Name: Anne Beales.
Job title: Director of service user involvement at Maca.
How long in the job? Four months.
Career lowlight: I used to do assertiveness training for people with learning difficulties in residential accommodation. One time, when agency workers went on duty the clients wouldn’t let them bath them – they waited for the staff they knew. It made me realise how far we had to go in terms of respecting people’s dignity.
Over the course of my career I wish I had: The opportunity to study. The more I work the more I realise I don’t understand thoroughly but am acting on my intuition, which isn’t always the best way.
Over the course of my career I wish I hadn’t: Become a workaholic.
My worst interview experience: Being interviewed on TV about youth issues. The day after the programme was aired a newspaper described me as uneducated and making Janet Street-Porter sound posh.
The most painful lesson I’ve learned at work: People don’t tell the truth or even speak with pure motives.
I aspire to be: A dolphin therapist with the best suntan and a hereditary resistance to skin cancer.
I didn’t get to where I am today by: Not having the courage to get out of bed in the mornings. Some days that’s a very hard thing.
Me and my career: I have to make sure that the 2,500 people using Maca services are helping Maca to develop and design the right services. If you are experiencing distress and are given the right support, you are usually the best person to figure out what should happen to you. I am a user of mental health services and have a real intolerance towards people telling me what is best for me. It really helps if you’ve been humbled and it’s important to hang onto that humbleness. I want to influence government, commissioners of services, PCTs etc and ensure that any developments at Maca when I am here are permanent.
November 2004-current: Director of service user involvement, at mental health charity Maca.
1998-2004: Co-ordinator, the Capital Project Trust.
1996-8: Lead associate, Anne Beales & Associates.
1993-6: Training officer, disability and health, Havering Council.
1990-3: Care manager, Hackney independent living team. 1987-9: Social work training, NE London Polytechnic.