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you fi rst. Good quotes fascinate me as they leave you thinking. My second inspiration is anyone

who is creative and innovative! Where would we be without the amazing inventions that have happened over the last 20 years: the web, the mobile phone, iPads, smart TVs, PlayStation (with my 14-year-old son, I have had to get to grips with this one!). T ese innovations open up new and exciting ways for people to learn. I love Jane Hart, founder of the

Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT), which is one of the most visited L&D sites on the web – I regularly read her blogs and articles to keep me up to date with the latest learning technologies so that I can be creative and innovative

health, and it’s at times like these that family are the inspiration and support that pull you through and are there no matter what. I try to go to Dublin every May to join the Pieta House charity Darkness into Light Walk which is the most compelling charity walk I have ever experienced.

What's been your lowest moment, and what your noblest hour?

Noblest hour, I can honestly say when my name got called out for L&D professional of the year in November

with learning within M&S. Inspiring creativity can come

from anywhere. I am lucky to live in London. Everywhere I look I see creative ideas, innovative buildings – you could never be bored. I had a session with my systems team at the top of T e Walkie Talkie (or 20 Fenchurch Street as it’s offi cially known!) in London – you can’t get more inspiring than that. I also have a really good friend who has just launched a range of children’s T-shirts with a design to encourage children to be themselves and be proud of their own individuality, inspired by her own experiences when she was younger. My third inspiration is my family; my immediate family and my wider family. I come from a large, close-knit family in Ireland and, like any family, we have our gatherings for weddings and birthdays, and our share of ups, downs and personal tragedies. One of which has led us to support a great charity in Ireland called Pieta House, supporting mental health, wellbeing and suicide awareness. I admire anyone who is struggling with loss, or mental

I can’t say that within my career I have ever had a truly low moment! Yes, there were times, particularly when I was in a travelling role, that I was exhausted from the sheer demands of the role and the travel, but there was a great camaraderie within the team and we got each other through. Working in such a big organisation as M&S there are bound to be chal- lenges within any role, and challenging people you need to work with, but I am pragmatic in my approach, fi rm but fair and I always think honesty is the best policy – these are the things that have supported me personally when things have been tough. Noblest hour, I can honestly say when my name got called out for L&D professional of the year in November; my entire table was up on their feet cheering and clapping. I was still sitting, shocked, as I couldn’t quite believe my ears. During the evening, lots of people

came up to congratulate me and they were really impressed that I had only been in L&D for six years. T ese were L&D professionals, many of them having been L&D professionals or HR professionals for their entire career. It was a tough interview with the judges, but it was all worth it when my name was called out. Our HR director, my M&S colleagues, family and friends were absolutely delighted for me. It was one of my proudest professional moments ever. Also winning at the Cannes

Corporate Media Awards for Savile Row Inspired. Actually travelling to Cannes for the ceremony was a fantastic weekend. And then we won! T e other great professional

moment was gaining my Chartered CIPD – I completed Associate and Chartered during my time in retail L&D, and I was over the moon to have a professional HR qualifi cation

It’s all about me

Age 52


Maryfi eld College and Whitehall House College, Dublin


Married to Terry, one son, Sam, who is 14


Petts Wood, Kent Hobbies

Historical novels, travel, theatre

Favourite places Bournemouth – I love being near the sea, it helps recharge my batteries, and of course Dublin, my ‘home’

Favourite book

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I read it fi rst when I was 10 and have re-read it many times since, it has remained my all-time favourite book. The other book I love is I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Favourite music

Anything from Carole King, Janis Ian, Cat Stevens, to Queen, the Beatles and Coldplay. I also love classical and choral music as my son is a Queen’s Chorister and sings every Sunday in London

Favourite movie

To Kill a Mockingbird and I love a good musical. My favourites are Singin’ in the Rain and Guys and Dolls – an opportunity to sing along!

that is externally recognised, and was a personal investment in ‘me’.

What and when was your career turning point?

I have had many career turning points over my time in M&S. T is business is great and has off ered me fantastic opportunities to build diff erent careers and knowledge over all the varied roles I have been in. When I joined M&S, I was a PA but I knew this was only the start for me. I have pushed myself into diff erent roles, mastered them and then moved on to something more challenging for me. I have realised

 | September 2016 | 13

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