In anticipation of International Womens Day, we asked Angélique Dalton, Chief Operating Officer at Primrose Hospice about her career and to share some tips for the next generation of women.
Based in beautiful premises in Bromsgrove, Primrose provides care for people with life limiting conditions and supports their families and friends before and after bereavement. Our services include nursing, therapists, chaplaincy, well-being, complementary therapy, benefits advice and bereavement counselling and support for both adults and children. The challenge for Primrose Hospice is that the organisation is predominantly self-funding so has to raise significant funds every year to ensure all our excellent services can continue to be provided free to anyone who needs them, whenever they need them.
How did you get to where you are today?
I met my husband when I was 14 and he was 16; a few months later he joined the army. Being a ‘forces wife’ potentially had a significant impact upon my career prospects. At 18 I joined a major bank on their management training programme and progressed quickly. At 22 I realised married life should involve living together and took the decision to follow Russell wherever he was posted.
My focus changed when I had children and I had to commit time and energy to them as their dad was frequently away. However, during that time I continued to study and improve my employability prospects. Moving back to my home town of Worcester saw the start of my school career. Ongoing studies in school business management, administration, health and safety and a 3-year accounting qualification facilitated progression and I became the senior member of support staff in a high school.
What attracted you to the role you do now?
Turning 50 was a life-changer for me. A desire to find a new challenge led me not only to discover ParkRun, but also fortunately brought me to Primrose Hospice, where I am currently privileged to serve as Chief Operating Officer.
I was attracted to the role as I wanted to work in an environment where I could, once again, make a difference to people’s lives. I have a varied set of skills and a willingness to roll up my sleeves to get the job done. The hospice is an incredible place, full of amazing people; this includes staff, patients, volunteers and our supporters. I see on a daily basis the difference we make to people’s lives and I am proud to be part of it.
Who has been your female role model?
I am unable to limit this to one person and therefore I will give you a few examples:
- My mother who juggled working hard with bringing up her family; she gave me the belief that I could achieve anything I put my mind to.
- My boss when I first started working in schools; Mary was the SENCo and her kind-hearted and hardworking approach to supporting children was a true inspiration.
- A female patient I interviewed for our hospice video who showed me what it means to be ‘gutsy’.
- Claire Lomas (the lady who did the London Marathon in 17 days after being paralysed in a horse riding accident) who recently spoke at our business lunch; a more inspirational, determined and positive role model would be hard to find.
How can we encourage young girls to dream bigger?
Don’t let circumstances hold you back! I never let the fact that I had to move regularly due to my husband’s career dampen my ambitions. It is absolutely possible to have a family and career (if that’s what you what). My children are 28 and 25 and are my proudest achievement in life.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Worry less and believe in yourself more.
Do you have any tips or advice for the next generation of female leaders / females entering your sector?
Working in a hospice has changed me forever; it definitely makes you evaluate what is important in life. Find a role that fulfils you and be the best you can be.