|If you see a black-leather-clad biker parking his motorbike outside Mary’s, that will be Balazs Csernus, our Chief Executive
‘It may be unusual for the Chief Executive of a charity to ride a motorbike, but it means that I can make the journey from home to work in double-quick speed. It’s too frustrating to be sitting in traffic jams when there’s so much to do at Mary’s. Having worked at St Mary’s for a number of years, supporting the many different community projects, there was always a lot going on – but, since Mary’s was set up as an independent charity in 2008 and I was made Chief Exec, our ambitions are even higher, so we’ve no time to waste. Fortunately, I do enjoy the ride! Fortunately as well, I’m a keen DIYer and happy to get my hands dirty. Since we’re a small team, whenever we have a challenge, we all roll our sleeves up – so when we had a problem with our wifi, I was to be seen scrabbling around with the wires. And when one of the rooms used by our Youth Club members needed brightening up, some of our team came in at the weekend, armed with paintbrushes.
Otherwise, I’m completely occupied with making sure we deliver the services we have promised to children, young people and community groups in Islington and planning how to improve and develop new offerings.
The only way I switch off is with my family. I’m originally from Hungary but have studied and worked in the UK for over 20 years so – with a British wife and 2 young daughters – I’m thoroughly rooted here. And what we do is walk! In the past, I’ve been able to enjoy long walks in the Himalayas, the Alps and the French Pyrenees through dramatic landscapes – and now I’m starting to introduce my own girls to walks closer to home…in the Lake District, the Peak District and North Wales. Together, we enjoy the challenge.
A determination to meet a challenge is important for me with my family and also at Mary’s where I do feel privileged to have a great team of dedicated people. Together, we can get there!’