Our guest on “All things Autism” Radio was Kirsten Giles CEO MedicAlert
Anna Kennedy’s guest on ‘All things Autism’ was Kirsten Giles CEO MedicAlert, please click here to listen to these amazing shows!
Kirsten joined MedicAlert in 2017 and leveraged her 27 years’ experience in the private sector to take over the helm at MedicAlert, after being drawn to an organisation where the primary focus is to help people within society who are medically vulnerable rather than a company solely focused on profits.
Her career started in IBM as a graduate recruit and after 17 years there she took a few years off when her two boys were young. She then worked in the city in asset finance for about 7 years and then took a COO role in telecoms. She loves the fact that in a charity, income is another resource not the main objective.
Driven by the objective to grow membership, ensure the charity is sustainable and also making sure MedicAlert is a great place to work for its employees, Kirsten has proven her ability to deliver the company objectives and communicate the importance of medical ID tags, whilst providing the organisations services to as many people as possible.
Kirsten is determined to continue raising the profile of MedicAlert and is spearheading an initiative to secure sponsors to provide medical IDs to those who need the service but are not fortunate enough to have access.
Kirsten is delighted to have the opportunity to chat with Anna, helping increase awareness of autism and the role MedicAlert can play in assisting individuals to lead a more active and fulfilled life, boosting both their physical and mental wellbeing.
What do you do at MedicAlert?
My role at MedicAlert is Chief Executive. This provides me with a view across the whole organisation and a chance to influence direction and improve the service we are able to provide to our members. I have tried to put MedicAlert members at the heart of everything we do and how we work.
How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
I hope they find me supportive and helpful. I suspect they may dread the phrase ‘ I have just had an idea ’
What do you like about working at MedicAlert?
We have a fantastic team and the work we do is so important to our members. It is so gratifying when we hear from members about how important the MedicAlert ID service is to them, how safe and confident it makes them feel and what activities and interests they now feel able to enjoy.
What is something in your industry that you have to deal with that you want to fix?
There is not enough awareness of how a simple thing like a medical ID backed by a reputable service can improve lives. Paramedics and other medical professionals in emergencies love them and medical IDs increase the peace of mind of the wearers and their families. About a third of the population in the UK has a medical condition or concern; medical ID wearing should be much more commonplace to keep everyone safe and allow them to lead fulfilling lives.
Outside work I enjoy:
Walking in the countryside. We lost our 15-year-old Labrador, Humphrey, recently and walking hasn’t been quite the same since.
I have a rowing machine which I like using. It is a chance to switch off a bit and pretend I am on a lake. I just need to remember to pace myself and keep breathing.
My grandma taught me how to knit and so I have knitted quite a few things over the years. During lockdown I learned how to knit socks, a strangely satisfying and addictive passtime. After all you can never have too many socks, or so I keep telling my family….not sure they agree!
Favourite film/TV series:
My favourite film is The Thomas Crown Affair – (Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo). I also loved Avatar and am looking forward to the sequels.
Definitely a Gin and tonic (ice and lemon – very traditional!)