What is your professional title, purpose or passion?
Communications manager-book club editor-brownie leader. Can you tell I’m a fan of Emma Gannon’s multi-hyphen method? As someone who felt very uncomfortable being defined by their professional title alone, it helped me realise what my passions and talents were and get side hustlin’.
What did you want to do when you were a child and what changed?
Apart from one summer when I filled a sketch book with drawings of dresses and decided I wanted to be a fashion designer, I don’t ever really remember have a clear ambition. This confusion was something that stuck with me through university, until I fell into a marketing graduate scheme. I’m still figuring out what I really want to do!
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
The best careers are squiggly lines. Don’t obsess over climbing the ladder, because when you reach the top the view probably won’t be the one you expected. Taking your time, trying new things, going backwards or side to side will leave you feeling a lot more experienced, richer and fulfilled.
What is the best thing about your current working environment?
Flexibility. Working for a young dynamic company means there’s a lot more freedom to work from home or set different hours. It’s something that wasn’t important to me when I started my career because I loved being in the office with my work mates, but as I get older and start to think about my priorities differently it’s something I really value.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
In the next five years I’d really like to make a career change. Working for a consumer lifestyle brand is fun, but it doesn’t quite fit with my values or purpose. The next step for me is defining what really makes me tick, where I can add the most value and to start experimenting with some different career options.
Tell us more about a charitable organisation or project you think is great.
The Led By Donkeys campaign has really made an impact this year. Completely crowdfunded, they’ve changed the media narrative on Brexit in a brave and brilliant way. The idea is so simple and yet so powerful. Our political system is broken and they’ve made it their mission to share with the public the real extent that politicians have lied to us and manipulated the system to their own advantage. Rant over, but check them out.
What drives you?
I’m always most motivated when I feel there’s an opportunity to make positive changes. In my current position, this is on a rather micro level and centred on problem solving, but even personally I’m happiest trying to set the world to rights over a glass of wine with friends. It’s my mission to discover ways to channel this motivation into something on a larger, more impactful scale.
Any final comments?
I’m a planner. A big planner. And there came a point where all I could think about was the future. Planning is helpful to an extent, but not when it dominates your thoughts and clouds your ability to relax. I think we’re all taught to be wildly ambitious and chase that pot of gold, but actually life is an amazing, messy, unpredictable jumble of experiences. That timeline (job, house, marriage, kids) that was drilled into us as children isn’t the be all and end all – and although I’ve fallen into this standard formula I’m ready to start embracing the mess and living more in the moment!
What does a normal day look like for you?
When I’m at ‘work’ work, I manage the comms for a healthy snacking brand. Social media, PR and a whole host of other marketing-y things make up my day when I’m not busy sampling the products myself. Think W1A but with less ‘darhlings.’
I also write weekly reviews for the Ladies-who-Launch book club, which keeps the literature geek in me happy! Reading the latest titles from incredible female authors and sharing them with the community is hugely rewarding and has given me a sense of purpose I felt was lacking in my career.
Volunteering has also filled a big gap in my professional life. I love working with children, so joining my local Brownies unit and helping the girls to develop and grow has been really fulfilling - not to mention fun.
What have you achieved that you feel most proud of?
Working with Bloomsbury last year to review their selection from the Women’s Prize shortlist was a massive honour. Not only was it a pleasure to work so closely with one of the world’s biggest publishers, it was a joy to read the fantastic novels shortlisted, as well as Kamila Shamsie’s winning .
Tell us about a a woman who inspires you
I’m constantly inspired by the female writers and creators I get to know through the #LWLShelf. Their missions, stories and messages are so powerful and always leave a lasting impression on me. From feminist critic Laura Bates to children’s author Suze Hemming (another fellow launcher) these women are truly paving the way for a more inclusive and equal future through their work.
What was your biggest failure?
I’m currently reading Elizabeth Day’s new book ‘How To Fail’ and it’s made me think a lot about failure. There isn’t a colossal failure that stands out, but missed opportunities tend to haunt me. Moments when I’ve not been brave enough to pursue something or believed in myself enough to go after what I want. I tend to dwell on these failures as ‘what ifs’ rather than ‘why nots’ which is something I’m trying to reframe.
What do you like most about yourself?
I’m honest. Both with myself and others. Maybe too honest after a few glasses of wine (as my closest friends will attest to). I try to talk about things that people tend to shy away from. I think we have a huge culture of engineering filters both online and IRL that leads to a lack of connection with how we’re truly feeling. I find that if you start by being honest about those issues yourself, most people will start to open up too.
How can we make the world more inclusive and accepting?
Where to start. Kindness? Honesty? Education? There is a considerable amount of awareness of these issues driven forward by movements like #MeToo and scandals like Windrush, which is a big step to ensuring inequality is kept in the public eye. However, we’re lacking generation-defining change.
There is still too little action from the government, businesses and institutions such as schools, where structural discrimination and bias still exist and will continue to proliferate unless action is taken. Grassroots movements have played an incredible role in pushing this change forward and as awareness continues to grow there will be more public demand for action. However, this pressure also needs to come from the top to ensure society as a whole is impacted and those with the most power take responsibility.
What skills have been key to your journey so far?
Self-reflection isn’t something that comes naturally to me but has been so crucial to my personal development. Learning to take a moment, reflect and take a more considered approach has changed my way of thinking. It’s been a big step for someone who is generally quite rash and hot-headed! I’ve tried to continue to this through meditation and am really enjoying the journey!