The daughter of a military man I spent my first 16 years travelling the world. As a child I didn’t always appreciate the benefit of the constant change in environments and friends. I realise now that my upbringing helped me enormously by teaching me how to adapt to changing situations and allowing me to build long standing relationships with people from all walks of life.
At 21 I lived in Germany, and in fact had barely lived in the UK (2 years in total), so I quit my job, literally packed a single suitcase and boarded a flight to London. I did not stop to think it could all go horribly wrong, after all I had never really lived in the UK and had only been to London once. My nearest relative lived 100s of miles away, but I knew myself and I knew I would be ok. At that time there were people stood on the corners of every tube exit handing out employment magazines (before everyone went online), it was 1988. I quickly secured a job working at an International Advertising Agency (LSA International) in Covent Garden. Here I worked for Corinne, the wife and co-founder, an amazingly strong lady, with 4 children she ran the company with her husband. My first experience of an impressive strong leading lady, one of a number that have helped me throughout my career.
Then came my first job in the tech industry, working for Wang Computers in the marketing department running events. This was in the late 80s, before the dot com bubble burst. I had a ball. My boss was a male ex RAF Officer, not a female but was so hands off I learnt more there so quickly than anywhere else. But Wang wasn’t destined for longevity. I made some great relationships and was offered a role as a junior salesperson with a reseller. I had never sold anything or even considered a job in sales, but I instantly fell in love with the profession. I was mentored by another amazing lady, Sara Miller a successful salesperson at Wang and now a Sales Manager. My journey has been interspersed with a number of inspiring women leaders, all with different styles but all have encouraged me to push myself beyond my comfort zone and challenge those that say you can’t! The one thing they all had in common was that they never lost their femininity, humility or identity. They have broken through glass ceiling after glass ceiling without compromising who they are, which, during the 90s and early 2000 no mean feat. Today we don’t have parity; then we were a world away from it.
In 2014 I wanted to do something different. Although I had been very successful in my sales career, I wanted to combine my marketing and sales skills, so, once again I quit my job and I set up Xeocom with my husband. Xeocom offers sales, marketing and media services to SMEs and start-ups. Through Xeocom I met Rose Ross, founder of TechTrailBlazers https://techtrailblazers.com/, a global start-up awards programme. We instantly hit it off, having a passion for tech (well I am the least technical person you are ever likely to meet, but I love the tech industry and how tech can literally change lives). We share a passion for helping others.
Xeocom lead me to Cloud Gateway, a cloud tech start-up. In Cloud Gateway I have held several senior roles over the last 5 years (whilst maintaining a Directorship role at Xeocom) . However, the one I am most proud of is representing them as diversity and inclusion champion with Tech She Can https://www.techshecan.org/. Tech She Can was founded in 2018 by Sheridan Ash MBE with 18 like-minded individuals who are all passionate about improving the pipeline of women going into technology roles. Recognising that the gender imbalance couldn’t be solved by a single organisation, and that collaboration was needed across sectors, government and educators, the founding members joined forces to setup The Tech She Can Charter. It was here I was introduced to TeenTech https://teentech.com/, an award-winning charity, founded in 2008 by Maggie Philbin and Chris Dodson to help students see the wide range of career possibilities within science, technology and engineering. I spent a day with TeenTech in Leicester supporting 100s of school children at a tech exhibition just before lockdown. It was one of my most rewarding working days.
I am not a fan of discrimination, but I appreciate the need for positive encouragement. As a mum of 3, one a daughter, I think it’s important I am a role model and mentor for the next generation of female entrepreneurs and role models.
I am leaving Cloud Gateway to join Verizon Business Services in September. Here I will continue to support and encourage women to be strong, to go beyond their comfort zone, to push boundaries in whatever way I can.