- What was your first job and how much did it pay?
I was a paper girl and it paid £1.08 per week. I then progressed to working at Barclays and I was on a salary of £2,200
- 2. What is the best advice or support you’ve been given in business?
Be passionate and be patient, great things take time to happen. Don’t take people for granted, you can’t do everything, you need help from others to succeed.
- What are the main changes you’ve seen in your business/sector, and what are the challenges you’re facing?
Since taking up my role as chief executive in 2002, the industry has changed dramatically. We have seen huge changes when it comes to collaborative working helped by digitisation and innovation in processes and products.
- How has the pandemic changed the way you work?
The biggest thing is meetings – unnecessary meetings are a thing of the past and in-person meetings with people travelling now only happen if there is deemed to be a value to it.
- Who is your role model in business?
Michelle Obama teaches that no matter how humble your beginnings, what matters is to discover your passion, be true to your own heart, be kind to others, and walk the walk.
- What would your dream job be?
A newsreader, although I’d probably get stuck with pronunciations
- What advice would you give to someone starting out a career in your sector?
Here are some of my top tips:
- Never stop learning
- Be organised
- Be a team player
- Value your network
- Focus on results
- Encourage and welcome feedback
- Have a good work ethic but remember work life balance is important
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- And most of all, enjoy!
- What makes the North East a good place to do business?
The old Regional Development Agency had a slogan and it was “Passionate people, passionate places” I think that sums the North East up quite well.
- How important is it for business to play a role in society?
Socially responsible companies improve their brand, attract and retain top talent, and improve customer and community relationships.
- Outside of work, what are you really good at?
Until recently I was a run leader with my running club. Unfortunately, due to a nasty fall during Covid lockdown, where I tore and ruptured ligaments in my ankle, I’ve had to give this up until they can do an operation to implant artificial ligaments. However, I’m on the core team at Herrington Country parkrun and take delight in supporting others achieve their goals.