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I grew up in Kent, educated at Maidstone Grammar School, from
where I won a scholarship to Christ’s College, Cambridge to read
English Literature. I graduated with a first class degree in 1981,
staying on to work on a PhD on Tennyson and 19th century lyric
poetry. Realising I didn’t really want to be an academic I blagged my
way into a job using my writing skills.
I worked in London agencies for eight years, then turned freelance
in 1992. I had young children and wanted to balance my often
demanding working life with attention to those children’s needs
(and I wanted to see them growing up).
We moved from London to the south east coast in 1994. It was easy
for me to work between the coast and London (the fast rail link has
radically cut the journey time to St Pancras). The children have
grown, and moved on. I love the proximity of the sea, and enjoy
being part of the vibrant East Kent and Sussex creative
communities, as a musician, and a writer.
Professionally I’ve reached a point where I’d prefer to do work that I
care about. I have to make a living, so I’m not going to be stupidly
proud, but I want to build on two particular associations.
The first is the Institute of Internal Communication, which I helped to
bring into being. My work has always required moving between
internal and external communication. They are the same in the
sense that both require thinking about the context in which your
audiences will hear what you have to say, but then the least
thought about the IC context rules out much that’s taken for
granted in marketing communication.
On the other hand changing channels, and particularly the
development of social media, with associated ideas of community,
mean that internal communicators have things to teach the
marketing world. What’s clear is that we don’t have business as
usual, and need critical thinking about what does and does not
work. I always felt the IoIC could and should be playing a leading
role in that thinking, and want to do things which push forward
ideas about what’s possible
I think because of my work with the IoIC I was invited to become a
fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I want to do work which helps
people, or makes the world a better place, through business, in the
workplace or elsewhere, and through culture.