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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: Stonewall’s Colin MacFarlane can’t get Kylie out of his head

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The next companion on Doctor Who? The Stonewall Scotland chief executive reveals his ambitions to TFN as well as why it's important to be authentic

Colin MacFarlane
Colin MacFarlane

Do you live alone or is getting out of the house like navigating Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday?
I live alone – but getting out of the house is still sometimes a trial!

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
I like to start the day with a chat with my team and then it’s checking emails and writing my to-do list.

What makes a perfect day?
Knowing that in some small way perhaps you’ve made a difference.

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?
IT issues. I can’t stand it when things don’t work; I have very little patience when I get the blue screen of death on my computer or the printer doesn’t work.

What was the last thing you did that scared you?
Five years ago I was subjected to a pretty vicious hate crime. Speaking about it publicly for the first time at a conference was very daunting, but a good lesson in being authentic – which is an important thing in this kind of role.

What’s your favourite album / film?
Film is Empire of the Sun. Album? Kylie’s had too many good albums to whittle down to just one.

Is lunch a five-minute sandwich at your desk or do you find time for yourself?
My team will tell you, I’m very bad at taking a lunch break, it’s either a quick salad at my desk or I’ll forget to eat full stop. It’s very poor role modelling on my part I know; why I don’t have the body of an Adonis I just don’t know.

Have you made your mind up about the independence referendum?
I’m still listening to all sides of the debate.

Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?
I think he would. I think he’d be chuffed that his future self was not only out, authentic and happy but was also leading an organisation dedicated to making sure my 16-year-old self and others felt safe and equal at home, at school, at work and in our communities.

Should there be a cap on charity chief executive pay?
I think the word charity conjures up lots of different things in people’s minds and we also have to bear in mind charities aren’t necessarily small organisations – they can be large with many staff and large budgets and the very large responsibilities that come with that. Like any organisation you want the best people to lead so I’m not sure a cap on salaries is necessarily wise. Though of course excessive salaries in any sector are wrong.

Which do you prefer Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter?
Twitter I think it’s a great communication tool and a great way for organisations to engage with people.

Is this a step on the rung to success or your final destination?
I’ve never had a game plan in terms of my career. I used to want to be astronaut, then a journalist, so who knows what’s next. I’d like to be the next Doctor Who companion. I think I’d be great!

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Neither. Laverne Cox.



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