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All the best: Kerry Boyd discusses her favourite things

 

By Kerry McKittrick

The 36-year-old has just taken over as chief executive of Autism Northern Ireland. She lives in Carrickfergus.

My best moment

Completing a 300 mile charity cycle across Death Valley, which straddles the border between Nevada and California in America, for Autism NI. The desert terrain pushed me to my limits both mentally and physically - I had never cycled before that trip and every day I could hardly sit on the seat. Often, I was so exhausted I wanted to give up, so crossing the finish line with such a sense of achievement was overwhelming. It's something I'll never forget - each of us raised about £3,500 so it was really worth it.

My best song

Elvis Presley will always be my favourite singer. His voice and charisma were intoxicating. His lesser known song If I Can Dream is a civil rights song written in the Sixties when Martin Luther King and JFK were bringing about social change. If more people listened to the lyrics of this, the world would be a much more harmonious place.

My best way to relax

Exercising helps clear my mind and I love hitting the gym after work. It's the best stress-buster out there.

My Best bit of advice

A former work colleague told me to always listen. Life is so busy and you think that you know everything, but listening to others is key, especially in my job. Having spent the past eight years listening to and working with the autism community it's made me passionate about ensuring their voice is heard.

My best gift

My little West Highland terrier, Jessie, bought by my parents. She is such a character and cheers me up when I've had a tough week at the office. I've never had a dog before and sometimes I worry I've become a crazy dog lady. Walking with her in the fresh air at the North Coast can't be beaten.

My best movie

The Wizard of Oz. I watched it over and over as a child and was fascinated by the ruby slippers. Although it's a children's film there are so many undertones and great quotes that still apply.

My best achievement

Becoming CEO of Autism NI. I've always wanted to work for a charity but I never thought I'd be privileged enough to take on such an important role. I took over from Dr Arlene Cassidy who headed up the organisation for over 25 years, so I've pretty big shoes to fill. However, she has been a great mentor to me which has given me the confidence to carry on her legacy.

My best buy

The men's tennis quarter final ticket for Wimbledon last year. A friend and I did the traditional camping and queueing for two days to secure Centre Court tickets. And our wait was not in vain as we managed to see two matches with both Andy Murray and Roger Federer headlining. My sporting hero Andy Murray won his match that day and went on to win the Wimbledon title, so it was a great end to my trip.

My best book

Anything by Agatha Christie. I absolutely love her books - she was a genius. I love how her stories twist and turn and you never quite know until the final showdown who the culprit is. My favourite is Death on the Nile.

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