Managing director, partner, Cisco UKI
Which tech figurehead do you admire the most?
Steve Jobs. While a relatively late adopter of the smartphone by many people's standards, I am now not sure what I would do without my iPhone. I can run almost every part of my life from it - often doing my supermarket shopping standing on the 8.34am from Reading to Paddington. It serves as both my alarm clock and my calendar. However, all too often I have to fight to stop myself and my two teenage sons from becoming far too often distracted by the constant pinging for your attention. It's a blessing and a curse!
What's the biggest challenge facing the industry no-one is talking about yet?
An issue that's quite close to my heart is supporting people in the later stages of their careers as they move towards retirement. After a career lifetime in such a fast-moving industry, making the transition to a slower pace of life can be tricky and needs great support.
If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would they be?
My first choice would be Margaret Thatcher - I would love to hear her story of her aspirations for herself as she was growing up. Love her or not, being the first lady PM was quite an achievement. Maybe another strange choice and would certainly make for interesting conversation would be Amy Winehouse. I would love to know if she had her time again what would she change. A sad story, but it would be interesting to understand her background and what makes such a talented individual self-destruct in such a major way. My final choice would be Princess Diana. What I loved about her was her clear love and devotion for her two sons in an institution that in the past had parented at a distance. How proud would she be today if she could see what fine men her two boys have become. As a mother of two sons, nothing makes me happier to see them grow and develop.
How has 2017 been for you?
Busy - balancing work and family. Tense and exciting - awaiting GCSE results in the summer for my children. Rewarding and fulfilling - still think I have the best job at Cisco and two amazing kids that I love spending time with.
What's the most extravagant business lunch you've ever had?
Personally, I am not extravagant business lunch person. I have it drummed into me by my dad that I should always spend company money like it's my own! That said, an impromptu lunch catching up with friends and colleagues over a bite to eat and a glass of wine that ends up in midnight finish because it was just too much fun can't be beaten… or done too often!
Which global city best matches your personality?
As I get older, I would say San Francisco. Old-world culture with lots to see and do, but closes early enough for you to get a decent nights' sleep.
What would be your super-hero power?
Telepathy would be the one for me. I would love to know what people are really thinking when they quote a bit of corporate policy that you can tell they don't agree with.
Complete this sentence. The worst thing about our rivals is… that they sometimes win because they have a better day in the office!
What makes you nervous?
That's a tough one as lots of things make me nervous, but I try very hard not to show it! To name a few would be: Am I doing a good job? We all get insecure sometimes and that would be another use for the telepathy - knowing what people think… or not!; What next career wise? And what will I do when I retire? It's not that imminent, but I am closer to that than the start of my career; As I get older, flying makes me a bit anxious, so I have to pretend the plane is just a big bus; Letting my kids go! How much freedom do I let them have and when? When they are out late I can't settle until I know they are OK. I had to let my oldest son who is 16 go to Reading Festival with his friends this summer. He camped there for three nights! I can't lie, I was delighted when he came home a day early.
If you could eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Toast! One thing you can never have enough of! It can be sweet or savoury… who doesn't love toast and Marmite? The smell of hot toast is just the best. Early morning breakfast or dinner substitute at the end of a long day when cooking isn't an option! Or if not toast and a good curry!
Sum up the channel in three words
Best job ever!
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