What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was a paper round at the age of 14. I loved it because it gave me the money I needed to be independent. I didn’t get into IT, IT got into me – I had no choice really because it was all around me all the time!
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Definitely a cat person – they are so loving and low maintenance. There’s no chance you’d get me cleaning up after a dog.
What were you like at school?
I would say I was studious but mischievous, but I never got into trouble. I loved school because all my friends were there and so it was worse not going to school for me.
What is the most important trend to follow in 2016?
I think there will be a number of key technology trends at the forefront of CIOs’ minds as this year progresses but the main one must be to ensure that they build a digital platform which will affect all parts of the business. Failure to deliver this will threaten their ability to deliver an agile service to customers, as well as attract and retain talent.
What is your most annoying habit?
Repeating myself! My mum does it to me when she comes to visit; she forgets she’s told me something and I think to myself, “Oh God, that’s what I do.”
What is your biggest regret in business?
Not believing in myself. I ended up stagnating in a role that I knew wasn’t for me for a number of years. Thankfully I did my master’s, started a new job and finally found the confidence to do what I wanted to do.
If you were queen, what would you do first?
I’d throw a massive party for everyone because then they’d never want to replace me! I can picture it now – Blur would play, The Stone Roses and Oasis would reform, there would be amazing food and tepees and we’d travel around the country for about a year so that everyone could experience it.
What was the first record you bought?
Karma Chameleon by Culture Club.
What is your most overused word?
“Like” – my cousins pointed it out and I’ve tried to stop saying it but it’s so hard!
Why do you think there is a skills shortage?
I think there are a few reasons. Firstly, university fees have gone up, apprenticeship schemes aren’t well promoted in schools and people are staying in work longer, meaning job prospects for the younger generations aren’t as good as they used to be.
In order to address it, trades such as engineering and plumbing need to be taught in schools, university fees need to be lowered so people can afford them, and pension rates need to be made more attractive from the day you start working so people can afford retirement and free up jobs for those coming out of school and university.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday” – you shouldn’t worry about things because nothing is as bad as you think it will be.
Which extinct animal would you bring back?
Let me do a quick Google search (pause)…the Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker – just because I like the look of it and I liked Woody the Woodpecker when I was younger!
What should the government be doing to help UK businesses grow?
The government needs to encourage more apprenticeships (which it is starting to do), lower UK business taxes for UK companies, provide concessions on office spaces for start-up businesses and provide the best WiFi and home connection services.
What would you like to have as your epitaph?
“Stop crying, start smiling and open that bottle of prosecco!” because I wouldn’t want anyone to be upset about me passing away. Life is for living, so you’ve got to make the most of it!
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