Claire Hickson

Podcast Interview

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BFP: What do you do?

CH: Trio Policy helps organisations improve the impact of their policy, advocacy and communications activities. My background working for the Department for International Development, the Commission for Africa and for international NGOs means that we have a strong focus on international development – including the role of the private sector in development through, for example, agricultural supply chains.

BFP: What is the best part about your job?

CH: The best part is when you can see the results of your work reflected in the policies and pronouncements of those you were trying to influence and helping clients solve problems. Some of our clients have huge expertise, but their size means not everyone knows who they are. I really enjoy helping them find the opportunity to tell key people more about their work. Other clients are bigger but still benefit from an external perspective to help them use their profile and capacity to greater effect.

BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?

CH: Advocacy is not all about either shouting or schmoozing – though both have their place. Sometimes people can get fixated on particular activities, whether it is meeting with a minister or mass email campaigns, rather than why they are doing something or what it is going to achieve.

BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?

CH: The key is to focus on impact and to start by thinking through what makes the people you are trying to persuade tick. Don’t make assumptions.

BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?

CH: There is no one place to start. A range of experience can give you a more solid foundation and make life more interesting. Working inside government as well as with NGOs and the private sector, being an elected politician myself (I am a local councillor) and having worked in Africa have all been useful to me.

BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?

CH: The role of business in development is a growing feature in development debates. BFP community gives us the opportunity to be part of that discussion.

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to Claire Hickson for taking the time to do this interview.

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