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The Inspirational Women of SW1: Cathy Corcoran OBE

Chief executive at The Cardinal Hume Centre
Cathy Corcoran OBE

What kind of work does the Cardinal Hume Centre do?

We work with homeless young people, badly housed families and others in need in the local community to help them access the support they need to turn their lives around.

Were you always drawn to a career in the charity sector?

After leaving university, I worked for two years in the private sector and realised that just wasn't satisfying me, so I joined CAFOD [Catholic Agency For Overseas Development], an aid agency working all over the world, and 'grew up' with the organisation, which stood me in good stead to take over the Centre and I've never regretted the move.

What's the most important thing you've learned in your career?

That's it's OK to make (honest) mistakes and that's often the best way to learn!

Cathy Corcoran OBE

What's your proudest professional achievement?

Being able to work with some of the most disadvantaged people both overseas and here in London – and especially to help the Cardinal Hume Centre to become the haven it is for people who desperately need support.

If you could give a piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?

Don't be so impatient, don't worry so much and don't lose confidence. If you are determined to do something – get your dream job or fulfil some other ambition – just set off on the road to getting there and see what happens.

What women do you look up to or have inspired you?

There are so many who I have been privileged enough to know over the years but probably it's those women who have stood up to injustice and risked their life and their freedom to do so. Most of them have not been famous or celebrated – they just did what they thought they had to do to help their family and community.

Cardinal Hume Centre