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a goal, accepting certain barriers but ultimately being solutions focused. Volunteering takes up a good deal of my time outside work. I have tried to find places where my knowledge or experiences can add value, and I have personally developed lots of new skills through volunteering. In addition to a range of short term volunteering, I have undertaken longer term voluntary roles including working as a case advocate, mentoring unemployed

while being commercially minded shaped my view of good businesses and made me want to work in HR. One of my favourite places to

I think that volunteering can often be overlooked as a high impact and cost effective learning strategy

young job-seekers through the CIPD Steps Ahead mentoring programme, holding roles on the CIPD North East of England Committee and being an external Trustee for Northumbria University students’ union. As an L&D professional, I

think that volunteering can often be overlooked as a high impact and cost effective learning strategy. At Home Group, we use things such as National Volunteer Week to match colleagues to volunteering opportunities and have built it in to our leadership development. Having an approach where people take time to reflect after the event is key, so many colleagues have said they learnt new skills but also had greater appreciation for skills and knowledge of their team – skills development and team building in one – win/win!


Who or what inspires you?

My family inspires me and has supported me to achieve my education and career goals – my grandfather moved to the North East in the 1950s to take on the role of personnel manager for the new Rowntree’s factory. Te stories he shared of how Rowntree’s cared for their employees

visit is Walt Disney World and this inspires my approach as an L&D practitioner. Walt Disney was a real visionary – I love seeing the informa- tion on the ideas then experiencing the final products in the theme parks. Walt’s trailblazing perseverance, optimism, innovation, risk-taking and ability to turn ideas into reality is inspiring. Despite challenges and adversity, he wasn’t swayed from his ideas. He had a vision of Disney World, this super rich picture of what he wanted to create. I love that he started out with a big goal that so many people saw as impossible and he just worked around issues and obstacles to make it happen. I use many of the Disney techniques in my OD and learning strategies.

Family time

It’s all about me

Age 37

Education BSc (Hons) Psychology,

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), CIPD Level 7, MSc Occupational Psychology.


My husband of ten years – Michael, parents John and Vikki who live in the same village (I am a home bird!), brother Richard and his wife Rachael, and maternal grandparents Alf and Marie.


North East England. My city is Newcastle upon Tyne. I love the

vibrant energy and friendliness, but still close to the wild countryside of Northumberland. I still get excited when coming home on the train at the fantastic view of the bridges down the River Tyne.


I love my job so sometimes it can be difficult to shut off from work. I find that doing something absorbing and creative really helps and re-energises me. I qualified as a silversmith eight years ago and love to make jewellery.

Favourite place

Home in Northumberland, Loch Lomond (we went there on our honeymoon and keep going back – it fills me with inner peace), or Disney World in Florida.

I was lucky enough to un-

dertake training with the Disney Institute – graduating with my ‘ears’ was a very proud moment.

What and when was your career turning point?

I loved working in the NHS and, due to staffing restrictions and limited resources, I was given so many opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and try out new things. Although I was undertaking a training role in the NHS, I hadn’t realised the power of qualifications – I thought experience was the most important thing. I worked with a great colleague who encouraged me to complete an ILM Level 3 in Management and NVQ in L&D. Both of these gave me 

Favourite book The Tipping Point by Malcolm

Gladwell. It was my first non-fiction book and I devoured it with such

speed. I love books that are written simply but get you asking big questions.

Favourite music

Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia helps me to feel inspired and uplifted.

Favourite movie More theatre than movies – I love

Alan Ayckbourn, he carefully chooses his words and this subtly adds to the humour and impact of relationships you can identify with.


iPad – for quick Googling when inspired!

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