Thursday 19th September 2013
Mac Voice met with Stephen Richards, Director of Professional Engagement, to find out more about Macmillan’s new directorate and his top-line plans.
Stephen Richards trained to be a nurse in 1985. He worked in various settings before taking his first Macmillan post at a hospital in Newham, London, where he also managed a team of specialist nurses.
Since joining one of Macmillan’s regional service teams in 1997, he has held four director roles, before taking up the new post of Director of Professional Engagement in March. This role allows him to work directly with professionals and, he says, ‘Because of my background, this is my heartland.’
Why does Macmillan need a new directorate?
‘Macmillan professionals are our greatest asset. They’re at the front line supporting people affected by cancer. They’re our brand ambassadors and are so important to fundraising. But we know these are challenging times for professionals. While we have a good foundation for professional engagement, our communications aren’t always well coordinated. While face-to-face relationships with regional service development teams are valued, our offer to professionals isn’t as clear as it could be.
‘We need to fix this so we can support Macmillan professionals to do more of what they do so well. We want them to be better informed, listened to and supported, and to feel more a part of Macmillan.’
What are you hoping to achieve?
‘There are many types of Macmillan professional, so we’re going to start with getting our offer right for certain roles, before moving on to others. Many professionals who work with people affected by cancer aren’t Macmillan branded or specialist cancer professionals, but they provide much-needed support.
I’m building relationships with health and social care organisations and institutions that can shape training for professionals.
‘By 2015, I hope all Macmillan professionals clearly understand what Macmillan can offer them and what we expect from them, and also that they have opportunities to influence our work.’
How can professionals get involved?
‘I want to learn what it’s really like to be a Macmillan professional – the ups, downs and what could be improved – so I’d encourage them to contact me. I want to hear whether they feel informed about and engaged in Macmillan’s work. I’d also like to meet with them – and hope to see many at the Macmillan professionals’ event in Manchester in November.
‘A strong team is important, so I’d like to have Macmillan professionals seconded to the directorate. They know best what professionals need from Macmillan.’
Why do you enjoy working at Macmillan?
‘Macmillan strives for excellence, not only for people affected by cancer and professionals, but for its staff and volunteers. It leads the way in many areas of cancer and palliative care and support. I want to enable professionals to work with us to improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer.’
Email Stephen Richards, Director of Professional Engagement, Macmillan Cancer Support, to share your views on Macmillan’s support for professionals.
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