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Meet the MD: Emma Williams

PUBLISHED: 15:26 06 March 2015 | UPDATED: 15:26 06 March 2015

Emma Williams

Emma Williams

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

The executive director of PTA UK on balancing work demands with those of a very young family

Tell us a bit about you

I live in Tunbridge Wells with my husband and two girls, aged two and four. For half the week we also have my stepsons living with us, who are 13 and 16. I moved to Tunbridge Wells from London six years ago and really enjoy living here. It has everything; open space, parks, cafés, bars, theatres, a cinema and is close to London.

Prior to working at PTA UK I spent the first 20 years of my working life in the arts in London. I started at the Bridgeman Art Library, a commercial image-licensing agency, then worked for art galleries and venues such as the National Gallery, the Tate, the Roundhouse and Camden Arts Centre. I also ran Tower Bridge for a while.

Tell us about PTA UK

I’ve been working at PTA UK for just over a year and am excited and privileged to take on the role. I was brought in to future proof the organisation, which has already begun.

PTA UK has been operating for nearly 60 years as the national membership organisation to support Parent Teacher Associations in schools. My job is to build on this work to develop it as a national charity representing parents in education.

For many, the PTA is viewed simply as a small group of dedicated parents who fundraise for the school, but the PTA’s role is much more significant. Parents should know that when their child starts school they are automatically a part of the PTA.

Through its events and activities, the PTA is a great way to engage parents with the school and build community engagement. Our ambition is to have a PTA in every school and a voice for all parents.

What skills are needed in your work?

The skills I have as a ceo are pretty much transferrable into any context. I have chosen to work in the charity sector, but that is to do with my personal values.

My advice to anyone thinking about their career is to be true to yourself, understand what you believe in and strive to reach your full potential. That way you will stand a very good chance of doing well both in your work and being happy in your life.

The charity sector is no different. Take every opportunity you can to involve yourself with the aims of the charity you want to work for (volunteering, etc), network whenever possible, believe in yourself and don’t take no for an answer!

How do you manage work and family?

Three ingredients: an amazing husband, a totally brilliant childminder and yoga.

Best piece of business advice?

My Dad said to me very early on in my career, if you want to get on then as soon as you learn something teach it to someone else. That way you won’t get stuck doing the same thing.

The best piece of advice given to me as a ceo was by my friend and life coach; ceos need to spend their time ‘being’ not ‘doing’. That is the difference between a manager and a leader.

What makes a good boss?

I am open and fair and have a desire to make sure that every single role in the organisation is purposeful.

Do you use social media?

Facebook has transformed our members’ communication in the last two years. We have a tremendous, active community where members pose questions and generally do a great job of supporting each other’s activity. We currently have more than 25,000 active Facebook members.

How is your work/life balance?

I believe that you are most effective in your work when you have time away from it. It is easy to feel too busy to turn off the emails or always stay late in the office, but actually when you step away and do something different, you find that the important things jump out at you; that you can solve problems more easily.

I try and balance work and home, making sure I get home most evenings to bath the girls, eat supper with my husband at the table to catch up on 
the day, and then if needs be catch up on work later in the evening. I also make time to practise yoga regularly.

What did you have for breakfast?

My children’s leftover cereal and a piece of toast!

Get in touch

PTA UK, 39 Shipbourne Road, Tonbridge TN10 3DS

Emma.williams@pta.org.uk

0300 123 546

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