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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Chief encounters: Kenny McGlashan on leading with passion

This feature is over 8 years old

Kenny McGlashan trusts in his instincts and believes a charity name change can be a good thing

What time do get up and what’s your morning routine?

Around 5.30am with my son. He unfortunately got my early-rising genes but has taken it to a whole new level. My routine therefore centres around coffee!

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at the office?

Another coffee... and then getting changed out of my cycling gear. In private of course, not the office.

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

Unwashed cups and bad grammar.

How important is the name of a charity?

I'd say a lot. We changed our name to Youth Theatre Arts Scotland a couple of years ago as we wanted to make our role clearer to the different participants, professionals, partners and public we engage with. It also signalled a new chapter for our organisation.

Kenny McGlashan
Kenny McGlashan

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Believe in yourself and your instincts first, then build from there.

When was the last time you socialised with colleagues?

Last Monday for a lunch out that we had to celebrate our intern Stephanie becoming an employee.

What do you procrastinate over?

The big tasks on the to-do list. Too much reflecting and not enough action doesn't get me anywhere unfortunately. Instead I try to break down the stages of a task and the deadlines, as well as working with allies, to keep things moving.

What’s the most important quality of a chief executive?

Leading with passion whilst reminding everyone that you don't have all the answers.

Who do you prefer working with volunteers or paid staff?

I don't see them as separate in our youth theatre sector. Our core staff and the professionals and volunteers they support all inspire me on a weekly basis by achieving so much with so little. The diversity in our sector is sustained by the passion and motivation they share.

What does your perfect weekend look like?
Lots of sunshine and time in the garden with my kids. A (pub) lunch with friends and their families, or maybe a visit to a local festival or a show. Sunday morning is devoted to jammies – and housework, of course!

If you were your boss would you like you?
I think so. I've always got on well with my bosses. If you can be honest and passionate in your work it goes a long way.

Is this a step on the rung to success or your final destination?
Youth theatre started me on the journey I've taken throughout my life and career, so it's a huge privilege to now serve that sector for the many thousands of young people beginning their own journeys. I can't see me moving on from that responsibility for a very long time.

Which do you prefer and why – Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin?
Recently I've come to like Linkedin more and more. Mostly because I am still yet to fully understand it! But I also find it helpful to develop professional connections by following up on a brief introduction. It's vital when folk move jobs too.

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?
I think they do plenty but sometimes need bigger institutions to prioritise them as key grassroots partners. Where this has been authentically supported there's strong evidence for long-term development.

Brian Denis Cox (actor) or Brian Edward Cox (scientist)?

I've shared a taxi with Brian Denis Cox when he opened a theatre I worked in. But I'm afraid it would still be Brian Edward Cox. Mostly because of The Infinite Monkey Cage getting me through marathon training – but I wouldn't say that to Hannibal's face!

Kenny McGlashan is chief executive of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland



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