ANDREW BALL - ALZHEIMERS SOCIETY
Andrew is Dementia Action Alliance Project Manager and Dementia Friends Champion. Working within the voluntary sector for many years Andrew has the knowledge and insight to be a real people person. He works with businesses across the country promoting dementia awareness and recruiting corporations to become dementia friendly. He is crazy passionate about the projects he becomes involved with and this certainly shows when he gets to talking about it. In fact, he can be seen on TV and in the press regularly discussing the social stigma surrounding people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s and how awareness can be raised within our communities. When he’s not working, he can be found at home with wife Anita, his two boys and his gorgeous pup Lilly or out and about keeping fit and healthy with his favourite sport, running. I have learned so much from Andrew working myself within the voluntary sector, he’s true visionary and inspiration. Here he is to tell you all about himself in his own words.
So, Andrew, What’s your story?
I kind of fell into working for Alzheimer’s Society having been a newly qualified teacher that grew hugely disillusioned with the sector. Previously I had worked in Homelessness for 13 years supporting disadvantaged young people into further education and employment.I started at Alzheimer’s Society in February 2015 as Dementia Action Alliance Manager; my role was to set up a number of groups to create a more dementia friendly community across the North East of England. Over the last 2 ½ years I have empowered over 30 communities and 200 businesses to be more accessible for people with dementia however there is still a long way to go.
What was your first job?
I was a Lifeguard and Gym Instructor for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
Who inspires you?
I find inspiration from a lot of places; my wife inspires me for the drive and determination she has. People with dementia who still live their life inspire me as they don’t let the disease beat them. The driving forces behind Dementia Friendly Communities inspire me for creating local change and business leaders inspire me for their drive to succeed.
How do you handle criticism?
I am very reflective and try to learn from what people are telling me, if somebody has taken the time to criticise me I would hope they could tell me how they would do it better!
What’s been the most helpful piece of career related advice you’ve ever received?
Give everything a chance, you won’t like everything straight away but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it forever
What three traits do you need to possess to be a success in your profession?
Creativity, Imagination and Resilience
What’s the most exciting project you have been involved with?
A partnership with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue, they have gone on to do so much good work in dementia that has not only reduced the risk of a fire in people’s homes but also provided support for over 250 people with dementia.
How would your wife, Anita describe you?
I think she would describe me as ambitious and creative, I always find a way of doing something no matter how I get there!
If you could send one message to the world right now, what would it be?
Live every day as if it was your last!
What would you change about your journey or what would you avoid if you could do it over again?
I don’t think you can go through life having regrets as you learn as you go along. I had a really bad experience as a teacher however I learnt so much about myself I cannot say I would avoid doing it again. If you don’t try these things you never know do you!
If you were stranded on a dessert island with only three things, what would they be?
My wife, kids and dog Lilly!
What’s the number one played song on your iPod?
Empire State of Mind – Alicia Keys is one of many!
What do you know for sure?
If I am honest nothing!
Do you have a book or favourite podcast recommendation for our Female CEO members?
I love autobiographies and the two I would recommend are Jonny Wilkinson – My Autobiography and Bobby Robson – Farewell but not Goodbye
What has been your greatest life lesson?
I have had many lessons in life and try to learn from each one, if I had to pick one it would be ‘no matter how high you get there is always somebody waiting to knock you down so never take anything for granted.’
If you want to know more about Andrew or the work of Alzheimers Society you can drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or here. Of course you can also chat to Andrew over on The Community page.