Andrew Collingwood 191x103
Interview with
Andrew Collingwood
Principal

What path led you to Coffey? 

I first started working when I was 14. I’ve been a care worker, a bartender, a DJ, a radio presenter, a promoter, a chef, a civil servant and a diplomat. I decided to leave the civil service and after considering many different options, I joined Coffey. I wanted to live and work outside of the UK and Coffey offered an opportunity to work in Pakistan. I’d worked alongside Coffey as a civil servant in Afghanistan and always thought highly of their work.

What does your job involve? What do you do?

I spend the majority of my time working in Pakistan. I spend my day helping our staff find solutions to their problems – some technical, some operational. I spend the rest of the time thinking about how we can make the most of our platform to deliver more work in Pakistan. 

Tell us about the challenges you face in your role?

I work across a number of different programs and teams in different places and time zones – so adapting my thought process several times in a day can be a challenge. Skype is a fantastic asset.

What do you enjoy most in your role? What do you find most rewarding?

I enjoy the people I work with. I find it most rewarding when I can make something easier for someone. Whether signing someone’s time sheet or discussing how to approach social mobilisation in Peshawar – there are many ways to improve the performance of a team and a program.

Where has Coffey taken you? 

Pakistan, Kenya and Egypt.

I also met my fiancée at Coffey. 

Apart from the right qualifications and experience – what skills and personal attributes would you suggest people need to be able to do the work you do?

Emotional intelligence. If you can empathise with people and understand why they think and feel what they do, it helps you get the best out of people rather than have to manage the worst.

What’s been your most amazing experience during your time working for Coffey?

As part of my role I travelled to Swat to spend two days talking with young, motivated Pakistanis about social entrepreneurship. The scenery is incredible and the people were inspirational. 

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself starting out in your career?

Always believe in young people and people different from you, value mentors and stay optimistic.