After graduating from Sheffield University with a B.A. in Economics and Geography, I started my career working for the accountancy firm Ernst and Whinney (now Ernst & Young), after which I moved into the investment banking sector in London. Over a 15 year period I held a number of senior roles, leading the finance team for Goldman Sachs International, also the finance and back office team for the European, Middle Eastern & African emerging market business for Chase Manhattan and then for the Global emerging market business for ING Barings, before becoming Head of Strategic Change for Business Finance at Credit Suisse First Boston.
Then followed ten years of running my own business as a business consultant and project manager, during which time I mainly worked in the international real estate sector, mainly in the Caribbean, India and Europe, supporting clients with the development of business plans and financial models, representing them to investors and international lenders to secure equity and debt financing for their developments. I also oversaw development projects on behalf of clients, managing construction, marketing & sales, and financial management.
My somewhat eclectic career before joining education has provided the perfect context to draw upon in this role, in which I have responsibility for ESW Shared Services, encompassing Finance, IT Services, Facilities & Compliance, Data, Procurement, Marketing & Admissions, Catering & Leisure Services, and Administration. The challenges are relentless but the satisfaction of knowing that the energy one commits to the role directly benefits the lives of the children in our care, is limitless and the reason that the years since I joined the education sector in 2010 have been and continue to be the most rewarding years of my career.
I graduated from Cardiff University in 2009 with a BSc in Business Management, joining the Graduate Finance Programme at Debenhams Retail PLC later that year. As a Management Accountant at Debenhams my focus was as a Business Partner, directly linking financial management with the commercial side of the business, specialising in the Logistics, Food Services and Store Card business units.
I transferred my commercial financial experience to Channel 4, joining the company in 2013. There I acted as Finance Business Partner to the Head of Production, Controller of Broadcasting and the Marketing division. In 2015 I completed my professional training, becoming a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
In 2018 I relocated from Sussex to join Education South West where I lead a consolidated Finance & Payroll team supporting all the schools in the Trust. Working in education has given me the opportunity to enjoy a very varied role, with the reward of knowing that what I am doing directly contributes to the community in which I work.
After graduating with a degree in Computer Network Management and Design, I started my career in the commercial sector at Interactive Transaction Solutions a company specialising in the financial services sector. As the Network Services Team Leader I supported the software and hardware infrastructure systems underpinning the processing of transactions made by, for example American Express, for numerous banks across Europe.
I joined the education sector in 2012 and lead a centralised shared services team of technicians and engineers which supports all of the schools in the Trust. I thrive on the diversity of the services we provide, and the wide spectrum of staff and students who we support. No day is the same.
The reason I continue to work in education is because of the satisfaction that at the end of the day, you have been able to provide the tools and resources that a student needs to be able to progress in life. Somebody did the same for me and it’s a privilege to be able to do the same for others.
I am education through and through, having worked (as of 2020) for 17 years in the sector. I have held a variety of roles, at various stages being an IT Technician, Attendance Officer, Exams Officer and Data Manager, and at times all of them at the same time leading the combined functions for an academy. This breadth of background has been an enormous advantage as I decided to pursue data management as an area of specialism.
I lead the formation of one of the first centralised data teams in the world of multi-academy trusts, leading the Data team for Education South West, supporting all the schools in the Trust.
I have stayed in the education sector because the work we do on a daily basis is makes a difference to the experience pupils have within our schools, giving them the best opportunity to succeed. The ever-changing data requirements within schools keeps the role fresh – new performance measures are being released by the DfE all the time! Along with the challenge of driving continuous improvement to extend the application of data to support the quality of education of all of the children in the Trust, the personal satisfaction from what we are doing is high.
As of 2020 I have worked for over 21 years in the local government sector, 9 years of which have been in education.
Initially commencing my career in local government tourism where I led the first ever green grading scheme for the southwest, I moved to Teignbridge District Council and then Torbay Council focusing on performance and service improvement across all council services, drafting policy to ensure best value and efficiency.
My career in education allowed me to apply my previous experience as well as broaden my expertise. Initially a business manager at Rydon Primary school, encompassing finance, personnel and building management, subsequently roles have included health and safety, sustainability and risk management.
Now responsible for all facilities and compliance across all the schools in the Trust, I lead a team of over 60 people – project officers, site teams, and cleaning teams – delivering all building maintenance and development projects, health and safety and statutory compliance, and management of the Trusts’ estate. I am also the Data Protection Officer for the Trust.
I moved to education as I felt that my work and actions would make a difference to the educational journey of young people. Throughout my time with Education South West we continue to provide a support service to enable safe, clean and compliant school sites so that the school environment is at its optimum for teaching and learning for both staff and pupils.
For many years before coming into the education sector, with my husband, I ran a successful retail and events business specialising in golf, with customers spanning multinational businesses, nobility and celebrities. The result is a diverse skill-set and experience base, covering business operations, marketing, sales and events; I am very much a “people’s person”. All of this experience has been invaluable given the broad spectrum of responsibilities, I now lead a team covering marketing and admissions, procurement, business administration and project management.
Working in the education sector and seeing how what we do directly impacts the students in the Trust is incredibly rewarding. Education South West is forward thinking and the environment I work in is stimulating and challenging. Anything is possible.
I started my career in the catering and hospitality sector as a management trainee for Mount Charlotte Hotels initially based in The Merrion Hotel, Leeds, but also working in sister hotels in Oxford and Glasgow. Since then I have held a number of leadership roles, including The Conference and Banqueting Manager responsible for a large staff delivering business conferences, weddings and private functions.
A career break followed coinciding with two children and a move to Devon. When the children were at school age, I resumed my career, joining the education sector, initially responsible for the catering operation at Kingsbridge Community College. I now lead the entire catering operation for all of the schools in the Trust, as well as driving the leisure and community use business.
A lover of the outdoors combined with enjoying working with children, led me to open a new Rainbow guide unit in the early 2000s. I have been active in the Guides ever since and simply love guide camp each year.
The opportunity I have had in Education South West, in particular as senior manager in shared services has been amazing; and to work with so many different people (including all the students from primary to secondary and 6th form), and form life-long friendships has been personally satisfying. I don’t think, even as a parent and before working in education, I really appreciated what goes into keeping schools running to a high standard, and to be part of that is both challenging & rewarding every day!