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Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Thrivher Achievements:

1995 - Won the English Independent Schools’ 1500m Championships.

2005 - Won a bronze medal for Great Britain in the Lightweight Women's Quadruple Sculls in Rowing at the Senior World Championships

- Obtained a First Class Degree in Modern Languages

2008 - 4th position in the World Quadrathlon Championships

2011 - Broke the World Record for the Fastest Atlantic Rowing Crossing as the

Only Female Crew Member (Completed in 31 days and 23 hours)

2011 - Obtained a PhD in Medieval Castilian Poetry2011 - Earned a Commission from Sandhurst to join the Reserves

2012 - Obtained Distinction for a second Masters in MSc Defence, Development and Diplomacy

2016 - Kayaked around the island of Cyprus in just under two weeks

Current professional job title:

Fast Streamer in the Civil Service


  • Current career/life position: The luckiest in the world

  • Most effective productivity tool: Coffee

  • Best read of all time: Ron Hill’s two-part autobiography: Long Hard Road: Nearly to the Top Pt. 1 and Long Hard Road: To the Peak and Beyond Pt. 2 he's as hard as nails

  • Non-negotiable: Travelling so I can experience the world

  • THE music track that sets my heart on fire: Tina Turner ‘Simply the Best’

  • Mindful habits: Running

  • Afraid of: Nothing, if I die tomorrow it’s been amazing

  • Go to for fun: Sport

  • Next adventure goal: Running the coast of Ireland in 2018


What was your very first job? (Maybe while at school/straight after) When I was studying for my GCSEs, I worked as a cleaner in a portacabin on a building site. As well as that I worked in a cheese factory. It was amazing - we worked on a conveyer belt where we would unwrap the packets of cheese, scrape the mould off, wrap them back up and put them back on the conveyor belt again.

What were your early chosen career experience/s and what did they make you realise about yourself?

I was paid to row for the Lightweight Great Britain team and I was paid to write my first Masters. I realised they were good achievements because most people don’t get paid to do their Masters or to row in boats…

Can you describe a specific turning point in your life/career that enabled you get on the path that brought you to where you are today?

The main epiphany I’ve had was when I gave up rowing, and specifically it was about stopping being a lightweight. I remember exactly where I was - I was walking over Barnes Bridge in London to training and a novice women’sfourwas rowing under the bridge beneath me. It struck me then: ‘I don’t have to row ever again if I don’t want to’. I was so excited I just screamed; the poor ladies in the four me must have thought I was mental. So I got to training and told my coach‘I’m not rowing any more’, and he said ‘I think you should go home and forget about it, but that’s fine, if you don’t want to row, you don’t have to row’. My realisation was I’m being pressured by loads of people to carry on being a lightweight but I hated it. Even more so, it wasn’t the giving up rowing, it was realising I can do anything I want and it doesn’t matter and it’s my choice.

Can you describe your biggest drivers that kept you going on your path?

Idon’t have any fears. But the idea of failing spurs me on, and I have an innate desire to succeed. I do the practical stuff to ensure I have everything in place to succeed.

I also think I am really resilient and resilience is really important to get where you want. If I start thinking ‘I can't do it’, I override that with my consciousness. I think it’s really important for people to understand that they actually need to be responsible for themselves and their drivers, it’s not something that comes to you - I think you need to practise it and to be conscious about it. You’re not just born resilient, 100% you make yourself resilient.

You’re not just born resilient, 100% you make yourself resilient

Were there any specific practical steps you initially took that lead you to get on the right path?

Continuing to improve my academic record was setting myself up for a good job, whatever happened with whatever else I was doing. I was practical and thought, ‘what steps do I need to take to make sure I get the job that I want?’ The job that I do currently, I wouldn’t say I walked into, but my academic record was noted as a factor that helped me get the job. I did the extra MSc, with the thinking, that it would be a useful stepping stone. Literally, my thinking was, and is in everything I do:‘how do I set myself up to make sure that I’m giving myself the best chance.’

Were there any specific people in your life that were big believers in what you were trying to do?

Different people serve you at different times; if times were hard I would pick the person or friend who knew the nuances of the situation to give me the relevant advice to move forward. I don’t look up to role models - I’ve been inspired by people like Paula Radcliffe or Ron Hill, but I think strength comes from within.

Is there any advice you wish you had been given when you were 20?

The world is your oyster and you can do anything you want. I don’t think I understood that quite so clearly then. There really are no boundaries or parameters: life really doesn’t have any limits.

Thriving and Kicking

What skill would you still like to master and why?

I always say what I think instead of being really diplomatic, so I’d like to master diplomacy.

What 3 personality traits do you have that have contributed in achieving your successes to date?

Bloody mindedness, discipline and desire to succeed.

For other women reading this who desire so much more from their career but haven’t made any killer moves yet, what advice would you give them?

Aside from the drive to do things, I think it’s really important to set the progress goals that get you to your end goal, and stick to those progress goals. For me that’s really important because however bloody minded you can be about something, unless you’re intelligent about it and actually work out how you’re going to carve your way out to that end goal, you’re not going to. I think the practical aspect of getting to a goal is absolutely just as important as the mental toughness that you need to get there - I think people underestimate that part of it.

I don’t think life is about dreaming because if you just dream you’re not going to do anything, that’s why the practical element is really important. You can think big, but it’s the executable steps and what timeline you’re going to do it in, then sticking to it that will make it happen.

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