We got chatting to our interim Executive Director Richard Muncaster about the positives and the challenges of his role.
Talk us through your typical day
I don't think anyone has a 'typical' day anymore! A lot of what I'm doing at the moment is contingency planning around the double threat that we are facing from COVID-19 and Newham Council's attempts to evict us.
How did you get started in your career?
By total accident - I'd moved into a flat in East Dulwich a few months after leaving university. Prior to that I'd just been working in bars whilst I worked out what I wanted to do. Bar work couldn't pay the rent on the new flat so I answered an advert for an agency job that I found in the paper - back in the late 1990s that's how we looked for jobs! It turned out to be at the NSPCC in their fundraising department, taking calls from community fundraisers who needed a bit of advice and/or materials. I stayed there for about 2 years developing my fund-raising skills and have worked in the voluntary/arts sector ever since.
What’s the best thing about being an Executive Director?
I think the best thing about my current role is that no two days are the same - when I open up my laptop in the morning I have no idea what the day is going to throw at me.
What’s the most challenging thing?
The biggest challenge for me at the moment is that there is so much happening that is our of our control - no one knows how long the COVID-19 lock down will last, and that makes planning difficult.
What qualities do you think you need to succeed at being an Executive Director?
You need to be flexible, empathetic, open minded, willing to learn and be able to communicate well. It also requires a degree of mental agility so that you can flip between thinking strategy and about then detail. I'm certainly not saying that I'm wonderful at all these things; but hopefully I get a little better each day!