What is your professional title, purpose or passion?
Founder and Brand Strategist at Brandable & Co. – a London-based brand strategy agency, with a global reach, and a passion for being human.
What did you want to do when you were a child and what changed?
I always dreamed of being a designer and although I studied to become a graphic designer, I didn’t end up working as one. I think of graphic design as bringing a new perspective to something which already exists, and then improving it. This is essentially what I do with people – working with them to design enhanced careers and aligned futures. I’ll always have an appreciation for great design but the way I can create the biggest impact in lives, careers and on the planet is as a human-futures designer!
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
7/10 is good enough!
What is the best thing about your current working environment?
Like many of us, working from home has become my new normal which means I get to take long lunch breaks with my French Bulldog, Poppet. Client works typically involves travel and has seen us working on projects, and with teams, in over 20 countries to date.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
There will be more travel and exploration, philanthropy, and purpose-driven projects.
Tell us more about a charitable organisation or project you think is great.
I’m a financial supporter (personally and via Brandable & Co.) of The Ocean Cleanup - a non-profit organisation, developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.
I’m a big believer in paying it forward and an active supporter of female-focused initiatives. Each year, I work gratis with up to 4 organisations that are delivering projects which resonate with me – these include taking personal brand building to the pilot programme of #HerInnovationCollective (where Warwick Enterprise teamed up with Santander UK and NOI Club) to champion community, innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Warwick. In London and Singapore, for the second year running, I’m also delivering the personal brand component for the Rise programme– a not-for-profit, advocate group for gender diversity within the broadcast manufacturing and services sector, which aims to open up more opportunities for female broadcast professionals.
What drives you?
Human experience drives me – my own and that of as many other people as possible! Being a human being on a planet that’s floating through space is an incredible and inexplicable thing. Our lives might simply be moments in time but whilst we’re here, we should be living them to the full.
Any final comments?
Nope, that’s quite enough from me!
What does a normal day look like for you?
There is no ‘normal day’ for me and that’s exactly how I like it! I could be running personal brand workshops for clients, catching a plane to coach speakers at events, structuring influencer programmes, working on strategy documents, taking a weekday off to hang out with my dog in nature, writing articles, doing a photoshoot for a press interview, meeting interesting and aligned people, going for a swim, working on one of my purpose-driven projects, meeting a friend for coffee… the list goes on! Embracing the variety and vibrancy that is possible in any given day is my normal.
What have you achieved that you feel most proud of?
I am proud of living as authentically as I can. Time and time again, I see people who are unable to connect with the present version of themselves because the parts of their identity that they’re most proud of were created in the past. So rather than keep old versions alive, I prefer to focus on being proud of myself on the daily – whether that’s how I treat myself and those around me, how I push through fear to evolve or the things I’m able to accomplish for myself, my business or others.
Tell us about a woman who inspires you
My Grandma, Dorothy May, was the only positive role model in my early life and with a supporter like her, it really didn’t matter that she was the only one! She was open to the unconventional and an activist for women’s rights who was never afraid to share her opinion. She had charm and grace, with a sprinkling of mischief and just enough eccentricity to make her mesmerising! In 2009 when I was working with one of the BBC Dragons’ Den Investors, I had the pleasure of being part of a project with Dame Stephanie Shirley, who was at the time the UK’s Ambassador for Philanthropy. As she walked into the office and introduced herself, I managed a brief hello before making an excuse about having to grab something from the other room. I only just made it out of the door before bursting into floods of uncontrollable tears – not only did she look a lot like my Grandma, she had her eyes, something I’d not seen (nor did I ever expect to see) looking back at me since we said our last goodbyes when I was 21 years old. I composed myself as best I could and headed back into the meeting but Dame Stephanie Shirley, or Steve as she prefers to be known, left a lasting impression on me and the more I know about her, the more I like her spirit. Dame Stephanie Shirley is an extraordinary woman who is known as a British information technology pioneer, businesswoman and philanthropist… but when you get beyond the titles and achievements, you’ll see that she is oh so much more!
What was your biggest failure?
Thinking I could change myself to fit different jobs and clients by developing a work persona alongside the ‘I’m completely different outside of work’ version. I lost myself along the way but what it taught me was that there’s value in vulnerability and authenticity gives you an advantage - I’ve gone on to build a business around the lessons that that failure taught me!
What do you like most about yourself?
My integrity, creative mind and that all-important defiant streak! I believe that anything is possible, whether that’s in a conventional or unconventional way, and that ‘possibility’ excites me.
How can we make the world more inclusive and accepting?
There are no superior versions of the human race, judgement has no place in our society. Everyone has a story, it’s one of the things that differentiates each of us from the 7 billion+ people who live on the planet today and difference is what adds interest and vibrancy to the world. Even if you don’t have time to hear someone’s story, even if they don’t care to share it with you – appreciate that they have one (which probably includes pain, difficulty and challenge) and show a bit of compassion and kindness. Kindness costs nothing but to the recipient, it can be priceless – it has the power to transform bad days into good ones, it can neutralise judgement and the impact is leaves, can be something that’ll be felt for the rest of someone’s life. You can only control how you behave so if you’re going to add to someone’s story, make it meaningful!
What skills have been key to your journey so far?
Commercial experience, business acumen and a ‘can-do’ attitude have, and always will, serve me well but I place a higher value on integrity, empathy and intuition.