shadow shift at the hospice I worked for. He looked so much like my son at that age and sadly died shortly afterwards. I will never forget him.
In my work life, the International Women’s Day slogan, #BalanceForBetter (gender equality) means having the strengths of a balanced culture that respects people and their abilities, and encourages the best from all staff regardless of sex. Having worked in organisations with a male and a female bias I have seen this first-hand.
Diversity is so important in the workplace because it is important that organisations can see different perspectives on issues, in order to provide the best possible service to diverse supporters and beneficiaries.
Men and women can often bring different strengths to a workplace situation, by respecting these strengths and making the most effective use of these combination of skills. In my experience this increases the quality of decision making and thus the effectiveness of organisations.
Click here for further information on the many ways Sands can support you