I’m responsible for business development on the island of Ireland, in Scotland, and the North East of England. Essentially, it’s my role to get our creative content out to as many young people and teachers as I can. I really like our aim, which is to reach 1 million classrooms and kitchen tables by 2021.
I plan to collaborate with local authorities and businesses to make this happen. I thrive on developing partnerships and designing new projects. I have a real passion for the work we do here.
I was a bit of a tomboy as a kid. I was big into karate and football. I grew up around my older brother and lots of cousins, in the countryside near Derry, so there was lots of climbing trees and playing sports and a game of rounders was always good craic.
Growing up I wanted to be a TV presenter, so I studied media at North West Regional College and had a great time. But, unfortunately, there weren’t the same opportunities back then that there are now. I didn’t go to university. Instead, took up a position in the family business, a haulage and warehousing distribution company.
It was a successful business at the time and my role was key account manager for Ben Sherman Clothing and Evisu Jeans. I basically managed teams to look after picking the orders from the warehouse and getting them distributed to the clients, who were large retailers across the globe with thousands of picks been done each day.
I definitely get my business sense from my family. My dad’s a real inspiration and has a strong work ethic that he instilled in us at an early age. I worked for my family business for a number of years and I really enjoyed it.
Eventually, though, I had an urge to do something different, so I started working with an organisation called Business in the Community, which is a membership organisation dedicated to the Responsible Business agenda. They have the unique ability to convene senior business leaders to tackle key social issues in the places in which they operate.
BITC has taught me a great deal about responsible business practices. It’s inspiring seeing companies tackling issues like under-achievement in schools and acting as positive role models for our young people.
My role as Employability Manager was to oversee BITC employability initiatives and to identify strategic partners and other stakeholders to work collaboratively on new and innovative ways on which to impact unemployment. Supported by the NW Employers Forum Board, I also was Relationship Manager to six major local businesses, supporting them on their responsible business journeys.
One of the things I’m most proud of was the work I did with First Housing. We secured a Big Lottery fund investment of nearly half a million pounds. The Big Lottery team actually surprised me by pretending to interview me and then they gave us our letter of offer on camera. It was a shock and an emotional moment. It was a big boost for the City.
After 12 brilliant years at Business in the Community, I felt I needed a career change, which is always scary but I’m glad I did it. You learn a lot by challenging yourself. Working with an company like MakeMatic feels like a natural progression for me. I can see how our content is incredibly helpful for teachers and students, and how businesses and other organisations can support us in really investing in our future workforce.
Outside of work, I love fashion and having my friends around for dinner. But having three boys – Ethan, Finlay and Riley – has given me a real drive in life. Everything for me is about providing for them and showing them a good example, in the same way that my dad acted as a role model for me. When you have positive outlook on life, I firmly believe you can achieve anything.