8th March 2020

International Women’s Day: Meet Our CEO

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In honour of International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to our CEO, Paula Chadwick. Paula started out as a volunteer over 25 years ago and having worked her way up through the ranks, she was appointed CEO in 2011.

Paula says she has her mum, Roy Castle and Phillip Schofield to thank!

“The journey started when my lovely mum saw an advert in the Liverpool Echo, asking for volunteers to help with bucket collections at Lime Street Station. The collections were to fundraise to help build a new international research facility – the first of its kind on London Road in Liverpool. The research centre was finished in 1997, and it bears Roy Castle’s name to this day.

My mum was very keen to help as she absolutely loved Roy Castle, and the icing on the cake for her was that Philip Schofield was rumoured to be appearing at the opening as he was performing at the Empire Theatre in Joseph (which we had already seen twice!).

A few months later I saw an advert in the paper advertising for an assistant to Mr Ray Donnelly for the charity – I applied, was interviewed and got the job! 

My background was in personnel, or HR as it is called now. My role was to assist Ray – at the time he was still working out of the hospital three days a week and would come to the charity one day a week. As well as this I was involved with setting up the HR systems for the charity.

Time moved on and I was eventually promoted to Director of HR and had a place on the senior management team.

Senior Management Team – 2005 (Left to Right: Joyce Dunlop, Mike Grundy, Asaf Niaz, Dr Jesme Fox, Mike Unger, Paul Gauntlett, Christine Owens, Pat Tisdale, Paula Chadwick, Prof John Field)

Step into the unknown

In 2011, I was asked to “hold the fort” and act as interim CEO following the departure of our previous CEO, which I was very honoured to do. Six months later I was asked whether I would be prepared to take on the role full time – well what could I say? I was absolutely thrilled, honoured but at the same time terrified! 

I’d always been in a supportive role, working in the background, never at the front, so this was a real big step into the unknown!

I was lucky to have some great ambassadors on the Board of Trustees who had absolute faith and trust in me and pushed me into accepting the role. It was the best decision I have ever made.

I absolutely love my job. We have an amazing team here at the charity and I love working with them. I’ve seen the difference that we can all make together with our inspirational patients, supporters and volunteers – it is a true honour to be the CEO of this charity.

Memorable moments

Every day is an adventure working at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – there have been so many memorable moments. From meeting Cherie and Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, to wearing a wedding dress when promoting our first shop opening in Allerton Road!

It is truly amazing to meet all our supporters, patients and volunteers. Hearing their stories and seeing first-hand how committed that they are in helping us ensure we have more people living well and longer with lung cancer is incredible.

Last year was particularly memorable when we received the announcement from the government of the investment into the lung health checks – what a huge step forward this is!

It’s also brilliant whenever a new treatment is made available for patients. Every new approval provides hope to the thousands of people diagnosed with lung cancer each year.

None of the work we do would be possible without the amazing support from everyone – so, thank you.

Advice for young women starting out in their career

Do not be afraid to follow your dreams – believe and you will succeed. Do not be afraid to fail, we learn from our mistakes and they make us stronger. 

The only failure in life is not trying and having regrets. So, follow your dreams – you never know until you try just what you can do – look at me!”