1) What’s your role at the Forum?
I'm covering the Development Manager role while Deirdre is on maternity leave. The Development Manager has to make sure the Forum is compliant with good governance and procedures. I am hoping to spend some time developing the Forum's membership base, looking for opportunities to extend membership in new directions. I am also looking forward to supporting our volunteers in the magnificent work that they do.
2) How did you get interested in Fair Trade?
I have a background in the Co-operative Movement - both professional and as a lay person. The Co-operative Movement and the Fair Trade Movement have worked closely together over recent years to support each other and I have found myself becoming more and more involved in the issue. Specifically, I helped lead my home town of Hamilton to Fairtrade Town status about a decade ago and for a few years after that supporting activity around Fairtrade Fortnight and the producer visits.
3) What aspect of your job at the Forum are you most excited about?
I enjoy meeting new people and am looking forward to that aspect of the job. I enjoy building links between like-minded people and organisations and like working in partnership with others to achieve complementary aims and objectives. I like the idea that Fair Trade can appeal to many different groups whether it is the private sector or the public sector, local government or central government, schools or faith groups, colleges and universities or sports groups.
4) Why is Fair Trade important to you?
Trade is the only sustainable way out of poverty but for so many in the developing world there are massive barriers to trade. Fair Trade gives people in the developing world access to trade that would otherwise be denied to them but does so in such a way that people in the developed world can provide support through trade rather than aid. I particularly like the sustainability aspect of Fair Trade since it is in the interest of everyone wherever they live to build sustainable economic models and, as a co-operator, I am keen to support democratic business as an alternative to much of the current orthodoxy in economic thinking.
5) What’s your favourite Fair Trade product?
I probably drink more Fair Trade coffee than is good for me - but all in a good cause.