What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s probably from my Dad – ‘these things are here to challenge us’ and ‘it’s character building’. Phrases that I certainly haven’t always wanted to hear when I’ve been in the midst of a crisis, but he’s right. Challenges can be overcome and generally you take learnings from them, even when you fail. Mistakes and failures can be our biggest life lessons and enable us to make more informed and positive decisions moving forwards.
What is the most important thing you’ve learnt in your career?
That everything changes constantly. Where you think your career will be in five years’ time is probably not where you’ll end up. Life is so clever at changing the course of our lives. But so far for me, this has always been for the better.
What is the one change you think is critical for the industry?
Of course I am going to say diversity, equality and inclusion – but it absolutely is. We have so much more work to do and I am very much focused on inspiring, educating and informing the younger generation about the opportunities and pathways available to them. But we all need to take responsibility for this and work collaboratively together to ensure we achieve a more diverse workforce.
What makes this industry special?
The people and the speed of innovation. Combined, these allow the industry to grow and change continuously and it makes it an extremely exciting place to work.
What key skills do you think are needed for your role?
Talking to people and being able to communicate – I spend a good majority of my time doing this. Discussing the programmes of work Rise is delivering and how companies and individuals can get involved. I wish I had known that this was a good quality to have at school, so it could have been encouraged and supported more as I progressed through education and then early into my career.
What is your desert island luxury item?
Probably a radio – I think being able to listen to music and chat shows would definitely help to keep me sane!
What is your proudest achievement outside of work?
Bringing up my daughter – I take joy from this every single day. She’s nearly six and a complete whirlwind to be with! I hope the work I am doing with Rise (and that others are doing in other sectors) will make the world around her more supportive and inclusive and that as she grows into a young woman and starts to make choices about her life, the barriers that have existed will have eased.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Ayrton Senna – I love F1 and he has to be the best driver of all time (I’m prepared to discuss this with you all!)
Michelle Obama – I think she is extraordinary and I’d love to have a glass of wine with her and chat about how she has managed her incredible career and life.
Dawn French – Who wouldn’t want to have dinner with Dawn?! I think she would make me belly laugh for hours on end and I can’t think of anything better than that!
What is your all-time favourite film or tv show?
I absolutely love Line of Duty – I could watch it every night of the week! In fact, any kind of crime drama and I’m in!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a qualified game-ranger and could take you on safari in South Africa. One of the most random qualifications but an experience I will never forget!