A few years in local government and central government, and then straight into agency life where I have largely remained since 1999. My only diversion has been to an in-house role for a renewable energy developer, but returned to be a freelance consultant and then my current MD role.
What academic/professional qualifications do you have?
I have a degree in politics from Sussex and an MSc in Social Policy from the LSE.
How did you get into public affairs?
I fell! The industry was relatively small then and I responded to an Ad whilst working at the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions… and the rest is history.
What’s your secret to achieving a successful work/life balance?
What are the challenges facing the consultancy sector in the public affairs industry?
The industry is increasingly competitive, creative and talented – the biggest challenge is therefore ensuring you are amongst the best of those. Always pushing to deliver for clients and secure new business. There is a slight shift to lower level implementation work opposed to strategy but I believe this is cyclical. Our lack of industry diversity remains a challenge – companies want to see opportunity and ambition and this to be reflected in the agencies they employ.
Which campaign/issue are you most proud to have been involved in?
I have found value and achievement in all campaigns I have worked on.
What do you enjoy about working in public affairs?
The people, the politics, the need to keep moving forward.
How important is gaining experience within political institutions when considering a career in public affairs?
Helpful but not vital.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘The only person standing in the way of you is you’.
How important is being politically active to a career in policy and public affairs?
Being active outside of work is important to retain interesting and challenging perspectives – it doesn’t need to be in politics. I’m a trustee of a charity and this has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to my professional role.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in public affairs?
If you chose agency-side then be ready to think commercial, be competitive, be a sharer, and always consider – who could be our next client.
Which skills are key for a successful career as public affairs consultant?
Research, writing, lateral creative thinking and presentation.
If you could time travel back to your final year at University, what career advice would you give yourself?
Find a career!
How relevant is Degree subject for a public affairs career?
Little - we need all kinds of experts with a passion to make change.
What's your prediction for the UK Referendum on EU Membership to be held on 23rd June 2016?