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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: Paul Cooney is loving life at the Kiltwalk

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Paul Cooney is determined to get everyone from his local barista to Brian Cox on one of 2017's Kiltwalks

What makes a good day at work?

Loads of sign-ups for the Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk and money going out to charities and causes in Scotland that really need it. That, and a good coffee from Pret in Bothwell Street (who promise to do Glasgow Kiltwalk on 30 April 2017!)

What do you procrastinate over?

I don’t think I do.

Paul Cooney
Paul Cooney

Where do you see the Kiltwalk going from here?

Becoming Scotland’s biggest mass participation event and going from strength to strength. The decision to widen our reach to help not only children’s charities but all charities and local causes in Scotland, means that we are becoming the biggest mass participation event in the country.

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

“Can’t do” attitudes or negativity – anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Luckily the team at Kiltwalk are super positive. I can get a bit grumpy when the office is messy!

What’s the best thing that’s happened in the last month?

Reaching and passing the £850,000 mark thanks to our Kiltwalk heroes of 2016. And of course, watching my daughter’s face as she looked at her wedding pictures for the first time!

How did you get to your current position?

No one else would have me! And Ewan Hunter (chief executive of the Hunter Foundation) recommended me to Sir Tom Hunter and the trustees.

If you were your boss, would you like you?

I would hope so – I do like a good, positive atmosphere at work with a modicum of conflict which is healthy for every organisation. Having started as a runner at Radio Clyde, I was so well treated by so many people that I try to do the same. I remember when Jackie Bird, Ross King and Bill Turnbull started as fresh faced youths at Clyde and a few years later they are at the top of their profession.

Who is your hero?

I don’t have one hero but I’m fortunate enough to see people doing heroic things every day. From doctors and nurses to people just doing good things for others. But if you push me for a name, my late mum and dad, Frank and May Cooney from Blantyre who raised seven of us, worked incredibly hard and gave my brothers and sisters the best possible start.

What is the worst thing that’s happened in the last month?

The news that my daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is receiving wonderful treatment from doctors and nurses, getting lots of love and support from her family and friends and is incredibly positive.

What’s your favourite film?

As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?

I don’t think he would be that surprised – I spent 40 years working in radio and TV which I really enjoyed but the thing that I’m most proud of is being a part of the Cash For Kids Appeal. The one constant has been working in businesses that I’m passionate about.

What’s your top tip for wannabe chief executives?

Work hard, do something you care about, totally commit and employ the best people to do the job. I didn’t set out to be chief executive of the Kiltwalk but I’ve enjoyed the journey getting here.

What will your next job look like?

Have you checked my date of birth? Bus pass next for me! Fully committed to the Kiltwalk just now and so long as I can add value to this amazing organisation, which has been rescued by the generosity and vision of the most amazing Scot of this generation Sir Tom Hunter, I’m loving it at Kiltwalk.

Which Brian Cox?

The actor Brian Cox, Dundee’s finest – and if he reads this, I’d invite him to join our heroes to lead off the Dundee Kiltwalk on 20th August next year.