What has been your business highlight of 2022?
I think seeing our team thrive with the introduction to more permanent flexible/remote working and moving to a 4.5 day week. It is vital to us that we look after our staff the best way we can and this has been a huge driving factor in that. Personally, we have seen an increase in productivity and feedback has been really positive with the help of getting the work/ life balance more aligned for all the team.
If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?
Immediate indefinite jail sentences for all child and animal abusers.
Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?
Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, who arrived in the UK as a child refugee at the start of the Second World War and in the early 1960s, recognising an inequality and sexism for woman in the workplace set up her own software company called Freeland Programmers and created a safe place for women to work. Some 297 of the 300 workers were women and in a time when women had to have their husband's permission to have a bank account this was ground-breaking. Her business grew and was ultimately valued at almost $3bn. Her life changed and her generosity grew and in later life she gave away her wealth but because her brother has autism, she dedicated her life to the research of this, and other great causes. Dame Shirley CH is now in her late 80s but she continues to dedicate every day to her charities talking about her passion at seminars and with her famous books.
If you had a warning label, what would it say?
"High maintenance: handle with caution/care."
What was your first job?
Au pair in Germany. We were based in Dusseldorf as my father was British Army but I was hoping to learn colloquial German.
What was the last book you read, and was it any good?
I have just finished reading two books. Femina by Janina (Nina) Ramirez is a powerful book about silenced woman in the mediaeval ages and a Sunday Times bestseller with amazing write ups. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It demonstrates that women have been powerful through the ages but silenced by ‘male gatekeepers', to reference Waterstones! The other book was The Russian by James Paterson and was a page turner as usual. I am an avid James Paterson fan and pretty much read all his books.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?
Winston Churchill. Who does not have Winston Churchill as a mentor? His one-liners are a legend: Taking risks and learning from failure; decisiveness; clear and simple communication; commitment to self-improvement; and management of people. His one-liners are a legend: Taking risks and learning from failure; decisiveness; clear and simple communication; commitment to self-improvement; and management of people. And most importantly for his refusal to give in, even when things were going badly.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Sandra Bullock. Drama and humour, what more can I say - you have both in your life whether you want it or not.