Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a small village in Surrey, near London. As a child I loved to learn and try different things, so I joined every club going including the orchestra, drama clubs, and I played a lot of sports. My favourite was field hockey, which gave me amazing opportunities, including travelling to New Zealand!
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I studied Political Science for my Bachelors at the University of Birmingham (UK) and International Public Policy MSc as a Postgrad at University College London. My degrees gave me a great foundation in critical and tactical thinking, and I loved the ever-evolving, unpredictability of politics. Writing essays on topics as they were playing out gave me valuable experience working superfast!
My first job out of school was in the charity sector – I worked for international development charities in the fundraising departments, which was super fulfilling.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
My career path is a little windy with a pivotal thread throughout – people. I started in the charity sector, then I went into the biotech world as a researcher at a headhunting firm and then to a professional learning company, before joining Attensi. Every role I’ve had has included working with and connecting people. There’s always been a heavy emphasis on learning too.
I’ve had a number of ‘a-ha’ moments in my career. One that really sticks out is when I first started managing people. I was working with a team member on a goal that was really challenging for them. Helping them push themselves and watching them succeed in it was incredible – I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I am Director of Customer Simulations for our UK and US teams. Our Customer Simulations department includes Project Managers, Designers and Writers who make the amazing solutions our customers play. My responsibilities include leading and developing an incredible team, setting best practices, meeting our goals and KPIs, unblocking challenges, solving problems, stakeholder management, managing capacity – both short term on projects and longer term with hiring, and aligning our team to the company’s strategic goals. My role has a lot of variety and it’s a lot of fun!
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I’ve never been great at the ‘where will you be in 10 years question’, but if I think back to where I’ve always felt the most fulfilment in my career, and the types of culture I’ve gravitated towards, I couldn’t be happier with where I currently am. Working at Attensi is incredible, and I am so lucky to work with the team I do. I’ve been able to be a part of building something extraordinary, and I truly believe in the work we do and our purpose. We hire smart, innovative, kind people who we genuinely encourage to run with their ideas and provide feedback on how we can build and grow. I feel very grateful to be in this position.
For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?
Remember that you own your career - you are in the driving seat. My key piece of advice would be to take the time to understand yourself, your strengths and focuses, and align those to what’s needed for where you want to be. Then, push yourself on the goals that you’re avoiding! The scariest goals really are the most satisfying to achieve, and they are what will push you towards the next step in your career. I recommend working with others on these – peers, managers, mentors - both to hold yourself to account and, importantly, for their advice and support.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
There are a few skills come to mind. Firstly, people skills – building relationships, communication and providing feedback. Secondly, organisation! I am deeply reliant on my to-do list to keep track of everything going on. Thirdly, balancing tactical and strategic thinking – connecting everyday detail to the bigger picture and purpose.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
I’m going to sound repetitive here but the most interesting and rewarding part of my work is working with the team to achieve something great, whether that’s delivering a super high value training to a customer, an innovation that’s going to push us further as a company, or a personal goal of theirs.
The most challenging part is the constant need to prioritise, reprioritise and general time management. There are times I have to pull myself away from something I’m really enjoying because it’s not the biggest immediate priority, and that takes discipline. It can be hard to fit everything I’d want to into a day.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I’m lucky to have had a few professional accomplishments I feel really proud of. A recent moment that stands out is our global Customer Simulations trip to Prague earlier this year, where our whole team gathered to celebrate achieving super impressive goals alongside superfast growth. Our team has more than doubled in the last couple of years - to 55 people - and seeing our team all together, celebrating our collective achievements, it was really special.
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
Working in the charity sector has stayed with me, and I continue to support a number of charities across different causes through fundraising, donating and volunteering. This will always be very important to me.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love country walks, reading, interior design and the theatre. An ideal Saturday includes a long dog walk with family and friends, a potter around some antique shops and a leisurely meal at a pub.
How do you manage stress?
I love a to-do list and feel a lot calmer when I have everything I need to do written down. And then, it’s really important to take some time to de-stress and relax – for me, that’s getting away from screens and going for long walks with my husband and dog.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
I am so stereotypically British I don’t drink coffee, but I average around 5 cups of tea a day. English Breakfast tea with milk and no sugar, perfection.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
I am much more of a book person - podcasts rarely hold my attention but reading can. A couple of recommendations: 1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek, which influenced how I think about leadership and communication. Side note: Simon Sinek and Adam Grant are both worth a follow on Linkedin. 2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I love books set in fantasy worlds, and this is my absolute favourite.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Starting your career can feel overwhelming. I recommend you identify companies that align with your ethos, where you’ll feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment in what you do, and start your journey there. Once you find those companies, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who work there. A quick, targeted LinkedIn message can lead to great opportunities. We love hearing from potential applicants at Attensi!