Meet a member: Naomi Orrey

September 23, 2016

Naomi Orrey receiving her Legacy Professional of the Year award from Judith Hunter, winner of the award 2015

Member profile – Naomi Orrey

Naomi Orrey works at the Blue Cross and has been an ILM member
since 2003. She received the ILM Legacy Professional of the Year
award at the 2016 Annual Conference, making her the only person
ever to have won it twice. We asked her some questions to get to
know her better.



Your peers recently voted for you to win the ILM Legacy Professional of the Year award 2016. What does that mean to you?

Working collaboratively is really important to me, whether that’s inside or outside of Blue Cross.  I really believe we can achieve great things when we work as a team, particularly as joint beneficiaries in an estate, so for my peers to recognise my efforts is really rewarding. There are so many great legacy professionals within the ILM, just to be nominated was a great honour.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I started ballet classes when I was 3 so I always dreamed of being a ballerina or professional dancer. These days my dancing is limited to stomping about at muddy festivals!

How did you get into legacy administration?

I previously worked in law firms primarily as assistant to litigation partners, but then moved into marketing.  The job at Blue Cross was the perfect way to combine my legal and marketing knowledge with my passion for animal welfare.

What advice do you wish you had been given when you started out in the legacy world?

Keep everything in perspective.  When I first started, particularly coming from a law firm and having a strong sense of wanting justice to be done, I focussed in on the detail and found it hard to let things go.  Administering legacies for a charity you constantly have to step back and apply the “is this in the best interest of the charity” test – sometimes that means giving up a battle you’d love to fight, or being more patient with solicitors than you might otherwise be!

What has been your most challenging case to date and/or biggest professional achievement?

I do enjoy the challenge that legacies with a foreign element can present, sometimes just getting anything to happen is an achievement!  I’ve been lead charity on a contested US legacy which we settled, and my current challenge is to receive funds from a specific legacy of a flat in Argentina.

I think my biggest professional achievement is the way we have developed an understanding of legacy administration and what legacies mean to Blue Cross throughout the charity – from Trustees, our Executive Team, rehoming and clinical teams, retail and fundraising colleagues, volunteers. It’s taken a lot of work but has been a great help to us as a team and the benefits include greater delegated authorities, sharing of information to demonstrate use of legacy funds to Executors, and inspiring more legacies for the future.

What do you do to relax?

With my work, volunteering, part-time studying and a very active little boy and husband, I don’t get much time to relax!  So for me a long run through peaceful countryside is my way to wind down – I completed the Paris marathon this year which wasn’t that relaxing but the time out in Paris afterwards was!

Which living person do you most admire and why?

Angelina Jolie is a bit of a hero of mine – she’s a great ambassador for people facing extreme struggles. I admire the way she not only raises awareness but has engaged politicians and the public to take action.

Which charity/ies would benefit in your will?

Blue Cross – it’s a fantastic organisation making a real difference to pets and importantly also to their owners.  Having a pet in your life may seem like the “norm” in this country but how crucial this relationship is to many people is not always given enough credit.  Macmillan will also be in my Will – dealing with cancer can be a lonely experience no matter how many people you have around you supporting you and Macmillan were there for me when I needed them.

How has ILM supported you in your career?

ILM has been there from the beginning providing training, giving me an industry standard to aim for and the ability to network and build relationships between charities and professional advisors.

If you could change one thing about the legacy management sector what would it be?

As someone who works outside of London, it’d be great if we could find more ways to join up across the country.



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