Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?
My childhood was spent in a town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and I loved being surrounded by the moors and countryside as I grew up. I moved away to Oxford for university and spent a happy three years there studying medieval and modern history.
I’ve been in the healthcare delivery and biomedical research sector for most of my career. I first worked in the NHS for nearly 10 years as a service manager in hospitals in Oxford, Carlisle, and Birmingham. I then came back to the university in Oxford to manage the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, before moving on to work as Director of Finance & Operations in the Nuffield Department of Medicine. Most recently, I spent a couple of years as COO for a think tank in London focussed on international law and human rights.
Looking back, what have you learnt from the pandemic?
It was a privilege to spend most of 2020 working as part of the team at the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group to deliver the operations of the clinical trials that led to the production of the Oxford-AZ vaccine. I’ve always believed that doing great science is a real ‘team game’ that needs people from all disciplines to be working alongside each other. It also needs governments, funders, private sector companies, and universities to work collaboratively to achieve more than any one of them could do on their own. I really hope we can take the lessons from covid vaccines development of just how much can be achieved when everyone pulls together to deliver lots more transformative science at pace.
What do you do with your time outside of work?
I love spending time outdoors and especially taking any chance to get out hiking in the mountains. I took a few weeks off before joining King’s to climb Aconcagua in Argentina. Storms and snow prevented us reaching the summit, but we went up to just over 6,000m and the views over the Andes mountains were breath-taking. Closer to home you’ll find me going to the Lake District, Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, and the Alps to get my mountains fix.
I’m a long-suffering Bradford City football fan and still have a season ticket there, although I don’t get to watch their games as often as I would like. I am also on a long-term project to see a match at all of the 92 football league grounds – current count, 65 grounds visited.
I got back into running during the lockdowns as a great way of getting out of the house and did a couple of half marathons during 2020 and 2021, so you may sometimes spot me coming to or from work in some colourful shorts!
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Going to Kashmir in the summer to spend a week trekking the ‘Great Lakes’ from the Sind valley.
Who inspires you most and why?
Ziauddin Yousafzai. I was fortunate to hear him speak in London a few years ago about how he has campaigned for the cause of women’s education against fierce opposition, and he’s an inspiration to me for how men can be an active part of the fight for gender equality. If you haven’t yet read Ziauddin’s autobiography, ‘Let Her Fly’, then you definitely should!
What is something positive that happened to you in 2022?
I was able to spend two months in July and August travelling around India with my partner who has family all over the country. We spent my 40th birthday on an incredible tiger safari in Nagarhole National Park as well as time in Delhi, Goa, and Rajasthan, before finishing with 10 days trekking in the Himalayas in Ladakh.
Favourite London restaurant:
Paradise in Soho, for great Sri Lankan food and cocktails.
The ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy by Hilary Mantel.
Favourite long weekend destination:
Latte or mocha.