Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I worked as an interim in digital and tech for 24 years and then built and sold a business in this space https://difrent.co.uk.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Oh god, there are so many! One of the highlights was meeting Hilary Clinton at the Inspired Fifty last year, for which I was given an award. Trying to hop into the lift with her, and the secret service didn’t, unfortunately, go to plan 🙂
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
Make space to understand why you indeed are and make sure you are taking holidays, time out, and asking for help if you feel overwhelmed. We trained several staff as mental health first aiders for just this reason.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Indeed, one of my biggest life motivators is my stepdaughter, Charlotte. She became sick in May 2006 when she was just 14 years old and was diagnosed with Meningitis and Meningococcal Septicemia. Saying Charlotte got ill is such an understatement – she nearly died. And she’ll feel the effects of that for the rest of her life. We all will. I mean, even to try to put into words what it is and what she went through is almost impossible. She was in the hospital for six months, spending half of that in intensive care, which is just unheard of. When Charlotte fell ill, she was at Alton Towers for the weekend with family friends. She loved it, having the time of her life on all the rides, and enjoying being a typical teenager. They were staying at a campsite in the park. To put a dampener on things, she’d been getting headaches and decided to have a shower – anything to try to shift the pain. No sooner had she stepped in when she collapsed and was found semi-conscious. My best mate Mark got her to the on-site doctor before being rushed to the nearest hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.
Me and her mum Jayne got an urgent call from the hospital. It was basically to tell me what had happened and to get there as soon as I could, but Charlotte had a 50/50 chance of being alive by the time I got there. Jayne was a nurse and she told me later that it’s quite unheard of for hospitals to give those kinds of odds unless it actually is that serious. If she got any worse, she would die. That was the bottom line.
My brother Conor drove us from London to Stoke, no doubt picking up a few dozen speeding tickets on the way. He had the perfect excuse, and I suspect has reused it a few times since. But to not detract from the seriousness, he got us there as fast as humanly possible at a time when none of us could settle or think about anything. Within a short time of being there Charlotte was unrecognisable, with all manner of tubes and drips attached, surrounded by medical devices, bloated, and in a very bad way. You hear ‘unrecognisable’ a lot in this situation and you’ve no idea ‘til you’ve been in it. You’d only know who she was because you were told it was her. It was just horrific.
It seemed like she was being taken apart bit by bit. She had to have both legs amputated from below her knees, as well as losing the fingers from her right hand. Her left hand was ok, apart from her middle finger. There was no actual point where the doctors could safely say that she’d pull through. In fact, on one occasion we were told to be prepared for the worst, as it was likely that Charlotte wouldn’t make it through the night. Most of the time, she was either unconscious or in an induced coma. And to wake up as an amputee is the stuff of horror movies. Charlotte’s struggle will never stop. She’s had a kidney transplant and will need more surgery to keep her alive. She’s the most resilient, strongest person I’ve ever known. She is incredible, and we are all eternally grateful that she pulled through.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Absolutely. I have mentored a number of people and continue to do so. I have done a heap of fundraising at the start of Covid; raising 50k for people in India to get vaccines and later this month I am travelling to Ukraine on another fundraising mission to take aid to those who need it most.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
You only live once. It means for me put all of your energy into being the very best you can be every minute of the day and helping others is part of that. There is no point being at the ’top’ alone!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
Life is for living.