In each issue, we introduce you to one of our mentors by telling you about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

Elizabeth Paris

Elizabeth Paris

Following a career in Investment Banking as a Managing Director at JP Morgan, Elizabeth has experience as Chair and board member on public and not-for-profit boards at national, regional and local levels. Current roles in Oxfordshire include Chair, The Oxford Playhouse, Trustee at SOFEA and Trustee at Be Free Young Carers. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, leading the Lieutenancy Convening Group for families and children and is also the DL with responsibility for Didcot. She is an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and a focus on women and entrepreneurship includes roles as a World Bank Consultant with the IFC, with the Goldman Sachs Foundation, as well as teaching women entrepreneurs from China to W. Africa.


1. What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
It was my good fortune to be part of the team who founded The Orwell Youth Prize – a charity that asks young people what they think, teaches them the skills to communicate powerfully and then amplifies their voices. And wow what a result! Focusing especially on areas where young people had not had many opportunities, the charity goes into schools and youth groups all over the country. And the young people write – they write about their lives and about the futures they hope for. It’s a bit of a cliche to say we should listen more to young people, but I remain hugely impressed by the wisdom and insight from these young voices.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
I’ve always enjoyed nature and gardening, and more time at home during the pandemic has helped me to pause, and enjoy even the couch grass that got into the lavender. Last winter a pheasant became so tame he started coming every day to the bird feeder, and I’m hoping he will be back again this winter.

3. As a busy person wearing various hats, what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

I have a confession. Even when I know I have a huge and important piece of work ahead, like a strategic review, I still keep responding to emails and taking calls instead of getting started on it. So my top tip to myself is to break the large task into bitesize pieces and actually book them into my diary. That clears space to get started, and I know I will do it because it has been booked in the diary.

 

In each issue, we introduce you to one of our mentors by telling you about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

Peter Wrigglesworth

Peter Wrigglesworth

Peter’s entire career has been within the creative industries. He built a successful communication agency advising clients on communication strategy and producing programmes, events, and presentations across a wide range of media, ultimately specialising in employee engagement. Peter went on to set up Every Sense, a specialist business consultancy helping creative agencies and production companies grow, prosper, and achieve their potential. Peter works with individuals, management teams and employees to co-create a strong vision for their business and put in place the structures and processes to enable them to deliver that vision. Particular expertise in developing strategy, building teams and embedding vision and purpose within organisations. I’m proud to now be part of Charity Mentors where I can use my commercial experience to help charities thrive.


1. What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is having spent my life surrounded by passionate, energetic, creative people. Any success I have had owes everything to them.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
Having stepped back from fee earning work over the past couple of years nearly all my time is now outside work! This has enabled me to rekindle my interests in art and photography. I’m a keen sailor and very much at home on the water. More importantly spending time with my five kids, seven grandchildren and extended family, much missed over the past year.

3. As a busy person wearing various hats, what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

A famous artist once said a painting is never finished until it’s sold. Up until then there is an opportunity to make changes. Like many creative thinkers I mull things over until I am forced to commit, whether that’s the development of a business strategy or a communications programme. That doesn’t lead to great time management, but I’ve never missed a deadline.

 

In each issue, we introduce you to one of our mentors by telling you about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

Jeremy Swainson

Jeremy Swainson

Initially with Oxfam, for the past 25 years, Jeremy has been an owner and senior executive of a range of consultancy businesses working in the international development aid sector. He has held primary responsibility for a range of functions including human resources, sales, quality assurance and finance. Throughout his career, Jeremy has designed and managed grant making facilities ranging from the provision of Oxfam funding to poor communities through grants to NGOs to support their work to risk sharing funding to the private sector. In recent years, as he has stepped back from management, he has devoted time to mentoring colleagues at all levels in the business. Jeremy’s particular expertise is in strategic leadership and organizational development.


1. What do you feel has given you most satisfaction in your career?
The many opportunities to enable colleagues to learn and grow in an atmosphere that encourages their personal and professional development and not be afraid of failure or lose confidence through disappointment.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
I play lots of tennis, some golf, spend time in the vegetable patch and try to see the family and friends as much as possible. During lockdown, I have also rediscovered the pleasure of long walks exploring the countryside around Oxford, listening to the birdsong amid the silence and watching the natural world getting on with life regardless.

3. What are your ‘top tips’ to balance competing demands on your time?

I keep an old fashioned handwritten To Do List at my elbow, with the important tasks underlined; and continually add to it. At the beginning of each day, I read through the list to remind myself of what needs to be done. I rewrite and update the list every few days.

Another tip is dealing with emails. We often feel compelled to reply instantly, and perhaps moreso now that we are not meeting face-to-face as often. Yet there are times when hasty replies, especially to emails which annoy me or propose something I disagree with, are not the best idea. I have learned not to respond immediately; hasty replies are often misinterpreted, lead to endless back and forth messages and waste a lot of your valuable time.

 

In each issue, we introduce you to one of our mentors by telling you about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

John May

John May

John is currently the Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award; Chair of Trustees of Oxfordshire Scouts; National Trustee of Marine Society & Sea Cadets; Advisory Board member, University of Surrey Business School and Visiting Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Previously, John was Chief Executive of Young Enterprise and Career Academies UK; Director of Community Campaigning at Business in the Community, a former headteacher and youth worker. John’s previous non-executive roles include Vice Chair of the World Organization of the Scout Movement; National Board member of UNICEF UK, and Founding board member of Teach First.


1. What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing people over the course of my career – and different teams have achieved a whole host of things. I’ve been involved in turning round under-performing schools; helped to increase child immunisation in rural Uganda; supported the launch of “Teach First” in the United Kingdom; been part of the set up of a number of education charities; volunteered on five World Scout Jamborees, each giving more than 30,000 teenagers some terrific experiences. But my greatest achievement was probably helping 11 year old Christopher learn to read in my first year of teaching, more than 30 years ago.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
You know what they say, “if you can find something to do that you love and get paid for it”, you need never work again. That’s certainly true of my life. But in addition to working with and for young people, I love to run, sing, ski, go to the theatre (particularly the Oxford Playhouse) and cook for friends. At the moment, I’m learning to swim front-crawl, having only been able to do breast-stroke since I was five.

3. As a busy person what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

Worry only about the things that you can actually change. And then get rid of that worry by setting about effecting those changes.

 

In each issue, we will introduce you to one of our Mentors by telling you a bit about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

Annette Mountford

Annette Mountford

Annette was originally a health visitor. Her work in mainly deprived areas led her to recognise the huge challenges all parents face in raising children especially if their own childhood had been deprived. In the Nurturing Programme she found a wonderful way for all parents to turn their history around and discover new skills, hope and happiness.
Chief Executive of Family Links from 1997 – 2015. She introduced the ‘Nurturing Programme’ (promoting emotional literacy & mental health) to the UK in 1992 and led the Family Links team in adapting the programme for parent groups in the UK and for schools, for prison, for Muslim parents and for parents of teenagers. Annette developed a national training programme for practitioners working with parents and children in education, health and the community. She has written an ante-natal Nurturing Programme which is now being rolled out nationally. Annette received an MBE for her work in 2002.


1. What do you feel is your most rewarding achievement?
Having had the opportunity to work alongside hundreds of parents whose own childhoods had been harsh and see them find new skills, hope and happiness through the Nurturing Programme as individuals and as parents. And then to have been able to extend it to other professionals so that thousands of parents can benefit.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
One of the joys of being retired is having time to see friends. I combine them with walking, art galleries, the ballet, book club and pub food. Another big pleasure is my family. And being Cornish I love to make scones and jam (with produce from the allotment) and dish them up with Cornish cream.

3. As a busy person what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

I flag any email I need to return to, to save me the effort of remembering it, and to prevent things slipping through the net.

 

In each issue, we will introduce you to one of our Mentors by telling you a bit about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’?!

Jens Tholstrup

Jens Tholstrup

Jens is Managing Director of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Development Director SQW Group and Senior Advisor, Oxford Economics. Previously, he was Managing Director UK, Oxford Economics, Executive Director, Oxford Analytica and Executive Director UBS. Jens holds a MA in PPE and an MSc in Economic History, both from the University of Oxford. Jens is a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Director of Venturefest Oxford, Visiting Business Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, a governor of St Clare’s, Oxford and a Trustee of Charity Mentors Oxfordshire. He is a member of the Society of Business Economists (SBE).


1. What do you enjoy about being a mentor?
In my capacity as a Charity Mentor, I have been privileged to have met and worked with a number of inspirational leaders. My meetings and discussions with these leaders have provided me with insights into the significant issues and challenges faced by the charity sector and to witness the often life-changing impact of their work. It is gratifying to be able to share some of the experience and insights that I have gained from my career in the private sector with these leaders.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
My principal leisure activities revolve around the outdoors – cycling, walking, swimming and kayaking. I am also a voracious reader and enjoy the theatre.

3. As a busy person wearing various hats, what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

My ‘top time-saving tip’ is a very traditional and non-technological one: a hand written ‘to-do’ list with priority tasks highlighted.

 

In each issue, we will introduce you to one of our Mentors by telling you a bit about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’?!

Sam Clarke

Sam Clarke

Sam has been an active mentor, a previous Trustee and is now Chair of Charity Mentors. His main other responsibility is as Chair of the Ethical Property Company. He has recently also been Chair of Low Carbon Hub, Oxford North Community Renewables and Low Carbon Oxford North, the Wildlife Fundraising Company and the Soil Association Standards Board. Previously Sam was Chair of the New Economics Foundation, Friends of the Earth and Stop Climate Chaos. His working life included periods as the first Director of Oxfordshire MIND and the World University Service, and Fundraising Director at Oxfam. He enjoys spending time with his 3 grandchildren and is a passionate tree planter.


1. What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
Finding a way of making contributions to many of the local and national causes which are important to me.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside work I spend 2 full days each week with my grandchildren, which is both enriching and entertaining. Also I am planning to plant a further 5 acres of woodland with family and friends to counter climate change.

3. As a busy person wearing various hats, what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’?

“My top tip is to remove as many of those demanding regular emails to a secondary inbox, to help focus on the ones that only you can answer.”

 

In each issue, we will introduce you to one of our Mentors by telling you a bit about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’?!

Joanna Simons

Joanna Simons

Joanna has been the Chief Executive of a national charity and two local authorities, including Oxfordshire County Council (2005-2015). She has a professional background in housing and regeneration. Previously she was Chair of Governors at Oxford Brookes University and Advisory Group member of Oxfordshire Common Purpose. Among Joanna’s past roles she was also a Non-Executive Director at the Government Office for the South East and Notting Hill Housing Trust and Trustee of Shelter. Currently Joanna is Trustee of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), Chair of Experience Oxfordshire and Programme Chair with the Windsor Leadership Trust. Joanna is a qualified coach.


1. Where are you from?
I’m from London and my claim to fame is being born at Hyde Park Corner! It was actually St George’s Hospital then but it’s the Lanesborough Hotel now so it’s rather gone up in the world since I arrived.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
Life would be very bereft without the arts so I am an avid theatre, cinema, heritage and exhibition goer and feel spoilt for choice with all that Oxfordshire has to offer.

3. As a busy person wearing various hats, what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’?

“Never be without your trusty “to do list” to help prioritise, I may be sad but I have mine on an excel spreadsheet and carry it around with me…”