Windsurfing helps Paul to get away from it all

Willen Hospice chief executive Paul Hinson
Willen Hospice chief executive Paul Hinson

PAUL Hinson is chief executive of the 30-year-old Willen Hospice, a business that turns over £4million each year for palliative care services in Milton Keynes. Willen Hospice, which the Citizen is delighted to support, launched a major fundraising initiative earlier this year.

Full name:

Paul Joseph Hinson

Date of birth:

Jan 4, 1958

Town where you live:


What are your business qualifications?

None (health care qualifications)

Do you think business leadership can be taught or is it something that comes from a natural instinct?

Leadership can be taught however the inspiration required to lead may not, that is something that comes naturally to some.

What is the name of your main business and what does it do?

Willen Hospice: Provides specialist end of life care in the Hospice and the local community and simultaneously raises £3 million of charitable funds to run the service.

What was the turnover of your main business in the last reporting period?

The running cost of the charity was £3 million.

Where would you like the business to be in 10 years time?

On a sustainable footing that is not dependant on NHS funding.

What positives can you extract from current economic conditions?

The financial downturn has not been all bad for the charity, folk are considering what is important and we may have benefited from that. There is real community spirit out there and a sense of giving even in these turbulent times.

What motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work?

I run an organisation that makes a difference and the money that we generate goes directly to supporting those in our care. What could be more motivating?

What is the most important thing in life and why?

When you work in Hospice care you soon realise time is of the essence, each day is precious, so making the most of each day and sharing love and happiness is paramount.

At what age do you aim to retire and what will you do after that point?

I don’t know – the last child finishes university when I am 58 so not before then; when I reach 60 I may try something different, maybe teach?

If you have a partner, what do they do:

Yes, my wife for 30 years, Hedwige is a chemotherapy nurse.

What is the most important thing you learned at school?

There is more than self, and to be loyal to those around you.

What one extra subject should be placed on the curriculum?

Quiet contemplation.

Have you ever had to sack someone on the spot and why?

Yes for theft, however, it is never on the spot, always a process.

What percentage of your success is inspiration?

I am passionate about what I do and believe in a higher authority, which is where my inspiration comes from.

What percentage of your success is perspiration?

The days seem to get longer and I wish I was working smarter.

Who is your inspiration in business and why?

The Gift in Kind supporters to the Hospice – the giving of time not for profit, is very humbling to observe.

What time do you get up on a working day?

5.30 am – 45 minute drive to work.

How do you switch off and relax?

I switch off without problem, I love to windsurf and then I feel free from everything.

How do you measure business success?

The belief of those who use the service – if it’s not right for them, it’s not successful.

What is your favourite piece of business jargon and why?

I don’t have a favourite jargon, I don’t like it...

What is the most pointless piece of red tape you’ve had to deal with?

The pointless collection of cancer statistics and the employment of staff to provide these stats, because it’s a government target.

Where does your confidence come from?

Positive experiences – being older helps and success makes one feel confident.

How do you ensure that people don’t go to sleep in meetings?

Don’t talk for too long; the more contribution there is, the more interesting for all.