02 September 2021
What was your big career break?
In 2009, having spent almost 20 years working in InfoSec sales in channel, I was invited to interview for a role at Sophos. I couldn’t believe my luck.
I had learned so much in channel, working in both sales and vendor management, but I was desperate to get into the vendor selling community. I was also a single parent supporting a family and couldn’t manage financially. Sophos allowed me to secure their future whilst achieving my own goals and dreams. It was the springboard to where I am today.
It also opened my eyes to the art of the possible – what can happen when someone believes in you enough to give you an opportunity to succeed.
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
As a child of the 70s I’d have to say Starsky and Hutch! I loved the way they handled the baddies – firm but fair! - and the way their characters bounced off each other, with Hutch being more ‘by the book’ and Starsky flying by the seat of his pants. It was hugely relatable, even for pre-junior school children. What I really took away from that was how successful you can be when you have a good partnership and I made it my business to build strong bonds and alliances with people from all walks of life.
What’s the strangest thing someone has asked you to do?
At school in my German class one of my friends asked me to get in the stationery cupboard at the back of the room, to surprise another friend who was always late. Our German teacher was very strict and did not tolerate insubordination of any type. Unfortunately for me our late friend was so late that the German teacher arrived before her and I had to try and crawl out of the cupboard unnoticed, which was pretty tricky given the squeaky hinges on the door. After 10 minutes of wriggling around and managing to push the door open sufficiently to release one of my feet, the teacher noticed the creaking, walked to the back of the room, then shut the door and left me in there for the entire lesson!
What would you do with £1m?
I would find 10 people who had a great attitude and deserved an opportunity, give them £100,000 each and help them turn it into £1m. They would then pay back the £100,000 to me and I would find another 10 people and repeat the process. Every cycle I take back what I lend and re-invest in 10 more people.
The reality is – this could solve poverty, homelessness, gang crime, prostitution and social deprivation much more quickly and with more dignity than any amount of benefits, food banks, social workers, hostels and handouts. I firmly believe that given the option, most people would happily work hard to earn a living. It’s all about giving them an opportunity.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Follow your dreams, write them down and never give up.
If you had to work in a different industry, what would it be?
My real passion is animals, mainly of the canine and equine variety. But I adore nature in general so I’d definitely be doing something outdoors with animals and nature.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones every time. Mick Jagger came from a working class background; father was a teacher, mother was a hairdresser and he’ll always be known as one of the most influential front-men in the history of Rock & Roll. Respect.
If money was no object, where would you live?
In a Scottish bothy in the middle of nowhere. I’d probably have to modernise it slightly!
What’s the one thing you’ll miss about Donald Trump?
He did what he said and said what he did, something rarely seen in politics.
Where would you like to visit before it’s too late?
It’s never too late … though the world is definitely changing and given the fragility of our climate, I would love to visit Countries that are really struggling ecologically to do what I can to help before I leave this planet.
Which law would you like to change?
I don’t think there are any laws I would seek to change because I believe they are all there to serve a purpose, regardless of whether we consider them good or bad, relevant or irrelevant as individuals.
What is the best decision you ever made?
Go big or go home.
And the worst?
Not making the one above sooner!