I started my career in Royal Mail after graduating, and spent 10 years in a variety of different departments, from HR to Facilities, to Account Management and Sales. I then moved onto working as Customer Services Manager at Edinburgh Napier University, setting up and supporting an account relationship management structure in Scottish Business in the Community, before coming to Teenage Cancer Trust in 2006.
Whilst in Royal Mail, I applied for and was successful in securing a 2 year secondment to work as a Development Officer for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Edinburgh Council. I supported and worked with young people, teachers and community education staff helping young people between 13 and 24 gain their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Once I finished my secondment, I became a volunteer leader, running an open group for 10 years, helping over 500 young people achieve their Awards. It was this experience of working with young people and volunteers that has stayed with me in everything I have done since.
As a teenager I loved learning, Duran Duran and being out with friends! I enjoyed music, reading, netball. I wanted to be a teacher or an RAF pilot. I went so far as to start teacher training, but only lasted a year, and changed to a Science and Management degree – which I loved.
I manage Service development and external relationships across Scotland and Northern Ireland. I work with NHS, Government, Parliament, charities to ensure that young people with cancer are cared for age appropriately.
Teenage Cancer Trust and me
Teenage Cancer Trust is vibrant, caring, and passionate with young people at the centre of the organisation.
We have changed and continue to profoundly change the experiences of young people with cancer. We work in partnership to achieve this, and this is a key strength of the organisation. We are also incredibly supportive of each other as we hold this common vision and aspiration as a charity. It is this passion, expertise and drive that make Teenage Cancer Trust punch well above its weight and move this agenda forward so successfully.
For me, a stand out memory was at an open consultation meeting for a replacement hospital. I had brought along some parents and young people, who quite rightly asked about whether the new hospital would have age appropriate facilities for young people. It was answered quite dismissively due to low numbers, etc etc.
Straight after, one of the parents and some of the young people went to the team and put forward their case there and then as to why this shouldn’t be dismissed. This direct approach changed the view of the team, which then led to discussions that saw a Teenage Cancer Trust unit be built in the interim in the existing hospital, and in the design for the new hospital.
In turn, it also opened up discussions a few months later in the adult hospital where we then also negotiated an age appropriate unit. It was a delight to call the parent and be able to tell her what she had directly influenced. The power of their passion and determination changed the experiences of other young people with cancer forever.