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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Chief encounters: Pat Armstrong on emails, desk fairies and how to work as a team

This feature is about 8 years old
 

​The Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations chief spills on her daily routine and her office pet peeves

What time do you get up and what’s your morning routine?
I get up at 6.20am, when I blearily head out the door to get my first coffee en route to the office. Occasionally I cycle in and I’m hoping to make that a bigger part of my routine in 2015.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at the office?
No two days are the same – ideally, it would be tidy my desk and sort through my emails, but more likely it’s an early meeting.

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?
When my desk gets so covered in papers and I get angry that the desk fairy hasn’t been in overnight and tidied it up!

What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. This is a very old school phrase now but I’m still amazed at how the more you stretch yourself and do the things that scare you, the more confident you become.

Chief encounters: Pat Armstrong on emails, desk fairies and how to work as a team

I love bringing different types of people together, it’s why I enjoy my job so much

Pat Armstrong

When was the last time you socialised with colleagues?
Our staff Christmas lunch – although because peer support is an integral part of all that ACOSVO does, I’m really lucky that engaging with members has a social aspect that I really enjoy.

What do you procrastinate over?
Emails – I find it almost impossible to ignore them when I have a difficult job to do. It’s much easier to be part of lots of online conversations than to focus on a big piece of work.

What’s the most important quality of a chief executive?
Being people centred – both internally with the team and externally on the needs of the client group. Also authenticity – know your strengths and play to them.

What does your perfect weekend look like?
Waking up to a sunny day on Skye, a long walk in the mountains and time in our polytunnel, where some of my best strategic thinking happens.

If you were your boss would you like you?
I hope so. I really respect a boss I can be open and honest with, who listens to my ideas and knows how to get the best out of me and makes me feel an important part of the team. We’ve just achieved Investors in People gold and that process has really helped in our thinking about how we develop as a team.

Is this a step on the rung to success or your final destination?
One of my favourite phrases is “each destination is but a doorway to another journey”. I’m on a journey wherever I am.

Which do you prefer Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin?
Facebook for keeping up with family and friends, Twitter updates me while travelling and Linkedin as a platform for discussions.

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?
I think it’s more about how we all engage as citizens and as civic society to tackle inequality and focus on wellbeing

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Both, I would have my cake and eat it and have a fascinating conversation – I love bringing different types of people together, it’s why I enjoy my job so much

Pat Armstrong is the Chief executive of the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO)

 

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