I attended Northallerton School for my GCSEs and Sixth Form, leaving in 2000 for university in London. My time at the school set in motion my interest in politics and community – whether through the student council or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. It was in my late teens that I also developed a love of travel, taking a summer out of North Yorkshire for a month Interrailing around eastern Europe was my first taste of independent travel aged 17. Since then, my career and personal life have been defined by adventures all over the world, even ‘interrupting’ my degree to squeeze in another year in India and south east Asia.
During university I worked in the House of Commons, a place I still often visit for work, taking most interest in foreign affairs and defence, joining the Atlantic Council for the Istanbul NATO summit and supporting their work to promote NATO in the UK. When I left my studies, (in Anthropology), I stayed in London working in public affairs, a career that makes the link between government and parliament and the interests of other governments, business and other third sector organisations.
Travel got real again for work when I joined BAE Systems, the defence, security and aerospace company, becoming a director in their government relations team with responsibility for their relationships with parliament at Westminster, the devolved governments and wider political engagement. The role was at the centre of two defence reviews and saw a lot of change in UK defence landscape.
After five years in government relations, I moved to the role of chief of staff, running the office of the chief executive, this also meant a life on the road (or rather in a plane!), visiting Washington DC each month and more than frequent visits to our business in Australia, India, the middle east and every other allied capital in between, working with our network of embassies and our Armed Forces.
I now work in government relations advising governments and businesses about their relationship with the UK government and parliament. Keeping politics in the heart of my work and always an eye on the next adventure!