Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Disability Direct chief to show other charities' leaders the way

Disability Direct chief to show other charities' leaders the way

The chief executive of Derby-based Disability Direct has been selected for the prestigious role of ‘Pilotlighter’ to help develop charity leaders across the Midlands.

Amo Raju is one of 100 local business leaders who have been asked to share their knowledge and insight as part of a strategic development programme for charities and social enterprises.

The programme is delivered by leadership development charity Pilotlight which has expanded into the Midlands from London and Edinburgh, following support from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Pilotlight is already working in partnership with a number of local business leaders and employers including Barclays, EY, Virgin Media and Wesleyan.

Amo, who joined Disability Direct in 1994, has developed a small charity with a team of three into a successful group of trading companies with 55 staff and a strong social purpose.

As a disabled person since birth, Amo has made it his mission to ensure disabled people always have a support service to meet whatever their needs.

He said: "This is another mark of the success which Disability Direct, both regionally and nationally and I am honoured to have been asked to guide other heads of charities in the region.

"Over the past 12 months, I have personally benefited from mentoring and guidance by senior leaders from high-profile companies such as IPSOS MORI, Blackrock and Associated British Foods through the Pilotlight programme, so I know just how important an experienced eye can be in both challenging and encouraging.

"I’m delighted as well as humbled that they felt I have something to offer too and I can't wait to pass on all I have learned from them and during 26 years in the hot-seat."

While other charities chased diminishing grants, Amo persuaded his forward-thinking trustees to create chargeable services and today, with a turnover of £1.4m a year, Disability Direct has services which generate £1.1m leaving only 16% reliance on grants.

Pilotlight Midlands Partnership Manager, Tom Leavesley-Matthews, added: “I’m delighted Amo has joined our community of mentors or ‘Pilotlighters’ as we call them. His extensive experience managing third sector organisations will be invaluable to the charity leaders he will be supporting through the Pilotlight Programme.”


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