HIGH FLYERS: Kerry seeks more collaborative approach to health and social care sector

 Kerry Anthony, chief executive of Inspire

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Kerry Anthony, chief executive of Inspire, an all-island charity and social enterprise working together with people living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions. To take part in the High Flyers Q&A, get in touch via

What was your first job?

My very first job out of university was a semi-voluntary role in a hostel for young people experiencing homelessness in London. I loved it!

What qualifications do you have?

I have a bachelors in history from Queen's University, a masters in social work from Glasgow University and a masters in voluntary sector management, from Cass Business School, London.

What do you attribute your success to?

Working with really good people and ensuring that the people who are advising you are top of their game. I can honestly say that teamwork, recognising the skills and abilities of others and working from a strong values base has stood me in very good stead. I also have a supportive family and parents who started me off on the right track.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

Values led, committed, enjoys the craic and loyal.

Who do you look up to in business?

I am really impressed by the social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland and would encourage people to consider buying social where they can. Within Inspire we have a social enterprise and I have been delighted to see the innovation and development that has occurred during the pandemic to provide services online, respond to client need and continue to move forward generating income.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

Respect people’s skills and abilities, set a clear vision for where we are going, work to achieve consensus where possible. Always being open and honest with the positives and challenges of work is also important.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

I would like to see more joined up and collaborative working across departments at a government level in relation to the health and social care sector. The pandemic has encouraged this and I would like to see this kept up and nurtured.

What website or app could you not do without?

If you will forgive me for dodging the question, the website I can’t help promoting is the - it’s an amazing free resource for anyone who needs support at this time around their mental health and wellbeing. It’s a wonderful example of collaborative practice within the third sector and with government departments.

What was the last book you read?

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

What car do you drive?

Mazda Cx5

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I was supposed to be married by now! Hopefully I will be in September – everything crossed for that.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

That’s easy, DOGS!

Inspire is working with 15 partner charities, the Department of Health, Department for Communities and Public Health Agency to deliver the CovidWellbeing NI Hub, an online resource to help people emotionally cope with the pressures of Covid-19. For more information visit

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