I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2001 with a Joint Honours degree in Geography & Politics. I began my career in economic development, with a focus on the built environment and infrastructure. I spent 3 years with a niche consultancy in Leeds which had spun out of KPMG. I studied part-time and qualified from Sheffield Hallam University with a MSc in Urban Regeneration. I went on to become a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) in the Management Consulting Faculty.
I joined the Public Sector Strategy team at Deloitte Consulting in 2006 and moved to London shortly afterwards. I continued my work in economic development, with a broader focus on regional and central government policy. As part of the wider strategy consulting team, I was also involved in M&A and Commercial Due Diligence work for major private sector clients and internal strategy projects.
Between 2008 and 2011 I was seconded from Deloitte to HM Treasury as the formative member of the Equitable Life Payments Scheme Team. Founded in 1762, Equitable Life was once one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious life assurance companies in the world. In the 1990s it allowed large unhedged liabilities to accumulate in respect of guaranteed fixed returns to investors without making provision for adverse market changes. After a House of Lords ruling, it closed for new business in 2000. The scheme was a £1.5 billion government programme established to compensate 1 million policy holders who lost sizeable portions of their pension as a result of the Society’s collapse.
Effectively a lean startup within an institution of government, I helped design, build, fund and deliver the scheme. Initially Head of Policy, I became Head of Operations at the delivery stage. I built and was a member of the programme’s Senior Management Team and early Board. I oversaw the procurement of a £20m annual service delivery contract with National Savings & Investments and Siemens. I briefed Ministers and senior officials regularly, within Treasury and in Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons.
My life changed enormously in 2011. At the end of my HM Treasury Secondment, I took a five month sabbatical from Deloitte. I embraced my dream of leaving it all behind to go and live in my trusty Volkswagen campervan in the French Alps for the winter. You can find out more about my skiing and climbing adventures on my no longer updated personal blog onefootinlagrave.
I returned to Deloitte in 2012 as the Business Account Manager for a £70 million annual revenue account. One of my key roles was coordinating the quarterly Partner Executive Group meeting, Chaired by Lead Partner for the Group and attended by Head of Public Sector at Deloitte UK. Craving a change, and aware that my skills could be more useful elsewhere, I left Deloitte in September 2013 to set up my own venture, as an executive coach and consultant.
Eighteen months into my entrepreneurial journey, I found myself facing an altogether different challenge. Diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer my plans had to go on hold as I journeyed for 2 years through several operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Now in full remission, I bring that experience to the table when I coach clients, particularly from the perspective of dealing with uncertainty and building resilience. You can hear me talk more about the experience with Jerry Colonna on the Reboot Podcast.
I have now found my calling as a coach. I feel privileged to work with clients who represent the future of business and sustainable capitalism, who are genuinely trying to change the way things are done, for the better. Through deeply connected conversations and relationships, I help people think though their most pressing personal and business challenges, to successfully navigate change and grow.
In addition to working with my own coaching clients, I am also a Director at Lara Intimates, a Direct To Consumer lingerie startup, where I work very closely coaching and advising the CEO. I’m also an Associate with WDI Consulting, and established leadership development and coaching company, whom I’m working with closely on the their Women’s Leadership Coaching programme for corporate clients.