From a young age I was curious about the world, the people I met and the conversations I had with them
I was brought up in the Pennines, Yorkshire in a small mill town by my hard-working parents. Education and getting on in the world mattered to them as did their Protestant faith. The impact of this early, very religious upbringing is something I have written about in the book ‘Children Growing Up with Religion’.
At the age of 10 I was sent away to an all-girls Quaker boarding school in York. I contributed to the book ‘Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege’ (written by Nick Duffell and Thurstine Basset) having realised what a huge impact boarding school has had on me.
On completing my first degree in Communication Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, I knew I wanted to work with people. I gained a Masters in Management Learning from Lancaster University and am an Accredited Mediator, by Regents College London. I am also an Accredited Practitioner of MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and FIRO-B. These are tools widely used to understand peoples' personality type and decision-making styles to bring about positive behavioural change and promote team performance.
I am passionate about leadership. I believe it is personal and relational. In 2007 I published ‘Assertiveness and Diversity’ in which I explore, through theory and case studies, how individuals, teams and organisations can make it possible for everyone to be valued for who they are and respected for what they do.
I believe that people can change but in order to do this, they need people – and trust
I believe in the power of conversations to heal relationships, and that one of our roles as leaders is to create a safe environment in which people can be themselves and do their very best work. At the root of all my work is trust, which I consider to be my greatest strength. I can be trusted and I am trusting of others. In my work with senior leaders across a wide range of organisations, I trust that when I am truly at my best, others will feel safe to open up. I listen with empathy and act according to intuition which is grounded in professional experience.
Whether I am working or relaxing, I love being outdoors. I regularly make the most of living on the edge of the South Downs in Sussex by enjoying walks and talks with friends, colleagues and clients. In 2013 I was interviewed on BBC4’s Ramblings and spoke about my love of the Walk and Talk approach. I live with my partner, and have two grown-up daughters.