After taking a degree in English and American Literature – I flirted briefly with the idea of being a journalist or a teacher. In the early days of my career I did neither – I went into sales. Selling was interesting though… It taught me how people think, how their brains work, how to influence and persuade, how to negotiate. It taught me how to listen and how to understand context.
Then came the “media bit”. One rainy day in March I literally fell through the doors of the Guardian offices in Manchester and I never looked back. I found something new there, something different – it was inspiration in action and I felt the connection instantly.
I progressed quickly and moved to London and there I was lucky enough to find an extraordinary mentor. Caroline Marland was the first female MD of a national newspaper in the UK and she taught me what could happen when your interests are truly represented and looked after and you are enabled in your career. I immediately knew that I wanted to do that for others. I saw that it was powerful and that it worked.
A career in senior sales management had made me profoundly interested in recruiting, retaining and developing world class talent and building high performance teams. I began to understand that it could create a real point of difference and literally transform employer brands – turning them into “must work there” environments. I was given the opportunity to develop this area as a specialism and moved out of sales to follow my passion. And suddenly – coaching and teaching became part of my portfolio and the circle was complete!
I worked with all levels of talent across the business and then progressed to work with the senior leadership team. I worked with some exceptional people from board level down. My area of expertise became identifying future board potential and working at that level to ensure successful transition. What happens at this level – good or bad transition – can literally make or break careers and professional reputations.
I had coached within my remit throughout my career and decided to become professionally qualified. For the last ten years I have been a senior practitioner certificated by the School of Coaching and the University of Strathclyde and have well over 10,000 hours of coaching experience. It opened my professional world up again. I am also a trained facilitator – which usually comes into play when working with leaders and their existing or new teams to identify the way forwards.
In 2006 – The media industry started to change dramatically and I first started to really think about the effects of organisational change on careers and on talent. Helping leaders transition into new roles, redefine their talent and core strengths, reframe their career aspirations and identify success criteria in an always changing context became my new passion.
In 2010 I finally left the Guardian to work for myself. I needed to know what other talent in other business environments were experiencing and what I could learn from them. I am enjoying it immensely. And I’d like to think there is a book in it someday!
I made a promise to myself to continue working with smart people doing really interesting things and that is how my path crossed with The Lighthouse Company. I kept hearing their name. They are doing things differently. We share a philosophy with regard to talent representation. It is going to be interesting!
Outside of work – I love all things Italian (being half Italian myself), film, theatre, music, literature, fashion, design, great holidays and good company. I also love working with kids and at some point I want to work out a way to take what I do with leaders and turn it into something that helps that earliest, most important transition – from education to the world of work.