Was the first woman to work in her specific role in Intelligence for UK Joint Special Forces Aviation
Owned and sold her own successful Letting Agency business
Created and produced the innovative children’s cutlery brand Doddl with her sister
I can't start the day without: Breakfast, and then I'm set for the day.
Most effective productivity tool is: my fluorescent bright pink notebook.
Best read: ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ by Mitch Albom, it makes you think about the impact you have on other people.
Best book on business advice is: ‘What Would Google Do?’ by Jeff Jarvis. Having come from military intelligence where you're really protective of information, to running a business, it was really helpful to apply the Google mindset of sharing intellectual property and being useful to people.
Non-negotiable: My mum-daughter time, and a little bit of me-time – be it a quick run or a soak in the bath.
Very first jobs: Working in a hairdressers (I was pretty good at sweeping up hair!) and being a lifeguard.
Top music track of all time: 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' by Simple Minds.
Mindfulness habit: Going out for a run in the fresh air.
Go-to for fun: Taking part in triathlons.
What first lead you to having a career in the military?
I studied politics, with economics and philosophy at university. I also joined the University Air Squadron (UAS) and learned to fly. I hadn't really thought much about joining the military before a friend of my Dad's suggested it to me. I get really seasick but I really fancied flying so wanted to give it a go. At the time the University of York had banned the UAS from attending Fresher’s Week, so luckily for me, I managed to get an interview through my connections and I was selected to join them.
I spent my weekends flying, which was pretty awesome. I really did want to be a pilot but I suffered terribly with air sickness and I didn’t pass RAF aircrew selection. This was a huge disappointment for me. However, I wasn’t ready to give up on a career in the military. At the time I was writing my dissertation on the Balkans conflict, and the RAF offered me a role in intelligence, which is what I ended up doing.
What were your biggest takeaways from your military experience?
I was really lucky in that I ended up being the first woman to do my job, which was working in intelligence for the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW). A lot of the special forces units we supported didn’t want a woman in that environment, so I had to really battle against that constantly. I had to prove myself over and above what a guy would have to do every time, and then the squadron would change over, and I'd have to start all over again. It took a long time, but eventually they got to know and trust me.
The great thing about the military is the amount of adventures you can have while at work, and I discovered it would challenge me mentally and physically. I really enjoyed that aspect.
I had to prove myself over and above what a guy would have to do every time, and then the squadron would change over, and I'd have to start all over again.