Dr Fraser Quin
Dr Fraser Quin, chief executive of Dementia Care, talks to BQ about his varied career so far and his words of wisdom for aspiring business leaders.
What is it the company does?
Dementia Care is a not-for-profit organisation based in Brunswick Village, just north of Newcastle, which provides specialist care, support, advice and training to people living with dementia, as well as their families and carers. Our services include 24-hour home care, residential and respite care, specialist day services at our centres in Newcastle and Hexham and living support services to help people live independently in their own homes.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As chief executive, it is my responsibility to oversee the smooth running of the charity; ensuring good governance, a consistent high quality of care, financial management, and the management of our 150 staff. It is also my role to look for opportunities to raise funds and awareness of Dementia Care which will enable us to expand our services so we can care for more people.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
My career to date has been quite varied! After graduating from The University of Leeds with a degree in Geography in 1986, I started working in administration, I then returned to the University in 1994 to study for my doctorate in Natural Resource Economics where I became a senior lecturer. After a few years of teaching, I left the University to start my own childcare business, looking after children with profound disabilities. I ran the business until 2014 before making the transition into the third sector and eventually taking up my current role at Dementia Care.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
In business, I think that honesty, bravery and a good sense of humour will get you everywhere!
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Without doubt, the hardest thing I have had to do in my current position is make staff redundancies. I think this is a part of the job that every senior manager dreads, but unfortunately it was necessary to ensure the financial health of the charity for the years to come.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
In my spare time, I am a really keen motorcyclist. I currently own a Triumph Explorer which is absolutely fantastic and I often use it to commute between my home in the Scottish Borders and the office. If ever I’m feeling stressed, I go out for a ride, sometimes a bit faster than I should, and it just helps to take my cares away.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was growing up, I really wanted to be a soldier. At the time, it looked really exciting and opened up the opportunity of seeing the world but in hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t happen!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I really don’t like it when people are late to arrive to meetings. I appreciate that there are sometimes circumstances beyond people’s control that can affect travel times and things, but when there is no excuse for it, it really irritates me!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Dementia Care has been operating for 25 years this year and we are marking the occasion with a conference and black-tie event at The Sage in Gateshead in October. Despite this, a lot of people across the region don’t know we’re here so over the next five years, we have got big plans to double the size of the organisation and expand our services to establish a much more regional footprint.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
If you have a dream, live it. For many people, work is just a means to an end but if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
The only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams is your own imagination. Speaking generally, people can be quite self-deprecating and our lack of self-belief is what holds us back. If you can train yourself to believe that you can achieve anything you want to, then the sky is the limit.
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