What do you know?
My background was in policy, strategy and public affairs – based primarily in the housing sector. I have worked in a variety of organisational types and geographic locations providing an insight into the importance of consideration of place and community in framing and understanding leadership challenges and the importance of narrative building in seeking to influence change. I retain a connection to the housing sector as a NED for a housing association in the NE.
More recently, I have ongoing experience of working in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector as Chief Executive of a local infrastructure organisation working to support place based charities and voluntary sector organisations. This gives me a real-life and evolving understanding of how a system can work effectively (or not) to support and serve its citizens.
Why do you do what you do?
I get a buzz out of helping people, organisations and places create new narratives, supporting them to build an evidence base, connecting people and ideas to drive creative thinking and momentum and consequently providing the foundation for action to deliver. My policy background means I’m a magpie…sourcing (stealing or borrowing with pride!) ideas from a rich seam of thinkers, writers, do-ers and playing with them in different settings to help create a new picture. A mosaic of ideas – tiny pieces falling into place to create a new whole.
How can you be useful?
I am curious, reflective and resourceful. I’m not useful if you want someone to tell you the prepared answer. My skills should help you understand if you’re asking the right question before embarking on the journey towards the answer. My experience of place and systems and community insight enables me to work comfortably at different scales – supporting community leadership and social movements or co-creating a place based solution. I can support organisations from research and evidence building through to narrative shaping to influence change. My analytical background enables me look at shared problems through a variety of lens – sometimes it is helpful to have a telescope, other times a microscope is more illuminating.
What album has most inspired you?
As a self-declared magpie, albums are a struggle for me – I’m more likely to be found in the Spotify habitat. However, in terms of my own Desert Island Discs – two of the contenders would be (this week at least!) 'La La Love You' from The Pixies and a Lemonheads song – I’ll go for 'Into Your Arms' as it was played at my wedding.