Meet the Team: Linda Cantillon-Guyatt, Quality Assurance and Training

24th February 2020

Catherine Capsey

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What’s your role at Groop?

I oversee the Quality and Training Assurance – you will find me involved with new starters, writing induction plans, working on internal HR policies and procedures (and implementing them!) and keeping our Groop resource library updated.

Last year I received the award for most flexible team member which just about sums it up. I will turn my hand to whatever is needed to keep the ‘show on the road’!

What’s your background?

Well, being nearer to retirement than any other member of the team, I have over thirty-five years of experience – so what to include here is a bit of a challenge.

Throughout all of those years, 28 have been working in the charity sector, starting my career as a childminder and developing my focus on supporting families – from managing a well-woman centre in the early eighties to writing a parenting programme, ‘Making the Most of Teenagers’.

20 of those years I was the CEO of the Wiltshire Information Advice and Support Service. Having a staff team of over 40 and an income of £800K, I was quite busy. The helpline answered over 14,000 calls a year answering questions from ‘where is my local parent toddler group’ to ’I need to leave my violent partner’.  Unfortunately, austerity meant the funding was cut and the service closed in 2014.

What skills do you need for your job?

An ability to ‘think on my feet’ alongside good problem solving and research skills.  Attention to detail and an ability to prioritise and remain focused.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The first thing which comes to mind is being an equal team member rather than being a bit isolated as the CEO and of course not having so much responsibility!

I love the opportunity to use so many of my acquired skills and experience in a ‘start up’ company and being able to work alongside a young and inspirational team who really enjoy being part of Groop.

How do you spend your spare time? (What volunteering do you do outside of work?)

Being with the Grandchildren is great and comes first. Getting out and about in our camper van with friends and family second and walking the dogs third.

My volunteering has reduced recently mainly due to family commitments and granny duties, however volunteering has given me a lot to be grateful – it has shaped my career.

I would not be doing my current role without all the skills and experience I gained from volunteering. In my early thirties as a young mum childminding from my own home, I found myself very isolated spending days with under three years olds! It was at this point I decided to try to bring all the other isolated childminders in the City together.

Within a year the Salisbury Childminding Association was born and a few years later, using my experience, the Wiltshire Childminding Association started. I became more confident and was soon speaking at events and conferences encouraging others to set up groups.

Through volunteering I have gained a deep understanding of local Government, funding streams and opportunities, and the legalities of Charity law. Throughout my career I continued to volunteer in a range of ways all of which were rewarding, educational and influential in making me who I am today.

Any recommendations to share?

People don’t plan to fail they fail to plan.

If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

…and finally, flexible people get the best results!

What’s your biggest achievement?

Parenting two sons who are good husbands!