Our chief executive, Fae Dromgool, is celebrating 18 years at the head of Ethos. Here she talks about her passion for supporting our clients and her unusual career route from beauty therapy to charity chief.
“I have to admit that my route into my role here at Ethos was a circuitous one. I don’t think there are many charity chief executives who started their careers in beauty therapy and cosmetology.
“But it was that career that first brought me into contact with wheelchair users and the care sector and from then on I was sure that this was what I wanted to do.
“I originally trained as a beauty therapist and masseuse in Shropshire as a teenager and then went to work at a health farm in Elstree in Hertfordshire.
“The first time I met my boss, he was having tea with Dame Anna Neagle. The owner was Eddie Chapman who was later revealed to be Agent Zigzag – a rather infamous double agent in the Second World War.
“Our clients included Barbara Cartland, Roger Moore and Des O’Connor and many other stars of the time. I was only 16 and a half and it was a wonderful experience.
“Nearby was a private clinic for disabled children who used to come to the health farm for treatment. Some of them were in wheelchairs and I became fascinated by the whole issue of mobility and care.
“So I left the glamour side of the beauty industry and decided to go into the therapeutic side of the business. This took me to the Queen Mary’s Hospital in Surrey where I really became interested in care for people with physical disabilities.
“When I returned to Shropshire in 1990s I became a registered manager for companies providing housing for people who had come from long-stay institutions. That took me to the Trident Housing Association as a registered manager and later regional care manager.
“In 2002 I spotted an advert for a scheme manager for Transhouse – the original name for Ethos – and I was intrigued by the diversity. I like a challenge and wanted a job that was interesting so I knew it was for me. The rest is history and I’m still here more than 18 years on.
“As CEO I have overall responsibility for the properties and the client management. But in a small charity like ours you have to know everyone’s job as much as your own which is what I have always found appealing. I like the fact that we are a small team – it feels more personal.
“There is so much more to a job when you work for a charity then when you work for large organisations. It can be much more challenging but knowing that you are making a difference makes it very worthwhile.
“Some people want to change the world and the work that we do means that we can change the world for some people. Even the small things that we do can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
“It is never boring. I still have the same passion for the work of Ethos – in fact what we do is more important now than ever. I’m just part of a fantastic team that has a desire to change things for the better. We all still believe in what we are doing and we’ll keep on trying to change the world for those who are often at their most difficult time.”