Henrietta Blyth

Country of origin: United Kingdom

People & Organisational Development Director, Tearfund

After completing her MBA at Lancaster, Henrietta joined the NHS as a Service Development Manager with Camden Primary Care Group in north London. She subsequently became Head of Programme Support and Development Division for Christian Aid.

Most recently, in 2009, she took up her current role at Tearfund where she is a member of the Executive Team. Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. 

Henrietta's profile below was written by journalist Heather Purchase, and published in the Mirror, one of the UK's most popular newspapers. The article was published on 17 January 2002. At that time Henrietta used her maiden-name: Gammell.

Henrietta Gammell, 40, of Highgate, North London, works as a manager in the NHS. With a first degree in engineering and 15 years management experience at home and abroad, Henrietta took a year out in 1999/2000 to study full-time for an MBA at Lancaster University.

'After graduation from Bristol University aged 21, I spent 17 years in many different jobs in various parts of the world. I originally trained as a journalist working on technical magazines. Afterwards I worked in an editorial capacity for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in Kathmandu, Nepal, before taking on a project writing training manuals for health workers in East and Southern Africa on behalf of the World Health Organisation.

'Back in the UK I worked for a health charity before joining the management team of two hospices. At this point I started to become restless. I looked back on my career and realised that after years of experience in the public and voluntary sector I had not seen many examples of good management.

'I had not been able to learn by example about management because I'd not had good mentors. I decided it was time to stop complaining and to take some responsibility, so I embarked on a one-year full-time MBA course at Lancaster University. I chose Lancaster because it has a good reputation and was a long way from London, in a fantastic part of the world near the Lake District. I had been left some money by my grandmother, which paid for the £12,500 course fees.

'There were 70 people of 21 different nationalities on the course, which made for plenty of interesting discussion. The average age was 30, I had the time of my life. It was an intensive year study-wise but compared to the working world I seemed to have far more time.

'The course enabled us to find out where our gifts lay. I was particularly strong on the maths-based subjects. I also learned that I was much better in groups than on my own.

'After finishing my MBA I took a job as a service development manager with North Camden Primary Care Group, where I was in charge of a £4.5million budget. I could not have done that without the MBA. I would not have had the financial acumen to get my head round it.

'I'm now general manager in intermediate care in Camden, North London, managing new services for older people. I would not have had the confidence to do the job without my MBA. And since I finished the course a year ago, my salary has doubled.'

With thanks to journalist Heather Purchase and to the Mirror for their kind permission to reproduce the text of the article. Copyright Heather Purchase 2002