Margaret Whellans talks about her role as Group director, community-based services, Gateshead Council
Describe your main responsibilities
I provide strategic direction and have overall responsibility for services that keep residents of Gateshead feeling healthy, safe, equal and good. These services include communities, culture, sport, leisure, libraries, arts, housing and adult social care, which includes the statutory duties of the director of adult social services.
What attracted you to the role?
Working for Gateshead was an important factor, giving me the opportunity to make the vision of the council a reality across a broad spectrum of services.
Why do you think you got the job?
The recognition that the Sustainable Community Strategy for Gateshead includes realising the potential of people including our most vulnerable adults in our community and making it happen.
What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?
Consider issues from a range of angles and viewpoints to enable sound judgment.
What would your department mascot be?
A large bowl of fruit it is bright, diverse, offers choice and individuality that is equally good and gives the feel-good factor when consumed!
What keeps you awake at night?
My daughter, who can best be described as an intelligent teenager!
What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?
Empowering, approachable and visionary.
Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?
I would invite Freddie Mercury for his music, Denzel Washington as I like his films, my dad because he died young and Edith Cavell to hear about her humanitarian work.
What have you learnt recently that would be useful to others?
I continue to be impressed by the aspirations and abilities of people who are the most vulnerable in our society when they are given opportunities to demonstrate their talents.
What possession that says most about you?
A Caithness glass paperweight simplicity, solid, practical and has lasted the test of time.
What advice would you give to someone starting in local government?
Remember that you serve the people of the community and work hard for them.