1) Please describe your career to date
I worked with Glasgow City Council in a school for autistic children until my temporary contract ended then I had 14 years with the National Autistic Society (NAS). I started life with the NAS as a senior support worker and was manager of supported living services at the end. The NAS created lots of opportunities for me and I developed and delivered a huge amount of training whilst in my manager’s position. I then went freelance for a few years, including some of my time with Donaldson’s. I travelled to Ireland several times to do some work with an ex colleague who was a clinical psychologist and I supported very challenging individuals and their teams. During this time, I continued to do freelance for the same company and also did some work on the Autism Strategy for Scottish Borders Council. In 2014 I was lucky to work alongside Strathclyde University to develop an autism training qualification aimed at standardising the quality of autism training across Scotland, something I still do. Around the same time , I was offered a part time Service Manager post with Scottish Autism. I left in October 2020 to pursue full-time employment with Donaldson’s. I have worked specifically, in autism services since 1997.
2) What motivates and excites you about your new post?
The 10 year strategy excites me in that we’re aiming to develop and deliver some amazing services with some very creative and committed colleagues. I think having scope to be creative and “think out the box” is fab. Ultimately though, my role has a very serious element in terms of safeguarding and it is my job to support and guide the practice that will make us the best at what we do. If we have children and young people who have a safe, happy and meaningful life, I know we are doing our job properly.
3) What do you perceive as the biggest challenges for the Trust in the coming years?
I think one of the challenges we will have is proving our worth in a very demanding and every changing market. We need to be able to demonstrate our ability to be flexible and creative. Outwardly this will look seamless, inwardly, we need to prepare teams for change and for people to be up for the challenge. Culture and approach are such an important part of success and we need to practice our organisational values.
4) Any philosophies for a good working environment?
Openness and respect for others. Never ask someone to do something you would never do yourself. As someone who has progressed their career from support worker to senior manager, I never ever forget where I started and those who believed in me/gave me opportunities.
5) Tell us what you enjoy doing outside work?
Some of you know I am quite into fitness and the great outdoors. I go hillwalking at 6am every Saturday morning rain, hail or shine and throughout the seasons. I enjoy being active with my girls whether it be cycling, dog walking or geo caching . I am a people person so seeing / keeping in touch with my friends.
6) Biggest achievement in life to date? Any special talents you want to share?
My children first and foremost. Having a contented home life and my career. I was not academic at school and was often told that I’d never be successful career wise based on my academic abilities at the time. I never in a million years would’ve expected to have had the opportunities I have had. If you told me 25 years ago that I would present at conferences I would’ve laughed you out the door.
7) What 3 things do you still want to accomplish in your lifetime?
To remain healthy and happy. To further my learning formally – I am considering and researching a distance learning psychology degree. To help the Trust deliver on the strategy and make a difference in people’s lives.
8) If you could be anywhere in the world doing anything at all this weekend, where would we find you?
Somewhere near a beach or on one of the islands with my family and friends – long walks, cosy cottage, good laughs and a nice gin 🙂 … as I get older experiences are more important than “things”.
9) What’s your favourite line from a movie?
Has to be from Forrest Gump. “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”
10) And finally…..what 4 people, living or deceased, would you invite to join you for dinner if you could?
Mmmm.. My grandad (so much more I wish I’d asked him), Alan Rickman, Michelle Obama and Peter Kay.