In a nutshell:
Coaching psychologist and author of Mothers Work! firing women up to flourish at work and beyond. Founder @TalentKeepersUK. Runner, feminist, mama, politico, bothered.
I am an AC accredited Executive Coach with 17 years experience and my approach can be summed up in four words: strengths, solutions-focused, practical. This means paying attention to what’s already working, a coachee’s strengths and what he or she finds energising, then building from there.
As a coaching psychologist I take an evidence-based approach to the way I work and often share relevant practical insights from the research literature with my coachees. I don’t believe in ‘purist coaching’ that can leave coachees floundering, when offering a suggestion or sharing other coachees’ experiences (without naming names) can be helpful – and always with the caveat of ‘these ideas may or may not be helpful, please take and leave as you like.’
I thoroughly enjoy the work I do with women and men who are in career transition, be they looking to stretch up for their next role, shifting out of corporate life into something new or returning after an extended period of leave.
I am a member of the British Psychological Society and Association for Coaching. I take an active approach to my professional development accessing coaching/mentoring, supervision and informal and formal learning opportunities on a regular basis. Most recently (2020) I have been trained in Hogan Assessments, MVPI, HPI and HDS.
Mothers Work! How to Get a Grip on Guilt and Make a Smooth Return to Work (Hay House, 2011) was written in reaction to me becoming a parent in 2006 and seeing ugly truths about women’s careers post baby. Readers tell me it has made a significant difference to their personal and professional lives and this makes me so happy. Find me on IGTV reading extracts. Do continue to write and tell me your tales because I love hearing from you.
Once a chubby kid I found running age 22 and absolutely love what it does for my mind as well as my body. I did a half marathon once and that was enough. I’m staggered by people who do marathons. I use the hash tag #RunWithASmile on Twitter to encourage other runners to show the world how much we love it – many of us look overly serious and who’s going to be inspired to join us looking like that?
I’ve blogged, tweeted and chatted on about the under- representation of women in politics for a number of years. I decided to ramp it up a notch in 2014 and was elected May 2015 for a four year term to St Albans City & District Council. I actively encourage women whatever their political views to come and talk to me about what life is like as a local councillor. I decided not to re-stand for election in 2019 and ruled out becoming an MP. My focus is firmly on The Talent Keeper Specialists and in autumn 2021 I become a parent mentor volunteer for Home-Start.
Aged about nine I asked my mum whether “woman” was a contraction of “womb” and “man” and why we couldn’t have a name of our own. I remember her delighting in my thinking but not having an answer. She was a liberal, single-parent teacher and used to let me watch TV other parents maybe wouldn’t (LA Law, Dynasty, hard-hitting documentaries). The programme about women on death row for killing abusive partners set me on course to become a lawyer age 11. I went on to study psychology instead and I became a feminist without knowing there was a name for it. I had the Fawcett Society’s This is What a Feminist Looks Like T-Shirt long before it got caught in the media storm.
I have two children who are at their best when they are behaving like me and who are at their worst when they are behaving like me.
Then there’s Rocky, our handsome whippet who loves both running and being fireside. He’s a bit needy and whines at the kitchen door when he can hear us elsewhere in the house. Answers on a postcard….
Founder of The Talent Keeper Specialists
Writing Mothers Work! wasn’t enough. A huge part of the problem mothers face when trying to return to work and develop their careers post children is the culture in which they work. The Talent Keeper Specialists got off the ground in 2011 when the then Head of Talent at Veolia Water, Alina Sandell, commissioned me to produce a line manager ‘s guide to positive maternity transitions. Find out more about our work at www.talentkeepers.co.uk and on Instagram & Twitter @TalentKeepersUK.