Emma Whitelock is in this week's chief encounters hotseat
What is your morning routine?
I like to open the curtains to let the day in and have a big bowl of porridge with chia seeds and dates and a freshly ground delicious coffee.
How do you travel to work?
By bicycle, my favourite method of transport. If I’ve got time I like to change my route in and home to mix it up a bit. I’ve got three bikes, one for speed, one for comfort and fun on trails and one old workhorse for heavy shopping.
What are you working on just now?
We want to deliver more services across Scotland, diversify our funding streams, raise our profile and encourage more supporters to get involved. We are also building a new website and that will really bring our services and stories to life.
This is now my eighth role within Lead Scotland. I was initially attracted to Lead Scotland's vision and I’m still extremely passionate about this organisation's work.Emma Whitelock
How did you end up in your job?
Growing up in the 70s with my sister who has physical and learning difficulties opened my eyes to barriers and ways around barriers. This is now my eighth role within Lead Scotland. I was initially attracted to Lead Scotland's vision and I’m still extremely passionate about this organisation's work.
Why does your charity have to exist?
Unfortunately, disabled people and carers are still disproportionately disadvantaged in relation to learning, volunteering and employment. Engaging learners on relevant, personalised and supported journeys increases their life chances and strengthens families and communities.
What is the biggest barrier to access to learning for disabled people?
We ask every new learner about the barriers they experience before they start their journey and everyone’s biggest barrier is different. To name a few: lack of confidence and expectation, a previously negative experience, feeling disconnected or isolated, lack of accessible, impartial information about options, lack of appropriate support to learn and lack of travel training skills.
If you could change one thing about your organisation what would it be?
Our helpline and information service is national, but our frontline services aren’t yet available in all local authorities. That’s on our list.
What is your favourite film?
I think it has to be the French film Amelie which I’m sure I smiled the whole way through. I can summon the music from the film in my head at any time.
Is it better to work for a big charity or a small charity?
I like the flexibility and freedom to be able to respond quickly which is easier to achieve when working with a smaller charity. I’ve had many opportunities to wear different ‘hats’ which has offered great variety and new learning. Profile raising is more of a challenge though.
Is this a step on the ladder to success or your final destination?
I’ve just started this new and exciting chapter so I can’t see beyond that at the moment.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Probably to worry less and not hold off from buying a bike that fits properly until my forties.
Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?
Charities make a significant contribution to society as value driven organisations promoting inclusion and equality. The recent household survey shows a decline in volunteering presenting an opportunity to work across sectors to stimulate more volunteering and active citizenship.
Which do you prefer and why – Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin?
Some posts on Facebook make me smile, some tweets make me think and I don’t use Linkedin as much at the moment.
Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Today I’ll say Brian Denis Cox as I’m in the mood for a good film.